It’s been a hot minute since I’ve posted anything local. It’s also been a hot minute since the last time I went on a real hike that didn’t involve carrying a crash pad or a rope. With a supposed bad weather window everywhere within a reasonable driving distance, we opted to stay at home to attempt some Sierra peak bagging training. (Read: hiking and putting in miles cause it’s been forever and a day since my feet have actually hit the ground) I opted for my local favorite at Big Basin Redwoods State Park, Berry Creek Falls.
santa cruz mountains
Hike: Five Finger Falls
Where: Forest of Nisene Marks
Trailhead: Porter Family Picnic Area
Duration: 5 hours
Length: 10.2 miles
Gear: Icebreaker Women’s Tech T Lite T-Shirt, Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew Socks – Women’s, REI Flash 18 Pack, Ahnu Sugarpine Boots, Outdoor Research Contour Shorts, and Black Diamond Ultra Distance Trekking Poles
Cost of Parking: $8
The Forest of Nisene Marks in Aptos, CA is one of those little known gems in the Bay Area. Trails wind through the Santa Cruz Mountains under second-growth redwoods, next to trickling creeks.
I set off to explore Five Finger Falls here after hearing many great things about it. The trail was long and semi-strenuous. I started at the Porter Famil Picnic Area and headed up the Aptos Creek Fire Road for a little over a mile. From there, there was a sign to Aptos Creek Trail out to Five Finger Falls. The hike begins off fairly mellow, but around 4 miles out, it begins to wind up some steep switchbacks.
The falls and Aptos Creek were flowing, but barely! The falls were just a small trickle into a basin of water. It was beautiful, but a little disappointing. This is a hike I will want to do again after torrential downpour to really experience the magnificence of the falls.