hiking

forest

views

birding

nature trips

walking

wild flowers

trail running

wildlife

no dogs

kid friendly

river

mountain biking

dogs on leash

waterfall

The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park offers rugged semi-wilderness, rising from sea level to steep coastal mountains of more than 2,600 feet. Once the site of logging operations until the 1920s, visitors can still find evidence of logging operations, mill sites and trestles in the park. The land was donated to the state by the Marks family in 1963. With over 30 miles of trails, hiking, jogging, and biking are some of the activities to be enjoyed here. Picnic tables and barbecue pits are available. A trail camp is located six miles from the nearest parking lot. Camping is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Please contact the park for more information. This park is on land that was clear-cut during a forty-year logging frenzy (1883-1923). When the loggers left the Aptos Canyon, the forest began to heal itself and now the scars grow fainter with each passing year. The Forest of Nisene marks is a monument to forest regeneration and the future - it is a forest in the state of becoming. Dogs are allowed only along the entrance road and in the picnic areas and must be on a leash no longer than six feet at all times. Park open Sunrise to Sunset.

If you are hiking with young children, drive all the way to the top. There is a parking area there, and you will be as close as you can get to the Small Loop trailhead. Otherwise, you will be sharing the road with mountain bikers flying up and down, and also adding mileage to the hike, which will affect your kids’ threshold, if they are anything like mine! Otherwise, a nice, easy hike for kids.

Great trail. We decided to park at the Safeway and hike up through the residential neighborhood entrance way. We did the loop and got about 15 miles in. Lots of cool little spots to hang out. I didn’t come across much in the way of good photo spots. Keep your heads up for mountain bikers! We had some on Sunday but they were always very courteous and let us hikers safely go by.

I would recommend downloading the map. My friend and I went on a few paths off the regular trail. You get random service areas too (on Verizon). And even some areas would allow me to use GPS on this app and it could find me pretty well. Bring water too!

lovely redwood home with opportunities to branch to other trails if you want to keep going.

7 days ago

Decent. Love the pine aromas as you pass the stands of fir

Love it! Pup celebrated her 12th birthday up & back!

Loved this trail. Shaded, with shallow streams (in September) that you can cross by stepping on stones.
I talked to the guy at the Olive Springs Quarry across Olive Springs Road from the gate to Hinckley Basin Fire Road, and he told me that even though the signs say no trespassing, you can hike and bike there, but don’t block the gate with your car.

Hiked this yesterday with Sierra Club group. There was fog in the morning, which burned off, in the afternoon. There were a few nice vistas, the overlook at the top the most impressive, with 2 benches. Lots of poison oak but I had gaitors. One guy got stung by a wasp, which we were informed are active, this time of year. It was a strenuous hike, with gradual inclines. Bring at least 2 quarts of water, as there is none there. Many steep dropoffs along path make it somewhat dangerous. Moist, cool sea breezes made it comfortable. No good stopping points, other than at the top.

hiking
1 month ago

Wanted nice views and to be able to take my dog. Followed the creek, did hit some fallen trees but nothing to crazy. If your dog likes to swim, it will love the creek. In the beginning there’s a part where the creek is pretty full and my dog just kept running in it.

Kept to the trail areas closest to temples. Love the area so much!

Great hike! Shaded, longish, good incline and dog friendly! My new favorite hike

It was worth it to get there early: get a good parking spot and beat the crowd to the falls! It was a lovely hike, and I was lucky enough to get a bit of solitude at the falls. There was a decent bit of water, even though it's been a while since the last rain. I'll definitely be coming back!

Great loop and a good challenge on the incline of you’re running. I go here regularly with my dog. If you don’t want to hike the full 6 miles you can go for a nice walk and turn around whenever you feel like. Trail goes along the creek and there’s no incline for the first mile.

Near the top is where the poison oak gets REALLY BAD, to the point where you can’t avoid even if you walk slowly and sideways. Wear pants/bring a long sleeve.

on Porter Trail

hiking
2 months ago

Some downed trees and 2 notices of active bee-yellow jacket nests. 2 easy stream crossings. Weeds encroaching on trail. Check for ticks!

the old railroad portion was beautiful!

The dirt road in was not rough at all. You do have to get there early as parking near the gate was almost full around 10:30am. From the parking lot, we walked straight to the gate where the trail begins. We took a wrong turn at the Porter House Site, veering down and to the right instead of staying left and continuing uphill on the Loma Prieta Grade. Thankfully, we ran into someone who brought their map that the ranger gives you at the park entrance (entrance fee is $8). We crossed the creek 12 times on the way in. The trail was a little muddy in a couple spots but it’s not bad. There were a few places where we had to scramble over rocks. The falls are about a mile past the Bridge Creek Historic Site. Definitely plan on getting into the water and under the falls—super refreshing even if it’s a little chilly!

All in all, we had a great time on the hike and it was a mostly shaded trail. Do bring bug spray as there are a decent number of mosquitos and watch out for poison oak.

Absolutely beautiful! Lots of rich lush foliage. Stays cool in the summer and plenty of shade for pleasant hiking. The array of birds and babbling creak provides a very peaceful atmosphere. Make sure to keep an eye out for poison oak.

Lots of poison oak. Thankfully I was warned how bad it was that I ended up turning around near the top of the hike. Couple of hikers who were wearing pants (I had shorts on) said it was so bad you can’t not help but brush up against it.

It was a beautiful and peaceful trail. Only issue, and probably my bad for not getting a map, is what should have been an easy 5.5-6 mile loop ended up being just over 9 miles. Yup not clearly marked and we went off the trail! My advice...make sure you get a map. Other then that will definitely do it again (with a map)

Great trail but shitty oak up top. Like really bad!!!! Bummer.

hiking
3 months ago

6/22/18: Aptos Creek Trail remains impassable—If you are up for the 15-16 mile round trip detour (my track said 17.9, but I parked as far as the main entrance station), the falls is absolutely beautiful and secluded right now. I stayed for a couple of hours, laying on the smooth rocks and swimming beneath the cascade, which was a nice reward for the grueling trek up. Surprisingly not very buggy, but as always, check yourself and furry friends for ticks! I might do this again soon and make it an overnight by camping at the West Ridge Trail camp. There are a few large downed trees to scramble over and some overgrowth as you get closer to the falls, but my dog and I handled it with no problems. I took Donut Trail to Big Slide to get off the main road on the way up, but I wouldn’t recommend it in the uphill direction, it was killer, narrow ankle twisting single track up a really steep grade. Lots of mountain bikers as usual, but all very friendly and courteous of my off leash dog.

Lots of poison oak on the return route. AllTrails suggests parking at the trail entrance but to shave off a mile or two you can continue to drive the paved road until it dead ends and start the hike from there.

Good for hiking, family gathering and must visit.

Did this in 3hr 25min, but started at the second parking lot on the way in, I believe it was 12mi round trip.

I run and hike quite often, but the last 2mi to the Overlook got me huffing and puffing.

Beautiful hike on the way up, but like others have said the second half is just a fire road.

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.

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. .

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