Posts tagged waterfall
Escondido Falls - Malibu, CA

This rainy weather we're experiencing in Southern California right now has inspired me to FINALLY get my post up about our hike to Escondido Falls. I can only imagine after a long weekend of steady rainfall the waterfalls will sure to be flowing!

The hike to Escondido Falls is about 4 miles of fairly easy terrain. The waterfall has three tiers. The lower tier is about 50 feet high and the easiest of the three to reach. The upper tier, which you can imagine is more difficult to reach, is around 150-feet tall. From what I hear, it's incredibly stunning when the water is flowing in full force. Unfortunately, the day we made our journey was after a few weeks of dry weather, so we didn't attempt to climb to the upper falls.

The hike begins with 0.75 miles uphill along Winding Way, a paved road, just off the PCH that is lined with incredible homes Spanish and Mid-century modern style homes. Quite honestly, this was the toughest climb (and least exciting) of the day. Don't let this small part of your trip scare you off - you'll reach the trail in no time and the waterfall, even at low-flow, is well worth it. You'll gain about 200 feet on this paved climb, then the road will begin to head downhill and drop you at a wooded public park entrance.

The dirt path just past the park sign will take you down through a field of fennel and mustard and on into the woods where a small creek flows. Cross over the creek, and make a left turn headed upstream into the canyon. From here on out the trail is fairly level as it wanders through the forest and field. Thanks to our Spring season timing, we were lucky enough to enjoy a trail lined with beautiful wildflowers along the way. You will need to cross the creek bed a few more times, which I'm sure is a bit more daunting after a good rain, but it should still be easy enough terrain for anyone to navigate. 

What I loved most about this hike were all the serene little pockets along the trail you could sneak off to grab a snack or just sit and listen to the creek flow. We popped off the trail to sit by a tiny little waterfall amidst the creek to snacked on some Three Jerk's Jerky and just take it all in.

After you've been on the dirt trail for about a mile the trail will begin to ascend about 150 feet from a low spot below the road and then you will arrive at Lower Escondido Falls! The beauty of these falls without much water is simply stunning, I can only imagine what it is like on a real flowing day. There are lots of large rocks at the base of the falls where you can set up, take it all in or enjoy a little picnic. Some people complain of a natural sulfuric smell, but that isn't something we noticed. For us, the lower tier of the falls was a far as our journey took us.

There were many other hikers setting off to explore the upper falls. There is a steep trail to the right of the falls lined with tree roots and ropes to help guide your way. If you choose to go this route, make sure you have the proper footwear and attire and hike at your own risk! 

When you're done relaxing by the falls, simply follow the trail back the way you came!

How to get there: Take the PCH to Winding Way in Malibu. Winding Way is a small street about 4.5 miles west of Malibu Canyon Road on the north side of the PCH. There is a free parking lot for the trail on the left at the bottom of Winding Way. Overflow parking can be found along the PCH.

Address: 27807 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265

Eaton Canyon Falls - Pasadena, CA

Eaton Canyon is nestled in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, just hop, skip and a jump from Los Angeles, on the north-eastern side of Pasadena and Altadena. There are a number of hiking trails meandering there way through these hills, but the one I particularly want to feature in this post is the trail that leads to Eaton Canyon Falls. 

The magnificent forty-foot falls lie at the top of Eaton Canyon Trail, cascading into a beautiful, vast pool below. In the summertime, while it can be extremely busy, I can imagine this pool would be incredibly refreshing to wade or lie in - you could even pack a picnic and relax amongst the large boulders scattered throughout. The trail to Eaton Canyon Falls is fairly straight forward and can be easily be summed up through about 1 miles of wide flat dirt trail, followed by 0.65 miles of single track, rocky creek bed that makes it's way up the slender canyon that is a whole lot of fun to navigate. In total, this trail is about 3.5 - 4 miles (depending how much exploring you do) out and back with a slight elevation gain of about 580 feet (again this depends on your exploration). 

The hike begins at the Eaton Canyon Nature Center which is situated inside the gates amongst the parking lot. Between the picnic areas, nature center and flat terrain this specific location is a hot spot for dog walkers, baby strollers and families with young children. If you are in search of a serene, quiet experience in nature, I definitely recommend exploring this area on a weekday as opposed to a weekend. We went on a cooler, overcast day in February and still there was rarely a moment that we were alone on the trail or at the falls.

There is a large sign marking the start of the trail, you can't miss it! Follow the trail along a usually dry creek bed, Eaton Wash. You'll find yourself amongst a few shaded areas and some little tree hideouts as you make your way up the trail.

The trail crosses over Eaton Wash after about 0.2 miles into your hike. At this point you will make a left, heading northwest under a canopy of trees. Around 0.55 miles in from your start, you will find yourself at a junction with the Horse Trail (you will notice signs). Continue to the left to stay on the Eaton Canyon Trail. 

