The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park
Aptos Creek Rd, Aptos, CA 95003, United States

Review №1

WOW! This is a real forest. Serene and tranquil and they have tried to leave the trails as natural as possible. Hiking up to the waterfall was an adventure and has something for everyone (walking through tall redwoods, wading in the stream, climbing over tree trunks and even some rock climbing).We got there around 8 AM for a 9 mile out and back hike. The parking lots inside the park are small, but you can park in many different areas as long as its marked otherwise.Some of the trails are very narrow (especially away from the main park) and I imagine slippery, muddy conditions in the winter.

Review №2

Spent the afternoon here with my 6 year old daughter. We parked at the entrance station and did a short hike down the Old Growth trail to Aptos Creek, lucky for us we discovered and amazing creek beach with a rope swing. Four stars because the bathrooms were from the dark ages, flytraps hanging from the ceiling and no windows, I’ve never seen my daughter turn around so fast! Don’t let that ruin an amazing experience in the redwoods!

Review №3

Very serene and piecefull. Great for family/kids. Parking can be challenging. Need several day trips to explore it fully.

Review №4

This park offers many hiking trails and bike routes. It’s pet friendly too! The entrance charge is $8. You will enjoy the beautiful view and plenty of shade.

Review №5

The Nisene Marks Park is notorious for glorious views of Majestic Redwoods and for a year around Creek. It has wonderful walking trails and at the far end of the park past the steel bridge through the narrow drive out amongst open space of Redwood trees and other trees and some picnic tables that are scattered about, youll find a large dusty parking lot that also has some picnic tables hidden below near the Creek, to of which you might like to have a picnic with your family. In addition or simply by itself, you can park your car and hike along the Creek or scale the mountains for an adventurous walk.

Review №6

I felt in love with this place we took a car ride through the tall trees and later we hiked this beautiful place it’s just breathtaking

Review №7

The hike to the maple waterfall is one of the most beautiful hikes. Its about 4 hours

Review №8

Went there as a child and was thrilled to see it again through the eyes of an adult in October 2019. Refreshing AM chill and sunny skies made for a beautiful couple of hours. If your from a different part of the country like me (Cape Coral FL) its a breathtaking contrast to my usual topography.

Review №9

Despite the COVID craziness out there, we had a great time. Parking lot often fills up quickly and you cant park on the side of the road leading in, at least you shouldnt. We parked behind the bike shop before we walked it in. Dog friendly only in some spots, but if youre good and pick up after your animal and its not aggressive, you should be fine. We took the picnic trail loop, I think its called the split something, for a little over a mile, doubled back to the old growth loop and out onto a residential street across from Safeway and trekked back to the truck. There seemed to be more garbage laying around, we picked up candy wrappers and starbucks cups...its sad that park users cant respect a place like this and throw their stuff away. There was lots of poison oak protruding into some of the trails, so be careful. Recommend lots of water; the elevation gains are short but plentiful. We saw a banana slug, various birds and a bunch of lush ferns and other forest floor fauna. Its a real escape from the concrete world we live in. One of my favorite places to go

Review №10

This place is beautiful. The hike to the falls is great and well worth the effort.

Review №11

Nice place to visit. Its gets crowded, so go early.

Review №12

Redwood trees, a plethora of trails, hiking, picnics, mountain biking, quiet, and tranquility; whats not to love? Nisene Marks is a wonderful little Aptos gem.

Review №13

Is a great way to get exercise in and people are very conscious of social distancing and masks.

Review №14

Always a quiet place to soak in the forest just keep walking deeper in. Magical redwoods. Close to yummy cafes and all you could want. Folks on bikes love it here.

Review №15

AHHHHHH!!!! Forest of Nisene Marks is like a fairy wonderland! All the hanging greenery, huge trees, bubbling creeks, and moss makes me feel like Im about to grown literal fairy wings and finish out my days living among the woodland creatures. The proximity to SC is also awesome and convenient!

Review №16

I love redwoods and walking amongst them is a humbling experience. Also made it to Maple Falls, quite the rugged 0.5mile gander, but it was worth it.

Review №17

Nice place to visit. Lots of trails with varying complexities and a beautiful creek.

Review №18

Quite a variety of least and challenging hikes with ever flowing creek. Dont miss Twisted Grove, fallen advocate, July tiger lillies, and winter fetid adders tongue.

Review №19

Incredible trails! We felt as if we were hiking through a fairy garden. Recommended for all nature-lovers. Wonderful place to ride your bike, run, hike with friends/family and to just get in touch with beautiful Mother Earth.

Review №20

A great State Park with multiple trails, historical sites, interesting scenery and natural wonder. A great place to go with the family or friends for the day to hike and enjoy the amazing Redwood forest and trees that this park offers.

