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Old-Growth Loop

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1.5 miles
This manageable, if not at all flat, loop is accessible from the main Nisene Marks entrance kiosk. Located in the 25-acre area known as Marcel’s Forest, the trail passes through ancient redwoods, including “The Advocate Tree,” at more than 1,000 years old and 260 feet tall one of the oldest and biggest trees in the park. This trail also includes a short spur to the “Twisted Grove” (pictured), where the redwoods are growing in an unusually groovy way—some believe the phenomenon has to do with strange magnetic fields inside the park. (Whatever, hippies...) You can find a mountain of great information about these redwoods at this Advocates of Forest of Nisene Marks page.

Read about a rainy day stroll through the Old Growth Loop.

Behind the kiosk and restrooms at the first parking area, join the Split Stuff Trail and turn right; very shortly after that you'll take the Aptos Rancho Trail toward the Old Growth Loop. Follow the trail a short distance (maybe 1/4 of a mile), then turn right at the sign to the Pourroy Picnic Area (you'll now be on the stick part of the Old Growth Loop lollipop, though the lettering is small). Follow Old Growth Loop down (1/4-/1/2 mile) toward a seasonal bridge that crosses Aptos Creek. From the picnic area you can head either left or right on the Loop; just be advised that the Twisted Grove is on a short spur off the Old Growth Loop, though the signage is not clear. If you continue on the trail past the Twisted Grove you'll find yourself on Oak Ridge Trail and somewhat confused.

NOTE: The seasonal bridge across Aptos Creek is taken down each year for the rainy season, so access is limited in winter. In dry years you can probably cross the creek; also, a large log offers a way across if you're brave enough to walk across it or not too proud to sit down and scoot (but you didn't read that here).

—Maria Grusauskas

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Return to the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park page.

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