At just about the 1.1 mile mark in your hike, you will reach another junction which is just in sight of a concrete bridge up ahead in the distance. Here, head left again following an arrow for the waterfall, and pass below the bridge to enter the San Gabriel Mountains.

Passing under the bridge turns your hike into a whole different experience. Suddenly you will be traversing much more rugged terrain, boulder hopping, and creek crossing as you make your way through the dense canyon. While this section is quite fun, it can also be unassumingly dangerous - make sure you watch your footing and keep an eye out for falling rocks from above the steep walls of the canyon. Eaton Canyon is infamous for it's helicopter rescues due to careless hiking.

After just about 0.6 miles you will find yourself coming upon the falls. You might have to do a bit of scrambling to get up close, but the views are certainly worth it! If you're lucky you might get a moment to yourself at the falls. We were not so lucky, but still happy to be face to face with a flowing waterfall. It's a rare sight these days due to the common droughts, but thankfully, these last few weeks we've had some decent rainfall.

IMG_4751.jpg

While the heavy traffic can be daunting, it's a must see trail nonetheless. With it's close proximity to the city, large parking area, easy to navigate trails and a rewarding ending, you really have no reason NOT to check this trail out!

When you're done taking in the views, simply head back the way you came!

How to get there: Take the Altadena exit off the 210 Freeway in Pasadena. Head north on Altadena Drive. The Eaton Canyon Nature Area is a couple miles up the road on the right. Pull into the park past the gates, and leave your vehicle in the lot by the nature center. WARNING: The parking lot gate closes at 5pm (a little early if you ask me!) so if you plan on hiking past 5pm, make sure you park your car on the outside street and use the trails to get inside.

Address: 1750 North Altadena Drive, Pasadena, CA 91107

Rose Valley Falls - Ojai, CA

Rose Valley Falls is a gorgeous two-tier 300-foot waterfall located just north-east of Ojai on the southern end of the Santa Ynez Mountains in Los Padres National Forest. The hike to the base of Rose Valley falls is relatively quick and easy (about 1 mile round trip with and elevation gain of 150 feet), but the trip up to the camp ground and the beautiful view of the falls after your hike make this a trail one must certainly not miss out on. 

I heard about this hike while on a trip to Ojai, CA - one of my new favorite so-cal weekend get-aways. We were lodging at the Ojai Rancho Inn, an adorably hip little motel just outside the main drag of town, and decided we wanted to venture further out of our comfort zone. We had very little to work from, other than an address, but luckily we popped into this amazing little shop right off Route 33 called Summer Camp

Summer Camp - 1020 W. Ojai Ave. Ojai, CA 

Summer Camp - 1020 W. Ojai Ave. Ojai, CA 

After falling in love with just about every single item inside the shop, we spoke with the owners and mentioned we were headed to hike to the waterfall. Lucky for us, they had been up there just the week before and gave us some great insight on how to get there and what to bring. 

WARNING: If you do not like long, windy, cliffside drives into the mountains, this hike is not for you. The road up to the Rose Valley campgrounds is a little intimidating, but the views are spectacular - especially in spring when the bright yellow wildflowers are in full bloom alongside the roads. 

After about 20-30 minutes of winding through the mountains we took a right on to a road that led us to the Rose Valley Campsite. Once you're here you can simply park along the dirt road and follow the path towards the campgrounds. As you make your way to the back of the camp you'll notice a sign for Rose Valley Falls on the left hand side and a small foot path that meanders off into the woods.

There was so much life teaming along this short path! We even caught a glimpse of a gorgeous Coral Snake slithering it's way up the hillside. We were up there on a Saturday during Memorial Day Weekend, so unfortunately there was some heavy traffic along the path; A lot of families and young groups of campers seemed to have the same idea as we did. 

When we arrived at the base of the waterfall it was pretty crowded, and the flow of water wasn't as heavy as we could have hoped for, but it was incredibly beautiful nonetheless! We were out on a fairly hot day, so it was nice to feel the spray of the falls and dip our feet in the pools. I would assume after a rainfall it's a much better swimming hole. 

How to get there: Take the 101 Freeway towards Ventura and head inland up Route 33 to Ojai. Continue another fifteen miles through Ojai and on into the mountains to the Sespe Road turnoff. There will be a sign for Rose Valley Falls.

Address: Rose Valley Lake RoadLos Padres National ForestOjaiCA 93023

You might (see: definitely) lose cell and/or GPS service as you climb the mountain - but don't worry, there is really only one way up until you reach the Sespe Road turnoff and signs for the campgrounds. 

Create Maps or search from 80 million at MapMyWalk