Review №21

Just wow. A new favorite hiking spot. SO MANY TRAILS to choose from. Cant wait to go back. Parking a little tricky but still worth it.

Review №22

We had a great time here hiking with family. We did a round trip of around 8 miles. Trails are really scenic with giant redwood trees and creeks. The park is multi use, we saw quite a few mountain bikers as well. There are several parking lots in the park. Try to park in the last parking lot, that way you dont have to walk on the road a lot. Definitely visit this park again, there is lot to explore here.

Review №23

Wonderful park for hiking. Nearly every trail is nestled below towering trees which provide continuous canopy cover. There are a large number of hiking trails of varying lengths and difficulty some of which lead to gorgeous vistas or waterfalls etc. During the winter months you cannot drive into the deeper parts of the park although you can still walk to those places if you want. However there are many great trails that start from the other parking spots so this is a great park year-round. There is camping but it was washed out the last time I went so you should check first if you intend to go camping.

Review №24

Exelent place for biking more that 10 miles

Review №25

Banana slugs? Fungal fun? Best moss youve ever seen? Yup! Has it all. Love this place. If you find yourself in Santa Cruz and have some time, stop on through. Such an incredible place especially for the ease of access from town.

Review №26

So beautiful in the Redwood forest and down by the creek, even in a smoke-filled day, due to the CZU Complex Fires of August 2020. Peaceful and lovely.

Review №27

Very nice area, but on our visit the poison oak was EVERYWHERE!! Having our 2 daughters with us, it didnt seem safe for a hike. We quickly turned around and headed back for the car within 5 minutes of walking.

Review №28

Absolutely beautiful place!!! Various trails depending how long of a hike you would like to do. Definitely recommend! Be sure to bring proper footwear if youre thinking of crossing the creeks, theres a few trails you have to do so.

Review №29

Nice hiking... signs require extra critical thinking but if you got GPS its not a problem.

Review №30

Used to be a well kept secret but now is relatively crowded. Theres a fee to enter with a motor vehicle. Great mountain biking and its free for bicyclists to enter. Beautiful old Redwoods populate this park and the walking trails are well manicured. Several over looks plunge 50 down to a creek running through the park which stretches from the park entrance to Old San Jose at Olive Springs Road. Many picnic spots and rest rooms at the Kiosk entrance.

Review №31

Beautiful forest to hike. The river crossing is fun if you dare hop on rocks to cross it. You can always find a fallen branch before hopping on the rocks to keep your balance. Trails can be a little confusing but its the best way to discover other trails.

Review №32

Great secluded Park with redwoods and a beautiful creek. Dog friendly ( on leash)

Review №33

Super cool State Park. Gorgeous mossy forest with adventurous trail full of fun and variety to Maple Falls. Fun to bike half of it and hike half of it.

Review №34

Good trails under shade. Not much traffic.

Review №35

A world of its own but only 6 minutes away from where I live. Has dog and kid friendly trails which makes this a routine place for us to hike.

Review №36

OMG this place is amazing with enough natural tails and variety of trails to choose from. You will definately feel being in true jungle if u hike on bridge creek trail. Carry enough water and little sandwiches , early mornings and evening u can get bothered by few bugs, so bug spray can be a good idea. Trail can be a bit wet or muddy at times so wear proper hiking shoes. Over all an amazing time and moderate workout with friends hiked 9 miles round trip.

Review №37

We went on the something great basin fire road. Great intermediate hike! There are 4 stream crossing in the first 10 minutes of the hike and for sure will get your shoes wet.. at least the first crossing! The hike is dog friendly and uphillly. Very fun!

Review №38

Deep forest, road up the middle to the summit. Another jewel of Santa Cruz.

Review №39

Its very scenic, but parking is absolutely difficult. There really are few places for the amount of people that were there when I went. Also, the outhouse almost made me throw up, so I recommend going on an empty stomach. Steel Bridge looks great from on the stream below.

Review №40

The fire road is a bit too busy. But get on one of the trails and serenity awaits

Review №41

Awesome trail and waterfalls. And mostly under tree shade!!

Review №42

Great location for a long hike or mtn bike ride

Review №43

Lots of great hiking. Fairly busy for a Thursday but it is new years week.

