Explore the most popular kid friendly trails in The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

The last mile of the trail is the only real interesting part and requires some careful hiking as well. The falls had decent water considering the last rains were a month ago.

Also you don't need a 4x4 to go to the actual trailhead which is a mile ahead of what the app tells you. I wish I had taken it instead of parking early since hiking that part was really not worth it.

Beautiful trail! Keep going until you reach the end of the valley where the falls are - you’ll know when you’ve made it. The trail involves lots of ups and downs and scrambles over rocks and trees but is well travelled. The falls are delicate and lovely and there’s a great fallen tree for a bench. A great little hike!

Great trail run this afternoon. The people at Land of Medicine Buddha could not have been nicer when I parked on their road (I did make a donation). The map that they provide at their book shop is actually really helpful as it has landmarks that AllTrails does not (e.g. power lines). I saw no one on the whole run until the last 1/4 Mile. Lots of Poison Oak on top, as reported in other reviews. .

hiking
1 month ago

This is my go-to trail for any visitors. Short, sweet, and there’s a 1000 year old downed tree you can walk on!

Lots of PO this time of year. Otherwise beautiful redwoods and a nice up and back. Take your map. No trail markings. We started left and came back through centre.

Loved this hike. It was tough, but BEAUTIFUL!!!

Beautiful, peaceful trail!

hiking
1 month ago

We hiked this trail on 3/29/27. Spring break for many. Weather was in the 70’s during the day. This was a great escape from the hot sun on our winter bodies. There is pretty much no sun on the hike, which was perfect. Green, lush and beautiful. We crossed the creek 19 times, across a few bridges, during our 8.6 mile hike round trip. It is a pretty easy hike most of the way, but towards the end the creek crossing were a little sketchy. But, don’t stop until you get all the wall to the falls at the end if there is water in the creek.

Beautiful trail, but could be better marked. Fortunately, I passed just enough people on a late Sunday afternoon to assure me I was going the right way!

We used the direction tab from this apps instead of reading an instruction on how to get there, we ended up with hiking about 1-1.5 miles ( I forgot to track the exact miles) extra each way unintentionally. The direction from the apps took as to Mesa Grande Rd which ends at the entrance of the Nisene Marks park. Took a trail on the right side near that entrance. Follow the direction to Apto creek road to get to the trail head. It’s an easy stroll until about a mile to the fall and it becomes moderate hike along the creek. Not much water at this time for Maple fall.

Even with an average waterfall, amazing hike. TH easy to find. First 2 miles flat, wide & well maintained trail. Also a lot of runners first few miles. Next few miles trail got muddy in places, was pretty narrow but no one else around. At 3.5 miles you start crossing the stream multiples times and a few more obstacles including a short tree you walk across and also having to pull yourself up on the trail (pictures included) but not to bad the last.5 miles. The last 2 miles in a ton of mountain bikers but still peaceful. Get there early - very little parking when I left

Great trail! Beautiful the whole time. Not easy but moderate :)

What an amazing hike! We didn’t quite make it to Maple Falls, due to time, but what a great excuse to come back. The gate is closed to the Porter Family Picnic area, so you can choose free parking right before the entrance or pay the $8 to park at the first parking/picnic area. It’s about a mile extra onto your hike to Maple Falls, so plan time accordingly. Get there before 10am, after parking is scarce. We parked with ease at about 9am on a Sunday. I loved seeing so many others biking, running, and waking the trail. From Porter Family Picnic area to Loma Preita Grade is kid friendly and an easy walk. After, as you continue on to Bridge Creek Trail towards Maple Creek there are a few iffy spots for younger kids. Overall a great day spent in Nisene.

Awesome place for a run and/or hike. I actually did an extra loop to make it over 12 miles. Make sure to go all the way to the end for the 2nd waterfall

Land of the Medicine Buddha gets Five stars. My experience today would get zero.

Nisene Marks and LOTMB are beautiful and serene. I have no negative comments about the park / retreat center itself.

I took my seven month old Labrador Retriever to Land of the Medicine Buddha today for the first time (his first time not mine) today. I thought it would be a nice serene place to take my dog as it’s a retreat area and surrounded by beautiful nature and Buddhist blessings.

