» Official Brochure: Official Trail Map with details of both Forest of Nisene Marks and Soquel Demonstration Forest. The area close to Entrance Station in Forest of Nisene Marks is shown enlarged. Trail lengths are missing in this map.
To Sand Point Overlook (6.6 miles): From George's Picnic Area, follow Aptos Creek Fire Road (0.4 miles) → left on West Ridge Trail (3.6 miles) to junction with Ridge Connection Trail. Continue along West Ridge Trail (0.5 miles) to junction with Big Stump Gap Trail. Continue along West Ridge Trail (1.6 miles) → right on Hinckley Basin Fire Road (0.5 miles) to reach a junction with Aptos Creek Fire Road. Sand Point Overlook is nearby.
To Five Finger Falls (4.1 miles): From Sand Point Overlook, continue going east along Aptos Creek Fire Road (1.0 miles) → turn left on White's Lagoon Road / Big Slide Trail (2.2 miles) → left on Aptos Creek Trail (0.9 miles) to Five Finger Falls.
To George's Picnic Area (6.5 miles): From Five Finger Falls, retrace your steps along Aptos Creek Trail (0.9 miles) to junction with Big Slide Trail. Continue along Aptos Creek Trail (3.0 miles) to 'Bottom of the Incline'. Turn left on Aptos Creek Fire Road and follow the road all the way to George's Picnic Area. Sequence of junctions along Aptos Creek Fire Road: (0.8 miles) Mill Pond Trail → (0.2 miles) Loma Prieta Mill Site → (0.3 miles) Loma Prieta Trail → (0.2 miles) Porter Trail on left → (0.5 miles) Porter Trail on left → George's Picnic Area (0.6 miles).
A short section of Aptos Creek Fire Road may be replaced by Porter Trail, which is a gorgeous single track hiking trail through forest (see trail map for its location). Porter Trail requires a couple of creek crossings without bridges. Going north, the first crossing is very close to Aptos Creek Fire Road. If it looks challenging, you may retrace your steps back to Aptos Creek Fire Road and walk along the fire road, bypassing Porter Trail (see trail map for details).
West Ridge Trail is a nice single track hiking trail, shaded by tall trees. At some locations, the trail is particularly scenic, cutting through steep hilly slopes.
Aptos Creek Fire Road is wide fire road, shaded throughout. Even though this is a fire road, the abundance of tall trees all along make it no less pleasant than single track trails.
In December 2009, Big Slide Trail and Aptos Creek Trail were clear but looked unmaintained. We felt we were in wilderness.
From Highway 17 going south, go along CA-1 South. After about six miles, take Exit 435 for State Park Drive towards Aptos. Soon after the exit, turn left onto State Park Drive. After 0.3 miles, take the second right onto Soquel Drive. In half a mile, you will reach the intersection of Soquel Drive and Aptos Creek Road in Aptos, CA. Turn left onto Aptos Creek Road and drive about a mile to reach the Park Entrance kiosk where you would have to pay entrance fees. Drive another mile to reach George's Picnic Area, which is near 'Steel Bridge' and 'Winter Gate' in the official map.
Parking Fees: $8 per vehicle (last visited: March 2014)