Review №44

Dear Mountain Bikers, With all kindness and sincerity I request that you slow down for hikers when riding the fireroad downhill. Warm Regards, a friendly hiker :)Park Review:Not old growth redwoods like Big Basin, but this park offers a lot of small to medium sized growth with the high canopy and spacious (no undergrowth) feeling. Many miles of trails.Tip - Ignore the parking lot full, locals only sign. At least I did and found that, although the lot next to the toll booth was full, there was plenty of parking further inside for the fire road and epicenter. $8 Is well worth driving 2 miles closer.I hiked the fireroad and found it to be a very comfortable and smooth trail without the concern of wading through grass and picking up ticks. The only problem with the fireroad is the concern is the relatively high ratio of bikes to hikers. Im not anti bike, I mountain bike myself including 24 hour races. So with my message above I hope that the relationship between mountain bikers and hikers can safely improve to be healthy and mutually beneficial for everyone.

Review №45

Great trails in a close location.

Review №46

We had a great time at The Forest of Nisene Marks! The park guide at the gate was very friendly and helpful. There are plenty of easy and medium hikes and the park is clean and beautiful. Definitely would recommend!

Review №47

Beautiful redwoods! We walked to Maple falls and enjoyed it very much

Review №48

A great area to hike in the Aptos area. Good for the kiddos with lots to see and explore, including banana slugs!

Review №49

Loops through redwood forest. Saw one banana slug. Ten degrees cooler when you get on the trail. We went to see the Twisted Grove. It is as stand of redwoods that have twisted as they grew. Some think it is due to earthquakes shifting the ground.

Review №50

An Amazing Place to visit.

Review №51

Nisene Marks, or home of the epicenter for the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake that rocked Northern California when I was 7 years old, is one of my favorite CA state parks. I trained for years as a trail racer here, as it is nearly always cool with forgiving, soft surface on which to run and plenty of shade for sun protection. The sights are breathtaking and while I dont live in Santa Cruz County anymore, I still try to visit pnce a month. Parking in 2019 is currently $8 but you can wall in and park outside in Aptos on the street. Mind the signs.

Review №52

Majestic place with lots of trails. Pet friendly.

Review №53

Amazing trails for hiking, biking or running with friends.

Review №54

Great for a walk in the forest.

Review №55

This place is super bomb. Tons of greenage, noice views, and dank creeks.

Review №56

Lush Coastal Redwood Forest. Over 10,000 acres of trails, streams, and Redwoods. This place is THE GEM of Aptos. Run here, ride here, walk here. Whatever you do, this forest is well worth it. Parking is free along the curb and in the dirt lot before entering the park. Its $8 once you reach the ranger kiosk. If there was a 6-star option, this place would get it.

Review №57

The forest smells wonderful! Always a great place for a hike or just to wander. A lovely shaded gem.

Review №58

Great park, but the parking can be full.

Review №59

Always a nice peaceful hike to Maple Falls.

Review №60

A local gem for hiking and Mountain biking!

Review №61

This park was very nice and well maintained. The guy at the entrance was especially helpful and recommended a great hike we could take the baby on (in a baby backpack). We ate lunch at a nice picnic area as well. Its so beautiful with streams, giant redwoods, and some even quirky features like an old car with plants growing out of it!

Review №62

Old car on one of its

Review №63

Meh! Not the best park for seeing Redwoods anymore but let’s preserve our open space in Santa Cruz mountains - great for biking and hiking

Review №64

This place has such an amazing feel. The trails are beautiful

Review №65

Nice hike or bring mountain bikes.

Review №66

Always great place for a hike/walk. Or if you like Mountain Bikes there are awesome trailers here for that.

Review №67

I love that you can escape the buzz of reality into a perfect hideaway like the Forest - with its old growth redwoods and variety of trails, waterfalls and bike paths - its also a short car ride from the coast - really embodies some of the best California has to offer in terms of the great outdoors.

Review №68

This Forest is amazing! Theres so much to walk and visit that it would take many visits before we can see it all.

Review №69

I cant recommend this place enough! Beautiful and magical.

Review №70

A great place to visit and walk amongst redwoods that isnt to far from Capitola. There are almost 40 miles of trails in among the redwoods. The paths are all well marked & mapped. A humbling hike in nature.

Review №71

Serenity and beauty abound. Lush green ferns, towering redwoods, the gentle babble of the creek and the occasional Banana Slug sighting. Truly a gift from nature. Leashed dogs are allowed in several areas and there are a couple of picnic areas along the way. Didnt make it out to the Epicenter due to having our doggie with us but we were not disappointed.

Review №72

Beautiful Park! Would love to live here! The old growth trail was beautiful. There are lots of meandering trails. We also did Oak Ridge Trail which had more hillsand connects with Old Growth Trail. Would be easy to get lost here without GPS and a map. We downloaded the map to our phone before we went in, which helped immensely! We knew within 30 seconds if we were going the wrong way, which happened a few times. :)

Review №73

Beautiful scenery, a large system of trails for everyone. Multi purpose trails for bikes, and horses.I have visited Nisene dozens of times and always discover something new. I highly recommend

Review №74

Beautiful redwood trees, we loved it. The Bridge Creek trail was nice, moderate in difficulty, and ended with a cute waterfall. It wasn’t crowded at all, on a Saturday afternoon.