Unfortunately an off leash dog attacked my dog. It pinned him on his back to the ground and bit has face chest and legs. I am going to have to take him to the vet as he has bled a lot and has open wounds.

Please people, if you bring your dog be responsible. We all want to enjoy the space in peace. Safety of others and your own is paramount. It was heartbreaking to hear his cries and see all the blood. My dog was leashed but I felt helpless at being able to get the dog off mine and because he was leashed he could not run away from the other dog. There are leash laws for a reason so please abide by them.

5 months ago

Short trail, don't waste your time.

Fun hike, this is where most of the people go. Not a lot of elevation gain but the river is cool.

There are a number of loop trails here. All are good. Along the trail there are various monuments, statues and places of worship which makes the trail interesting.

Beautiful, serene trail. About 6 miles and very green. Mainly level with about 2 miles of gradual inclines. On private retreat property so please respect the closures. Dogs on leash are allowed, but no bikes.

This is a beautiful park. Within minutes of the main parking you can stroll into redwoods and have the kids play in the creek. As you wind your way into the forest along the creek you can cross it many times rock hopping. Longer hikes can be had here going for maple falls which we did once. I love this place.

Really great trail, and I finished in around 4.5 hours. It was raining and misty so if you want to go in November I recommend it.

This is my favorite trail that we've done. Not great for small kids as there is quite a bit of scrambling and climbing over obstacles required. Bridge Creek Trail has a bad bridge so it's closed. Just walk down the main road to Buddha Bridge and pick the trail up there. This place was beautiful. Not extremely challenging until you get to the river where you have to pick your steps carefully. You'll cross the rive about 17 times until you reach the falls. It was a long hike, but totally worth it.

This moderate trail was beautiful!

The majority of Bridge Creek Trail is currently closed since there is a work crew clearing downed trees and repairing trails that were damaged in last winter's storms. The trail crew is scheduled to be done mid-October. It's possible to get to Maple Falls via Loma Prieta Grade and Hoffman's Historic Site, an elevation gain and drop back to the creek, then turning left at Bridge Creek Historic Site, which puts you on the last part of the Bridge Creek Trail to Maple Falls. There's still a lot of hopscotching the rocks on numerous creek crossings, but that's part of the fun. And for those who think the waterfall is dry, sorry to say, but you didn't get to Maple Falls. It's still flowing, and in fact it's year-round; was flowing last fall after years of drought. While not as impressive as Big Basin's Berry Creek Falls, it's a lovely destination with few crowds.

For the person who couldn't find the trailhead, walk up the Aptos Creek Fire Road about .2 miles past the Porter Family Picnic Area parking, which is the furthest you can drive May-October. The Loma Prieta Grade will be on your left, but the signage is about 25' off the Fire Rd, so it can be easy to miss. Keep looking left and you'll see a bike rack and sign for Loma Prieta Grade, Porter House Site, and Bridge Creek Trail.

Terrible marked trail. Very hard to find the beginning with the Buddha center having some of the roads closed. This trail was marked as 8 verses when we saw a trail marking at all.

Lots of mosquito's and poison oak. Narrow trails with tons of roots. Lots to trip over. It's a beautiful first part through the redwoods along a creek. Once you get to the top it's not as nice.
Suppose to be no mountain bikes but they are there. Very narrow trail. So be careful.

hiking
9 months ago

Thoroughly enjoyed the hike. Beautiful trail. One negative is you drive on a fire road to get to the beginning of the trail and there are numerous people hiking and biking on fire road. We took a detour coming back on a path that led to the river, which was great; but... then we ended up hiking on the fire road to get back to the car. Suggestion - go on a weekday.

Entire family (including dog) enjoyed our day here. Lots of change in terrain kept it interesting. Walk down to creek for light snacks was beautiful, and moments of single trail hiking made it feel intimate. Highly recommend!

Really pretty hike! At the top the path gets super narrow and there is a TON of poison oak. The hike isn't too difficult, but your blood certainly gets flowing. Would certainly do again, but would wear long pants to protect against the plants.

I went on 7/25/17 it's 10.5 miles hike ... bt unfortunately the water fall was dried up ... bt over all it's a very nice trail

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