Forest of Nisene Marks State Park, Aptos

#1 of 6 in Things to do in Aptos
Must see · State Park · Nature / Park
The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park is a state park of California, USA, protecting a tract of secondary forest in the Santa Cruz Mountains. It is located outside Aptos, California and contains over 40mi of hiking trails and fire roads through 10223acre of variable terrain. The park was named for Nisene Marks, a passionate nature lover and the mother of a Salinas farming family that purchased the land from lumber companies (and others) in the hopes of finding oil. After drilling efforts failed to find any oil, Marks' children donated the original 9700acre of land in her memory to the state of California (with the help of the Nature Conservancy) in 1963.
The California State Parks department, with additional help from the Save the Redwoods League, expanded the park to 10036acre. The park is on land that was clearcut during a forty-year period of logging (1883–1923) by the Loma Prieta Lumber Company. Visitors can still find evidence of logging operations, mill sites and trestles in the park. The park offers rugged semi-wilderness, rising from sea level to steep coastal mountains of more than 2600ft. Today the park is a popular spot for running, hiking and horseback riding. Mountain biking is restricted to the fire road as of 2004 because of deed restrictions regarding the state park. Picnic tables and barbecue pits are available. A trail camp is located 6mi from the nearest parking lot. Dogs are allowed only along the entrance road and in the picnic areas and must be on a leash no longer than six feet at all times. Backpack camping is also available.
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Forest of Nisene Marks State Park reviews

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166 reviews
  • The hike at this State Park is easy to moderate in most areas, and a great place to see some very large redwood trees. There are some nice picnic areas as well making it a great place to hike and...  more »
  • For the serious hiker, the northern part of the park has miles of hiking trail that ventured deep into the forest, including the epicenter of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. But for pleasant short.....  more »

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