You’re stuck inside your office, in your living room on Zoom with a friend, or in your car on your commute; other than your outdoor COVID dining experience, how often do you get to be outside in nature? Even before the pandemic, our modern culture has been becoming more and more detached from nature, and more and more stressed out. 

Fortunately, we live in Santa Cruz, between the ocean and the mountains, and there is no shortage of beauty here. The Forest of Nisene Marks in Aptos has 30 miles of trails, both by the fire road and deeper into the woods for more seclusion. Four of the trails you can walk or cycle are:

  1. Aptos Creek Fire Road

This is an unpaved fire road open to both hikers and cyclists. It is flat and easy. At 1.5 miles in, you’ll reach the steel bridge, but the road continues up to the Summit and climbs more than 2,000 feet in elevation! 

  1. Buggy Trail

At George’s Picnic area, this trail is only 1 mile round trip with 100 feet of elevation. This is a hiking only trail.

  1. Aptos Rancho Trail

Open to bikes and hikers this trail by the entrance, this takes you along the creek and toward the steel bridge, easy to moderate in difficulty. 

  1. Old Growth Trail

This is a hiking only trail with moderate difficulty. 2.2 miles round trip.