Review №75

This is a beautiful park with ton of second and third growth redwoods. Its a lovely place to walk and see the beauty of things around you. There are several historic sites here that are interesting to learn about.

Review №76

Very y green at the time I went. Make sure to pick up map. $8 parking day use

Review №77

Best state park to hike around in and explore endlessly!

Review №78

I love this park. Sometimes the trail/road will be closed to cars because of wet conditions, but dont be discouraged. Its easy hike from the parking lot in.

Review №79

Quiet and beautiful.

Review №80

Nice patch of second growth redwoods. Bikes and crowds near the entry and @ picnic areas but trail traffic was fairly light.

Review №81

Nice hike amongst the trees with some climbing over rocks as you ascend the river towards Maple Fall

Review №82

Truly a gift from nature. Leashed dogs are allowed in several areas and there are a couple of picnic areas along the way. Didnt make it out to the Epicenter due to having our doggie with us but we were not disappointed.

Review №83

Beautiful park. I walked for hours here and could have walked for more easily. The trails run everywhere, many different areas to explore. From redwood forests with a small creek running through to sunny oak forests near the top of the canyon. There was different greenery everywhere and bathrooms were present. I wish there were more frequent trash areas, many people leave their dog bags on the trails.

Review №84

How many redwood forests are located a mile or so from the beach! Not many. A special place!

Review №85

We had a wonderful walk here. The beautiful redwood trees start right at the front parking lot and are everywhere. The hiking trails are well laid out and very enjoyable. The only suggestion I have is that the maps could be a bit better, there were some very slight inaccuracies.

Review №86

We did a 2 mile hike and didnt feel tired. Great place if youre a nature lover like us.

Review №87

Beautiful park, well shaded. Saw banana slugs.Lots of fast bicyclist be on the lookout especially if you listen to music while exercising. Stay safe

Review №88

Love, Love this park. Great place to take the kids and dogs. Some real easy going trails and a great Creek to hang out and throw rocks.

Review №89

Absolutely loved it! Such dense vivid green forest.Absolutely would recommend taking a trail and just keep going on.For a trail we took had to cross a stream over water - there wasnt any bridge. The trail was so thin and covered with long grass in some parts that it made the jungle a lot more real. A moderate 1 hour hike. There are multiple choices for more strenuous and longer hikes as well.

Review №90

We love our hikes at this beautiful forest! The kids enjoyed the creek today too. Fun trails with our Wild Explorer group!

Review №91

Awesome beautiful place. Peaceful and quiet, the trails are beautiful to hike and you can bike there also. The creaks are cold and clear running nice to walk in. Beautiful waterfall in the park.

Review №92

The park is currently closed at the winter gate. There is no estimate for when it will be opened.

Review №93

Great park it’s many hikes. Excited to come after the fire

Review №94

Amazing place to hike. Gorgeous lush forest with amazing mushrooms, clear clean water and different paced hikes. I never get bored. But be careful about parking, it gets really muddy.

Review №95

Dogs loved it. Not overcrowded very easy trails.

Review №96

Awesome views, great hiking, running, and biking. Get here after 4 and you can skip a $10 fee or park outside of the park and walk in. Staff are generally friendly. Great dog walking.

Review №97

A nice place for day hikes and MTB. The main road goes well into the forest and offers ample parking, you just need to pay a (preferably cash) entrance fee.We hiked to Maple Falls, which follows a creek through its canyon filled with pine and maple trees. There is quite a bit of poison oak, so familiarize yourself with what it looks like and wear pants. The winter storms wreaked havoc on the trail in some sections, making this hike more technical than I suspect it used to be. Our active 65y.o. parents were able to complete it without much difficulty, though! The falls are a fun place to rest, hydrate, eat a snack, and snap some pics.

Review №98

An amazing place to walk amongst great trees

Review №99

The path to Maple falls is an adventure that you wouldnt want to miss. Wear hiking shoes as you would go through small streams of water, walk across tree trunks and scale medium sized boulders.

Review №100

Passed through on the Land of Medicine Buddhas 6 mile trail. Very beautiful and serene.

100 Photos
4.8 Rating
  • Address:Aptos Creek Rd, Aptos, CA 95003, United States
  • Site:
  • Phone:+1 831-763-7063
  • State park
  • Hiking area
  • Park
  • Tourist attraction
  • Wheelchair-accessible entrance:Yes
  • Good for kids:Yes
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