Explore the most popular waterfall 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!

Trail is still very much impassable - the bridge work-around is no longer there so there isn’t a way to continue on the trail. If you want to see Five Finger Falls you’ll have to take the long way up and around - you can access the trail and falls further up from Aptos Creek Fire Road to White’s Lagoon Road to Big Slide Trail, but it’s steep and much longer.

Note: when they get this trail fixed up you can hike it from Porter Family picnic area in summer which will cut out about 4 miles of what AllTrails says the round trip is.

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

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.

The bridge was watched out but someone screwed on some boards so it was possible to climb up the fallen bridge ( a little shady but fun if you don’t fall) the rest of the hike was challenging but some really unique scenery. Worth it but not for rookies.

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

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

Dogs only allowed on paved roads and in picnic areas

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.

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.

This trail is not dog friendly. We were turned away at the entrance. They have maybe 2 miles of "trails" that are dog friendly. They also said that we couldn't hike up this trail because it was "closed" despite individuals recording their hikes on all trails. The park ranger even hesitated in giving us our money back even though we had just given it to him. State parks are terrible if you have fur children. And this is just a fire road anyway... would not recommend.

The longest hike I've done yet, it was a little tough but I LOVED EVERY MOMENT of it!!!
If you're bringing rookies, maybe rent bikes so it doesn't take as long. Other than that, it's pretty awesome!

This trail starts at the free parking but if you're willing to pay the entry fee, you can drive to the end of the Aptos creek fire road. The road traffic is pretty significant so its nice to skip the dusty road and start at the gate.

There are two significant landslides on the bridge trail which make it hard to finish the loop.

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

So beautiful here. Wish I could have seen more but I will be back for sure!

The best part about his hike is the hiking itself. Maybe I went at the wrong time or just missed out on the awesome view like in the pictures but what I saw is just a little waterfall behind fallen trees and mud slides. The start of the hike is easy but as you get through midway it starts to be a bit tougher. Tougher as in that you have to go off trail and connect trails because of fallen trees and mud slides that destroyed the trail. Other than that the trail was good. Chances are I won't be doing his one again.

Today was the second time I've tried this hike, completed it today and made it to Maple Falls. It's beautiful, but somewhat difficult due obstacles on the trail. The bridge is washed out still so there's a sketchy detour up and around right before where the bridge was. Do not recommend for kids at all really, until it gets a little more cleared up. Overall, the weather was perfect and nice waterfall/scenery!

Nice walk but be careful of a few landslides/obstacles on trail

Loved it.
Note: Carry a map!!

Made a 3 day out of this, partially back-tracking down to Bridge Creek Trail and taking a dip in beautiful Maple Falls.

Creeks were low enough to cross. Several mud slides so plan on a lot of delays. Not recommended for young children who don't know how to hike. Some wildflowers still in bloom. Moderate hike, mostly flat. It was 9 miles from the Steel Bridge, I think due to creek crossings and hiking over mudslides.

FYI, just went today and the trail remains closed due to washed out road and fallen trees. The 3 mile loop just around the coordinates provided is a nice hike. You can hike down to the creek as well, which is fun. Beautiful space, but 3 stars cuz no waterfall for me! :-( I will be heading back once the trail is open again.

hiking
Saturday, April 22, 2017

The log bridge with cable was washed out (as of 4/16/17), so the only way to get to the falls was to stay on the fire road going north west, and going east towards the falls (and back the same way) . The trail was overgrown in several places and quite slushy since it was raining at the time. The waterfall was gushing, and as was the creek (I had to cross in knee deep water in some parts) . If you've parked on the other side of Aptos creek, west of 'Marcel's Forest', there are a few unmarked trails around there as well, so you could lose more time around there. Overall, still a very fun hike.

hiking
Saturday, April 01, 2017

Load More