Bridge Creek Trail to Maple Falls

MODERATE 31 reviews

Bridge Creek Trail to Maple Falls is a 7.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Aptos, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
7.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1174 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

blowdown

no dogs

Off the beaten path, The Forest of Nisene Marks is a refreshing retreat from the busy towns and beaches along Highway 1 near Santa Cruz. Its dense second- and third-growth redwood forest rises from near sea level to steep coastal mountains. Drive up Aptos Creek Road to the park entrance. After the park entrance the road quickly become packed dirt but can be driven by to all types of vehicles. Continue on the dirt road to the Porter Family Picnic Area. There is a locked gate here closing the fire trail for vehicles, park here. The trail head is just a few yards beyond the locked gate. Continue north on the fire trail beyond the locked gate, start the tail on the Loma Prieta Grade Trail on the left. In about a 0.5 miles bear to the right at the fork and switch over to Bridge Creek Trail. Follow Bridge Creek Trail all the way to Maple Falls about 3 miles to the falls (6 miles in and out). Note: The park map makes mention of a winter gate on the Aptos Creek Fire road so depending on the time of year you visit the park if this gate is closed you will need to leave your car at the Steel Bridge parking and walk to the Porter Family Picnic Area to start the trail. If this is the case it will add approx. 1 mile each way for a total of 2 miles to the tail. The trail starts out easy and quickly changes to moderate. It goes through dense redwood forest, steep trails, canyons, bridges and a couple of river crossings hopping over rocks. It gets a bit challenging in some points especially towards the end as you get close to the waterfall.

hiking
8 days ago

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.

hiking
19 days ago

hiking
27 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

1 month ago

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

2 months ago

2 months ago

2 months ago

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.

hiking
2 months ago

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!

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

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

hiking
3 months ago

Loved it.
Note: Carry a map!!

trail running
3 months ago

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.

hiking
4 months ago

5 months ago

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
5 months ago

6 months ago

The trail is currently closed and they don't expect to open it soon... it's a shame, it's probably beautiful

hiking
6 months ago

ANYONE KNOW HOW TO GET TO THE TRAILHEAD?! Not clear at all, map quest is wrong!