Just keep going
By Austin Explorer on 5/14/2016
Distance: 12.87 Miles Duration: 6 hours, 29 minutes
When looking over the map of Nisene Marks the appearance of falls on a trail is a natural magnet for Coppertone. So we intended to drive as far into the park as possible and hike to Maple Falls. Our plan to park at Porter Family Picnic Area was foiled by road damage that required we park by the Steel Bridge instead, adding at least an extra mile to our day.
We hike up Loma Prieta Grade and onto Bridge Creek Trail, which means a relatively steading ascent that's not too bad. We came upon a nice little waterfall on the east side of the canyon and wondered if this was Maple Falls. It didn't seem significant enough for its own marker on the map. A group passed us by and keep going upstream, so we followed.
As the trail continued up Bridge Creek the hiking almost turned into canyoneering. The trail crosses back and forth over the creek seeking out the easiest way forward. Scrambling over boulders, ducking under fallen trees and even balancing on a horizontal trunk were all called for.
And finally, we arrived at what was unquestionably Maple Falls. Far more impressive that the small falls earlier and a clear stopping point as the canyon walls go completely vertical all around.
We took the slightly more circuitous route down Loma Prieta Grade instead of taking Bridge Creek on the way back to our trailhead. We found some of the largest Redwood stumps we'd ever seen here, testiment to the heavy logging that used to take place.
After almost 13 miles of hiking we were ready for a rest and a meal!