The Old Growth Loop Trail
begins and ends along Aptos Rancho Trail
. From the north end of the southern parking area, start off on Split Stuff Trail
(described in detail in the Aptos Rancho Trail
description). Almost immediately there is a fork in Split Stuff Trail
where you'll want to go right. Upon reaching Aptos Rancho Trail
, go left. After about 0.1 mile on Aptos Rancho Trail
, the Old Growth Loop Trail
is on the right (west) and is well marked.
Old Growth Loop Trail
starts off in the redwood forest and descends to Aptos Creek, about 0.1 mile from the trailhead. Immediately after crossing Aptos Creek, the trail forks. Go left to go clockwise around this loop, as described here. To go counter-clockwise around this loop, go right at this split.
After going left at the trail fork, Old Growth Loop Trail
climbs gradually through the lush, old-growth redwood forest. Giant, stately redwood trees are everywhere. Soon, about 0.1 miles from the trail fork, The Advocate Tree Spur is reached. This spur goes to Advocate Tree, a huge, 265 foot tall, old-growth redwood that was over 1,000 years old when unfortunately it fell over in the 2017 winter storms. But, very close to it is another giant, dominating, magnificent old-growth redwood that is well worth visiting.
Continuing past Advocate Tree Spur, Old Growth Loop Trail
continues to climb very gradually through the old-growth redwoods, loops around, and comes to a marked junction with Oak Ridge Trail
, followed almost immediately by an unmarked junction with Oak Ridge Trail
Old Growth Trail then soon veers left and comes upon Twisted Grove Trail
. Strange, cockeyed redwoods can be seen on Twisted Grove Trail
. These redwoods were disrupted by the 6.9 magnitude Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, and are trying to correct for their disruption.
After passing Twisted Grove Trail
, Old Growth Loop Trail
circles to the right and comes back to the trail fork near the beginning of this loop trail. Go left here to descend and cross back over Aptos Creek, and then climb to the end of Old Growth Loop Trail
at Aptos Rancho Trail
Giant, stately old-growth redwoods, ferns, and other lush vegetation can be found here.