The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park is a park that is part of the state of California, United States, safeguarding a secondary woodland in the watersheds that runs through Aptos Creek and Soquel Creek within the Santa Cruz Mountains. It is situated in the vicinity of Aptos, California, and contains more than forty miles (64 km) of hiking trails and fire roads spanning 10,223 acres (4,137 acres) of varied terrain.
Four-fifths of the ParkPark are filled with redwood forests that are dense and thick. Chaparral is located in a few of the steepest and hot ridges. Douglas firs are found in redwoods across a variety of locations. Other tree species comprise the maples, alders, and cottonwoods along creeks; tanoaks within the understory of redwoods, Pacific madrone California bay; and numerous oak species.
The Park is home to various species of animals. The list includes banana slugs found in different forest types in Santa Cruz and California slimy salamanders. In addition, many species of plants can be seen within the parks. Many native and cultivated plants, as well as mushrooms, are often seen, such as Solomon’s plume and parrot flowers.
Utilize State Park Drive, the State Park Drive exit from Highway 1. Continue east along State Park Drive to Soquel Drive. Take a left on Soquel Drive. Go 1 mile to Aptos Creek Road. Make a left onto Aptos Creek Road into the ParkPark.
By bus: Santa Cruz METRO route 91X-Commuter Express or route 71. Exit in the Aptos Post Office. Take a west-facing walk on Trout Gulch Road to Soquel Drive, where you turn left and walk towards the Park’sPark’s entrance on Aptos Creek Road.
How To Access The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park
Before we go into the specifics, here are some tips to get into The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park:
There is a single roadway – The Aptos Creek Fire Road that is both in and out of the ParkPark. It is a narrow dirt road utilized by hikers, cyclists, and dogs.
When you arrive in when you arrive at the Park Entrance Station, you must pay an entrance fee of $8. The pass is valid only for one day. If you intend to return the next day, you’ll have to pay the fee once more.
The main visitor’s zone is located near the station that is open to visitors. The ParkPark has a tiny parking lot that includes a restroom, picnic tables, and park maps.
Parking is more plentiful in various areas on The Aptos Creek Fire Road, but they can be crowded quickly. Due to the limited parking options, I suggest getting up reasonably in the early morning hours, particularly on weekends.
Visiting The Forest of Nisene Marks
Off the beaten track, Away from the tourist trail, the Forest of Nisene Marks is an oasis from the bustling cities and beaches that line Highway 1 near Santa Cruz. The dense 2nd- third and fourth-growth redwood forests rise from sea level to the rocky coastline.
Most visitors are there to enjoy a picnic along Aptos Creek or to hike or jog through thirty miles of trail through the rugged semi-wilderness that rises from sea levels to rugged coastal mountains that exceed 2,600 feet.
The land of the ParkPark has a beautiful, bittersweet look. Most redwood forests were cleared during a 40-year logging frenzy from 1883 until 1923. After the loggers had left, the Aptos Canyon and forests began to recover. The scars are becoming less noticeable as each year passes. This Forest of Nisene Marks is a monument to the process of regeneration in the forest and the future. It is a tree in a constant state of evolving.
The Park’sPark’s name pays tribute to Nisene Marks, a nature-loving maternal grandmother of the Salinas farm family who purchased their land in the 1950s. Her children gave 9.700 acres to state officials in 1963 with the condition that the land could never be developed. The ParkPark today is the forest’s recovery with rough canyons and remnants of its former bustling railroad and logging industries. A forest of old-growth redwood trees close to the Pourroy picnic area was protected in private ownership and later added to the ParkPark over time.
Things to do
It is a tranquil oasis that offers 30 miles of maintained trails and roads for running and hiking.
Mountain biking is allowed on Aptos Creek Road and a set of trails in the lower part of the ParkPark, including Aptos Rancho Trail Split Stuff Trail, Terrace Trail, and Vienna Woods Trail.
Horses are permitted under the bridge’s steel structure.
The ParkPark showcases the forest’s recovery with rough canyons and remnants of its former bustling railroad and logging industries. The panels from the past are scattered all over the area.
BBQ pits and picnic tables are also available.
Visiting The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park Near Santa Cruz
The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park is a stunning redwood park located on the coast of Central California near Santa Cruz. The adjacent Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park usually steals the spotlight (and draws huge crowds), making the hidden treasure more enjoyable if you are looking for peace and quiet hiking trails.
Great redwood groves, stunning waterfalls, canyons dotted with ferns, and old logging camps are just some of the things you’ll see in this magnificent redwood forest.
This blog will provide the essential information you require to plan a day trip to hike and visit The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park!
We’ll explain the best ways to get there, the most scenic trails, and the best places to stay if coming from afar. Let’s get started!