Loma Prieta Grade Trail


Register for free!

Register for free with TrailLink today!

We're a non-profit all about helping you enjoy the outdoors
  • View over 30,000 miles of trail maps
  • Share your trail photos
  • Save your own favorite trails
  • Learn about new trails near you
  • Leave reviews for trails
  • Add new and edit existing trails

Loma Prieta Grade Trail Facts

States: California
Counties: Santa Cruz
Length: 5.5 miles
Trail end points: Porter Family Picnic Area on Aptos Creek Road (The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park) and Porter Family Picnic Area on Aptos Creek Road (The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park)
Trail surfaces: Dirt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6242346
Trail activities: Walking

With Unlimited:

  • Export to My Trail Guide
  • Create Guidebook
  • Download GPX
  • Download Offline Maps
  • Print Friendly Map
Upgrade Now

Loma Prieta Grade Trail Description

This extremely scenic rail-trail is located in the majestic Forest of Nisene Marks State Park near Aptos, California. The park was the site of major logging operations by the Loma Prieta Lumber Company from 1883 until 1923. In the 1950s, Herman, Agnes and Andrew Marks purchased about 9,700 acres of this land, thinking the area to be rich in oil. When exploration did not produce oil, the Marks family deeded the property in 1963 to the state in honor of their mother, Nisene Marks. The deed specified that the forest must not be developed, allowing the natural regeneration process to continue. Today Nisene Marks State Park thrives, with 30 miles of hiking trails, several campsites and multiple picnic areas. The evergreens, oaks, bays and madrones that were so extensively logged years ago are now abundant throughout the park.

From the Porter Family Picnic Area, you walk along a paved road for about 0.25 mile to the trailhead for the Loma Prieta Grade Trail. As you turn left onto the trail, you begin ascending into the woods, enjoying views of lovely Bridge Creek, until you reach the Porter House historic site, which was once the home of Warren Porter, former secretary for the Loma Prieta Lumber Company. Continue along the path until you reach a junction with the Bridge Creek Trail. This junction marks the start of a loop trail; you can go either direction from here.

If you veer left, you soon come to Hoffman Historic Site, the remains of a logging camp that operated between 1918 and 1921. You can still see a scattering of ties, cables and trestle timbers here. Beyond the camp you come to an intersection with the Big Stump Gap Trail. Remain on the rail-trail here as it continues north and then makes a sharp right turn. You will pass Bridge Creek Historic Site, another historic logging camp. A short side trail here leads to Maple Falls, one of two waterfalls within Nisene Marks Park.

The main trail continues through the redwoods, following the path of Bridge Creek and descending to rejoin the railroad grade at the Porter House. There are restrooms and water fountains at the parking lot. The trail is shaded, but it's a good idea to bring along plenty of water. Several benches along the walk make inviting places to rest and have lunch. Neither dogs nor bicycles are allowed on the trail.

Parking and Trail Access

From State Route 1 in Aptos take the State Park Drive Exit to Soquel Drive. Turn right (east) on Soquel Drive and continue about 1 mile to the intersection with Aptos Creek Road. Turn left on Aptos Creek Road and go 0.5 mile to the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park entrance station. Continue another 4 miles to the Porter Family Picnic Area parking lot. The signed trailhead is visible from the parking lot.


Trail Events

This trail does not have any events yet.
Be the first to add one!

Add an Event

Nearby Trails

Santa Cruz Riverwalk

California - 3.7 miles

The Santa Cruz Riverwalk Trail follows both sides of the river through downtown Santa Cruz, a California beach town on the shores of Monterey Bay....

San Lorenzo River Parkway Trestle Trail

California - 0.1 miles

The San Lorenzo River Parkway Trestle Trail is the first completed segment of the Coastal Rail Trail, which will eventually run 32 miles from...

West Cliff Drive Bicycle Path

California - 3.4 miles

The West Cliff Drive Bicycle Path is just over 3 miles long, but, with its gorgeous backdrop of ocean waves and dramatic cliffs, you'll wish it was...


Great Meadow Bike Path

California - 1.5 miles

The Great Meadow Bike Path provides an important 1.5-mile transportation route from the main entrance of the University of California at Santa Cruz to...

Upper Struve Slough Trail

California - 2.5 miles

The Upper Struve Slough Trail is part of a network of trails running through Watsonville's wetlands, offering a natural, outdoor experience and...

Ohlone Loop Trail

California - 3 miles

The Ohlone Loop Trail offers a birder's paradise in a wetland area of Watsonville on California's central coast. Its location, bordering a residential...

Watsonville Slough Trail

California - 2.8 miles

The Watsonville Slough Trail follows its namesake waterway through a residential area of the city. It's part of a system of trails in a wetland area...

Los Alamitos Creek Trail

California - 5.2 miles

The Los Alamitos Creek Trail runs along its namesake creek between McKean Road and Almaden Lake Park, where the trail is also known as the Lake...

Los Gatos Creek Trail

California - 11.2 miles

It is difficult to travel through suburban Santa Clara County for more than a few minutes without noticing an abundance of cyclists and runners in the...

Calero Creek Trail

California - 1.9 miles

The Calero Creek Trail runs between Singer Park and Santa Teresa County Park. The trail is paved between Los Alamitos Creek and Harry Road (0.7 mile)...

Guadalupe River Trail

California - 12.5 miles

The Guadalupe River Trail is the spine of San Jose's growing trail network, running north-south through much of the city. Portions of the trail run...

Albertson Parkway

California - 0.5 miles

The Albertson Parkway is located in South San Jose, just steps away from the sprawling Santa Teresa County Park, which features preserved land and...

Download the TrailLink mobile app and take TrailLink with you!
Support TrailLink and the Trails You Love in 2020!
Get a FREE guidebook when you join Rails-to-Trails Conservancy!

Explore by City

Explore by City

Explore by Activity

Explore by Activity

Log in to your account to:

  • View trail paths on the map
  • Save trails to your account
  • Add trails, edit descriptions
  • Share photos
  • Add reviews

Log in with Google


Register for free!

Join TrailLink (a non-profit) to view more than 30,000 miles of trail maps and more!

Register with Google