Loma Prieta Grade Small Loop is a 5.9 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Aptos, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

Length5.9 miElevation gain278 ftRoute typeLoop
Kid friendlyHikingMountain bikingNature tripsWalkingBird watchingRunningForestViewsWildflowersWildlifeNo dogs
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The Forest of Nisene Marks SP boasts an old Lumber Railroad Grade. An introductory walk into the lower reaches of Nisene Marks. This trail is highly popular with the locals for an afternoon break. It's a good one for walks, jogging, and much of it is accessible to bikes. The trail also provide access to the trail heading deeper into this 10,000 acre state park. Dogs are OK on the fire road. Dogs must be on leash at all times. Leash must be no longer than 6 feet in length. Much of this particular walk traces the old lumber railroad grade. The rugged region was extensively logged between the 1880's and about 1920. The second growth forest is now an outstanding example of the regenerative powers of redwood and fir forests. This walk includes redwood and fir forest, maple, alder, oak, madrone, and other broad leaf Nisene is also the home of the epicenter of the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake. It became a state park in 1963 when the Marks Family donated the property to the State in honor of the memory of Nisene Marks. Between The Forest of Nisene Marks and the adjoining Soquel Demonstration Forest there are over 62 miles of recreational trails and roads.

The Forest of Nisene Marks SP http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=666 Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=22070

Location: Aptos Creek Road Soquel Drive Aptos, CA Latitude: 36.9856 Longitude: -121.905 Directions: The park is four miles north of Aptos on Aptos Creek Road. Telephone: 831-763-7062 Operating Hours: Sunrise to Sunset Camping: First-come first-served camping, contact the park directly for information. Pets: Dogs are OK on the fire road. Seasons and Climate: The weather can be changeable; layered clothing is recommended. ADA: There are currently no officially (wheelchair) accessible activities listed at this park. Some of the roads, parking areas, picnic benches, and restrooms may be. Call the park or email: access@parks.ca.gov for current details.

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Reviews (422)
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Activities (464)
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Carolyn Chan
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Jim Quigley
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SEAN CHOI
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Faith Cavazos
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Dry

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Jim Quigley
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Faith Cavazos
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Alexander Limon
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Yaron Hadad
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Amazing

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Faith Cavazos
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Edward Huy
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rawb danger
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Jennifer Perry
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Hiking

Took a bunch of side trails and crossed the creek twice. Good amount of people but everyone distanced

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Rob Brox
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Tiffani Negron
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Joe Romo
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Tim Howarth
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Don't stay on the road. Take any of the meandering trails that loosely run parallel to the creek. Giant Coastal Redwoods, Sword Ferns, and Fairy Parachutes are abundant. We took a detour into Unknown Park, which had some "No Trespassing" signs, which we respected, but had to go through some lightly traveled and very overgrown trails, which I personally enjoyed but others may not. I will definitely be returning to explore more here. It's quite beautiful.

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Erin McIntosh
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Heavily trafficked with dogs and bikes, but a very stable, mostly flat trail with mild incline.

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rawb danger
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Christen Maxwell
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Toni Shindler-Ruberg
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I did this in January and it was great! We didn’t park at the trailhead, which added 3 miles either way, but the trail itself was beautiful. It was a tad difficult to stay in the right path along the creek. The later section (last ~1 mile) was hard—narrow, rocky, and slippery. The waterfall itself was pretty but a little underwhelming; but the hike TO the waterfall was so fun in of itself.

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Laura Wilson
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Miron E.N
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Hiking

great hike. the winter gate is closed which adds some walking on gravel until the branch to the trails. walked to the falls which was absolutely worth it. the track to the falls not very well marked nor maintained, but, doable.

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Erin Lyons
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Mahima Narayan
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HikingFeeMuddy

Beautiful park; feels like you aren’t even in the Bay Area anymore! Trails are not well marked, so we were never sure that we were actually on the correct path (my advice is to download the map for offline use!) but it was fun to explore nonetheless. Depending on which parking lot you end up starting from, the trail ends up varying greatly from the AllTrails guides, so be wary of that as well!

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Miguelina Garcia
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It was good

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Luke Beatman
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Dennis Zwiers
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Eric Walker
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Hiking

Great trail! Excellent shade, beautiful creek.

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Kenny Wittman
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