New Meetup: Labor Day Staycation Part Two: Forest of Nisene Marks

From: Kathleen
Sent on: Wednesday, August 25, 2010 4:47 PM
Announcing a new Meetup for Walking thru the Valley of Heart's Delight & Hiking Around!

What: Labor Day Staycation Part Two: Forest of Nisene Marks

When: Sunday, September 5,[masked]:30 PM

Where: Forest of Nisene Marks SP
Soquel Dr
Aptos, CA 95003

We'll try again for a hike we scheduled a month ago. We fell in love with the Forest of Nisene Marks state park in Aptos, and this time we want to do the scheduled hike described below. Our last experience here was with limited bugs and poison oak, and an interesting variety of plants.

Let's go in as few cars as possible to save the road, as well as our state park fees. Ron and Kathleen will be heading down from Palo Alto at noon; there is also a shopping center on Soquel Drive before one turns onto the road into the park where we could try to meet up. One can only hope that by leaving mid-day and returning around 7:30 p.m., we might miss the worst of holiday weekend traffic.

Finding the park is tricky UNLESS you follow the directions included right here:

Directions to trailhead: From Highway 1 in Aptos, take the State Park Drive exit to Soquel Drive. Turn right (east) and proceed 0.5 mile into Aptos. Turn left on Aptos Creek Road and drive four miles to a locked gate at The Forest of Nisene Marks? Porter Picnic Area.

The hike: From the picnic area, follow Aptos Creek 0.4 mile to the Loma Prieta Grade trailhead. (An old mill site is a short walk up the road.)

For a short stretch, the trail stays near Aptos Creek. This creek, which rises high on Santa Rosalia Ridge, is joined by the waters of Bridge Creek, then spills into Monterey Bay at Rio Del Mar Beach. Silver salmon and steelhead spawn in the creek.

The old railway bed makes a gentle trail except for a few places where the old bridges have collapsed into steep ravines. Your destination of China Camp, now called Hoffman?s Historic Site, has a few wooden structures.

You can return the same way or take the Ridge Connector Trail over to West Ridge Trail. This latter trail runs south and connects with Aptos Creek near the trailhead. Be warned that Ridge Trail is sometimes crowded by large amounts of poison oak.

? 2007 The Trailmaster, Inc.
Trail descriptions and maps have been reproduced with the permission of the author (on the State Park site).

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