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Best of Nisene



18.4 mile 29.7 kilometer loop
15% Singletrack


Ascent: 1,810' 552 m
Descent: -1,846' -563 m
High: 1,623' 495 m
Low: 81' 25 m


Avg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 15% (9°)


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A close to town loop offering new options to your Sand Point climb or just a way to have fun in town

Garritt Cusack

Electric Mountain Bikes Allowed

Features -none-

Family Friendly Access to and from would probably be best from Epicenter Cycling in Aptos. However, this ride offers fun short loops with not much climbing and the best part is it's actually open to bikes!

No entering into Old Growth Loop, Oakridge or other hiking trails below Terrace Trail and off of Aptos Rancho Trail.


Great ride right from town and provides good elevation gain over a long distance. Even though Aptos Creek Road is a fire road, it feels more like singletrack as it has narrowed down from mainly bike use. Enjoy the beautiful old growth redwoods as you pedal your way to sand point lookout.

Need to Know

Bring proper gear for changing a tire flat because this loop totals over 14 miles. Also, make sure to bring a good amount of water and food. You'll have amazing views from the overlook on a clear day.


Depending on where you start, you'll head N. on Soquel Avenue until you reach Vienna Drive. Head up Vienna Dr. all the way until you reach Wilshire Ave., take a left and where the roads end into a private drive you'll see signage for Vienna Woods Trail. Drop into Nisene Marks State Park from here.

You'll descend for a little less than a mile before you reach Terrace Trail & Vienna Woods Trail intersection. From here you have options, even though on the State Park map the trail dead ends at the creek, crossings are possible from all trail locations at this time. Anyhow, I prefer to continue on Vienna Woods by taking a left. Almost immediately, Vienna Woods Trail will fork again in which you'll stay LEFT and continue down to the creek where there is an actual Bridge Crossing.

After crossing the creek, you'll be on Aptos Rancho Trail and can either continue up to Georges Picnic Area and Sand Point Overlook or you can head right and back down Aptos Rancho Trail into town for a shorter ride. All of these options are going to be easy aerobically with no technical riding except for a few redwood roots crossing the trail.

History & Background

Old logging road used back in the 19th century for hauling out California coastal redwood.


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May 17, 2020
James Reavis
Amazing ride even in the rain. Got covered in mud! 16.8mi — 2h 11m
Mar 7, 2020
Paul Cowan
Decent fire road out n back. Santa Cruz mountains are always a fantastic environment to ride. 13.2mi — 1h 09m
Sep 26, 2019
Marlena Sobel
From ranger station. Not including breaks. 16.3mi — 2h 40m
Jul 29, 2019
Jip Voshol
Jun 30, 2019
Vince Espo
Jun 30, 2019
Matthias Ikeda
Dec 28, 2018
Salman Karbasi
Aug 12, 2018
John Brainard
Stuck to the access road from Epicenter Bikes to Top of the Incline. 10mi

Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 16 votes


  4.2 from 16 votes
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270 Views Last Month
11,795 Since Sep 30, 2015



About 1 mile into the trail. Just got off the paved road and now this is the fire-road. Harder singletrack running parallel.
Sep 23, 2016 near Aptos, CA
Big redwood trees in the Forest of Nisene Marks
Jul 1, 2015 near Aptos, CA
Sand Point Overlook
Jul 1, 2015 near Day Valley, CA

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