hiking

forest

nature trips

views

birding

walking

wild flowers

trail running

wildlife

no dogs

kid friendly

dogs on leash

mountain biking

river

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.

hiking
16 days ago

This trail really only makes sense as part of a longer loop. Nice little well-maintained single track, super duper easy, but it is neither dog or bike friendly so pretty pointless. The creek is on the other side of the fire road.

A walk down a nice, flat, wide fire road through a beautiful second and third growth redwood and oak woodland. You’ll share this walk with lots of bike riders and other walkers. Dogs are allowed on leash, but I have let mine off on quiet days. There are lots of points where you can walk spurs down to the creek. Loma Prieta Grade is flat and and easy as well. Nice place to take your non-hiker friends for a good walk.

hiking
16 days ago

I think this (and Old Growth Loop) is one of the best loops in the park for kids/families/newbies to the park in general. You get the best creek crossing and a picnic table next to it to enjoy the area with lots of little loops and places for kids to explore. The hike itself is not too strenuous uphill and the old downed tree is really cool. You get a good sample of the foliage and scenery this park offers. Be careful with the creek crossing in the wet season. Rain boots are a good idea, especially now. The fall colors are beautiful and the forest smells amazing. (11/2018)

hiking
16 days ago

I think this (and Oak Ridge Loop) is one of the best loops in the park for kids/families/newbies to the park in general. You get the best creek crossing and a picnic table next to it to enjoy the area with lots of little loops and places for kids to explore. The hike itself is not too strenuous uphill and the old downed tree is really cool. You get a good sample of the foliage and scenery this park offers. Be careful with the creek crossing in the wet season. Rain boots are a good idea, especially now. The fall colors are beautiful and the forest smells amazing. (11/2018)

This little out and back could easily be made into a loop that is still doable for kids. Good section of forest with interesting scenery for such a short spur. Also, this is one of the best spots on the creek to hang out/play/explore for kids and dogs alike. There is a picnic table on the far side of the creek. Be very careful crossing the creek in the wet season, it can get very deep in places.

hiking
16 days ago

This is the easiest free or “back” entrance to the park, and it’s a nice little trail. Plenty of parking on Vienna/Danube/Wiltshire Dr. It connects to Terrace Trail which is a great little loop. I like to bring my dog this way so I can have her off leash and let her play in the creek, and avoid being seen by any park rangers.

hiking
16 days ago

I did this as a part of a longer loop around all of lower Nisene Marks. The elevation gain is not too intense on this part and you have a great creek crossing in the beginning, so I think it would be fun for kids/families. I see a lot of them by this part of the creek. My dog also loves splashing in the water. There is a picnic table on the far side of the creek. The water is already pretty deep after only the second rain of the season, so I could see it becoming impassable after heavy rains. The fall colors are very pretty now and the forest smells amazing!

hiking
1 month ago

A super easy and beautiful hike that winds along Aptos Creek under the shade of bay, oak, laurel, and redwood trees. Park at the Safeway and cross the street into the culdesac (the road that is straight ahead out of the shopping center lot) to walk straight down to the trailhead. You can access Aptos Creek Fire Rd. and lots of other trails in lower Nisene Marks via this route without paying to park.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful and easy hike!

Drive up the fire road until there is a gate blocking the road, and use that parking area to save a bit of walking. The falls is absolutely beautiful; keep going, you’ll know when you get there, as you can go no further. My dog really enjoyed playing in the creek and hiking the trails without worrying about bikers. The last mile to the falls is slightly more technical terrain, very fun. When I went in mid October the falls were strong enough to stand under and cool off for the return trek.

Beautiful, well maintained trails and a decent workout. My dog loves it too, especially since no bikes allowed on these trails. Nisene Marks holds a special place in my heart, it is just magical.

Great workout. This is a good loop to avoid the bikers and general traffic of Aptos Creek Fire Road on the way to Sand Point Overlook.

I always love West Ridge Trail, which is beautiful and well-maintained, but if you’re going to do this loop, you might as well take Bridge Creek Trail all the way to Maple Falls, it is worth the extra mile or two to have a highlight on the hike. There aren’t many viewpoints or good picture spots on this particular loop without adding in that spur.

Trail is slightly confusing or maybe I was confused but overall was an amazing hike. Definitely moderate, not easy and it’s fairly long but worth it. Scenery was absolutely stunning but there is lots of poison oak.

Loved this little trail! Didn't do much research beyond how far of a drive it was, trail distance and elevation gain so the stream crossing and solitude was a very pleasant surprise! Also met some really nice hikers and mountain bikers who came up the other side.

NOTE: there is little to no cell service here. I didn't take a screenshot of the map but fortunately my friend's phone worked. Personally the trail would have been a bit confusing for me without a map with all of the offshoots.

Will definitely come back to explore some of the other joining trails!

This park is just the best. Even on days when you don’t have very much time you can hike a few miles and feel secluded in a beautiful natural setting. If you have the time for an extra not even 2 miles—or if you drive in and park in the area by the last gate—the last push on Bridge Creek Trail to Maple Falls is absolutely worth it. Lots of creek crossings and some climbing over fallen trees makes for an exciting final leg, and the falls is flowing enough as of mid October to stand under and get refreshed for the trek back. I have been hiking with my dog here off leash for years and years and never once gotten in trouble or had a bad experience with other park users.

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.

2 months 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.

on Terrace Trail

hiking
3 months 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!

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