West Ridge Trail
starts along Aptos Creek Road in Forest of Nisene Marks State Park. The trailhead is well marked.
From its trailhead in the redwood forest, West Ridge Trail
follows a small creek upstream. Here the trail is in the bottom of the densely forested, steep sided creek valley. About 0.5 miles from the trailhead, the trail does a U-turn and begins to climb the forested hillside, to get to a ridge top. At the 0.7-mile mark, the trail has reached the ridge top, does another U-turn, and follows this ridgetop north-northwest, through the mixed redwood forest. Here on the ridge top, in addition to redwoods, there are oaks, firs, and other vegetation.
The ridge and trail climb gradually as the ridge joins other ridges in the mixed redwood forest. At the 2.8-mile mark, there is an unmarked trail junction. Stay to the right here to continue on West Ridge Trail
. Going left takes one to the 6-Mile Trail Loop.
At the 3.7-mile mark, West Ridge Trail
veers right (east) and soon passes a trail junction with Ridge Connection Trail
on the right. Go straight here to continue on West Ridge Trail
. Then, at the 4.2-mile mark, West Ridge Trail
veers left (north) and passes Big Stump Gap Trail
on the right. Continuing through the mixed redwood forest, West Ridge Trail
soon veers right (east-northeast) again.
Then at about the 4.5-mile mark, the trees get smaller and begin to thin. From here for about another mile to the end of West Ridge Trail
, the hillside to the right of the trail drops off steeply. There are GREAT! views out to the Pacific Ocean, over the lower redwood forested ridges to the right of the trail.
West Ridge Trail
ends at Hinckley Road
, after traveling 5.7 miles.
Redwoods, firs, oaks, some manzanita, ferns, and other vegetation.