Explore the most popular trails near Aptos with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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waterfall

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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

walking
27 days ago

As other reviewers have mentioned, this is not so much a trail as a literal walk on the beach. It really is a wonderful place, though, with a seemingly endless, wide open expanse of sand, big surf, and tall cliffs that are dotted with coastal pine, oak, and eucalyptus trees. Often times the cliffs open up into small sandy coves, or little dry inlets, areas with soft grass and sometimes flowers, and large pieces of driftwood that make great places to sit, where friends and I have camped and had bonfires. The best thing about this place is that it is absolutely ok to have your (friendly!) dog off leash. Rangers often drive the beach, and none have ever stopped me with my pit bull mix running around chasing her ball into the waves. She loves to swim here, and it really tires her out, which is so nice, as there aren’t many places in this county where your dog can get that much freedom to play. If you are so inclined, as far as I can tell, you could walk along this beach for miles and miles. I have seen seals, otters, whales, dolphins, all kinds of seabirds, crabs, jellyfish, and this is also a great place for collecting shells and sand dollars. Leave your car in the Seascape Resort parking lot and take their trailhead down if you need access for someone differently-abled. A true gem of a place we are so lucky to have.

Short trail, don't waste your time.

Fun hike, this is where most of the people go. Not a lot of elevation gain but the river is cool.

Dogs only allowed on paved roads and in picnic areas

This is a beautiful park. Within minutes of the main parking you can stroll into redwoods and have the kids play in the creek. As you wind your way into the forest along the creek you can cross it many times rock hopping. Longer hikes can be had here going for maple falls which we did once. I love this place.

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!

Thoroughly enjoyed the hike. Beautiful trail. One negative is you drive on a fire road to get to the beginning of the trail and there are numerous people hiking and biking on fire road. We took a detour coming back on a path that led to the river, which was great; but... then we ended up hiking on the fire road to get back to the car. Suggestion - go on a weekday.

walking
5 months ago

It is a walk along the beach, not a hike. It is a very nice beach to walk on though! Not crowded, at all. Other people had dogs on the beach. The water as nice. Got to see a lot of birds, crabs, and some whales. The beach had many sand dollars as well if you're into that.

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!

off road driving
6 months ago

The entrance of the trail cannot be found . At the end of the road you will enter into a private road where is one lane only and some construction.

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.

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