Thursday, July 28, 2011

Falls Canyon Falls- Near Holy Jim Falls

Climate:
Falls Canyon Falls is usually nice all year, even in the dry seasons. The falls are viewed in the early spring or during the rainy season but beware, the creek can rise suddenly and become too swift for a safe crossing even in a vehicle. Beware of Poison Oak! Always make sure to check weather conditions before you head out.

Location:
Falls Canyon Falls is located in Cleveland National Forest in Trabuco Canyon, CA. From the 5 freeway exit El Toro (if you are coming from the north then you will exit El Toro rd. at the first light make a left then make a left onto El Toro rd. if you are coming from the south you will exit El Toro rd and make a right at the light) Fallow El Toro till you come to a fork in the road you will see a biker bar called Cook Corner (great for a cold drink after a hike!) Fallow the road to the right on Live Oak Canyon rd. eventually turning into Trabuco Canyon rd. Keep a look out for Trabuco General Store it will be on your left side; this is where you can buy the day passes. Continue down the road a very short way till you pass over a bridge and on your left will be a large dirt parking area you can park there or drive in further.

Hours:
Sunrise to sunset

Entrace Fee:
A National Forest Adventure Pass is required to park. They can be found at the Trabuco General Store that you will pass on the way there. 1 day passes are $5, 1 year passes valid for Angeles, Los Padres and Cleveland national forests for $30. You can find a place near you to buy the passes http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/sanbernardino/ap/vendors.php or buy an annual pass online here http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/sanbernardino/ap/pass-options.shtml I parked at the first parking area just off the paved road there are parking areas along the way eventually coming to the parking area for the trailhead WARNING! Small cars are allowed to drive on the dirt road and I have seen many people drive it but keep in mind the road is not paved and becomes very hard to manage in a small car NOT impossible just very hard!

Difficulty:
Moderate/ Hard - See 'Jessie's Thought on why

Trails:
Falls Canyon Falls - 4.5 miles one way
Holy Jim falls- (once at the trailhead) 2.8 miles round trip, from the first dirt patch (right off the paved road) 5 miles to the trail head

Jessie's Thoughts:
This waterfall in my opinion is the better of the two waterfalls that are in this area ( Holy Jim Falls is the other one). The drop is longer, the hike is shorter, and the trail less traveled. Starting from the dirt clearing by the paved road, take the dirt road 3.5 miles. We parked 3 miles in at the first time the creek crosses over the road and walked the half mile. We decided at this point to fallow the creek because we were not to sure where the turn off was and unless you know where it is you can't see it from the road. What you are looking for is a tributary; a stream or river that flows into a main stream, river, or a lake.  Once you have found this fallow it upstream a mile; you can't miss the waterfall. The trail or lack there of is somewhat difficult with several stream crossings and climbing over and under trees and huge boulders. Pay very close attention to where you are going as the trail in most parts is not visible and poison oak is everywhere. After everyone in my group fell at least once, one boy almost falling down the hill onto rocks and water cutting himself in the process but other than that no major injuries, we made it to Falls Canyon Falls a 40ft waterfall with a small pool at the base. There is no swimming at the falls as the water is only knee deep but there are plenty of opportunities along the main road to find a swimming whole. I recommend this trail to anyone wanting a different adventure than what they are used to. We had 2 young boys in my hiking group and other than falling they made it out alive and walking so great for families with older kids.

Map:

View Jessie's Trails in a larger map

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