The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park
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The Forest at Nisene Marks
The park offers 10,000 acres of rugged semi-wilderness, rising from sea level to steep coastal mountains of more than 2,600 feet. The site of logging operations until the 1920s, visitors can still find evidence of logging operations, mill sites and trestles in the park. The land was purchased by the Marks family in the 1950s, and was donated to the state in 1963. There are 30 miles of trails nestled in this second-growth forest, which are perfect for hiking, mountain biking or a leisurely stroll. Horses are allowed on a portion of the fire road and some trails. A number of picnic areas are available with charcoal grills. Dogs are allowed on fire roads only and must be on leash.
Use the State Park Drive exit from Highway 1. Go east on State Park Drive to Soquel Drive. Turn right on Soquel Drive. Go 1 mile to Aptos Creek Road. Turn left on Aptos Creek Road into the park.
- Pit toilets
- Picnic areas
- Food, lodgin, and supplies nearby
- There is an ADA-compliant trail at the park — learn more in the Hilltromper Wheelchair-Friendly Trails Guide
Family and children’s programs
Historic sites and exhibits
Primitive trail camping available for $5 per night. No water is available, and fire and dogs are prohibited. Self registration at the entrance station is required. Call Sunset State Beach for reservations (831) 763-7063.
Juveniles under 18 years of age not camping with a parent or legal guardian must have WRITTEN permission to camp in the park. Permission letters must include the name of the park, the name of the juvenile, the dates they may stay and the name, address, phone number and signature of the person’s parent or legal guardian. The parent must be reachable at all times during the juvenile’s visit. Children 14 years of age and under may not camp without a parent present during the stay.
The weather can vary from cool to hot within a few hours. Layered clothing is advised.