Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Holy Jim Falls

Holy Jim Falls is usually nice all year, even in the dry seasons. The falls are best 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.

Holy Jim Falls in located in Cleveland National Forest in Trabuco Canyon, CA. From the 5 freeway exit El Toro Rd. (If you are coming from the north then you will exit El Toro Rd. and when you get to 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 a biker bar called Cooks Corner (great for a cold drink or some food after a hike!) fallow the road to the right on Live Oak Canyon Rd. eventually it will turn into Trabuco Canyon road but you probably wont even notice I didn't. Keep a look out for Trabuco General Store it will be in your left side this is where you can buy the day passes. After you buy your day pass continue down the road a very short way you will pass over a bridge and on your left side will be a large empty area were cars may be parked.

Sunrise to sunset

Entrance 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 here 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!

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
Falls Canyon- 4 miles one way
Beware of poison oak


Jessie's Thoughts:
If you love waterfalls like I do then you will love this hike. If you plan on parking at the entrance and hiking in or if you drive and park all the way up at the trailhead you will have a great time. We parked at the entrance and walked in wondering off the dirt road many times to play in the river and explore. We saw tons of tadpoles, frogs, dragonfly,  and ever a llama wondering around so keep a look out for him!  This is a great hike for the family but I recommend parking up at the trailhead if you are able to because it is a very long walk and we ended up running out of water for the first time ever as we were going to head back from the falls and had to ask for a ride from a wonderful woman and her 2 boys. Swimming is permitted along the trail, we came across many areas deep enough to swim with private little beaches that would be great for a small group to hang out. I recommend water shoes or flip flops for going into the water as there are lots of small rocks that hurt to walk on. The water is Cristal clear and feels great on a hot day so don't be afraid to get in or even just soak your feet. Once on the trail be careful there is poison oak everywhere! I'm surprised I didn't get itchy considering I brushed up against it a few times. When getting near the waterfall the trail does get a bit tricky we had to climb over fallen trees and rocks. This trail was sort of busy when we went but everyone we passed was very nice except for the few people who drove the dirt road and decided to be dangerous and drive very fast with no concern of other passing cars or hikers so PLEASE! be aware of who is coming down the road they may not slow down. Overall this was a great hike and after a hot and sweaty hike there was nothing better than heading back down the paved road to Cook's Corner ( local biker bar) to have a drink with some new friends we made along the trail.


View Jessie's Trails in a larger map


Wow, Jesse! Those are beautiful pictures and it sounds like a great trail to hike! I'd love to join you and Alan sometime to go wandering. Is it legal to swim at the falls? Or not? The water looked deep enough, so I was just wondering.


You can swim the water is very clear and I got in but only to my knees. There are tons of areas along the trails that are deep enough to swim one spot we came across it was deep enough to jump from the rock above into the water!

Alan and I want want to get a bunch of people together and spend the day swimming and hanging out.


Hi new friend:) To Tressie-It was our second time up the trail...we didn't make it the first time cuz we enjoyed the swimming holes a lil too much.lol A couple were even deep enough to jump from the rocks. We made it on the second attempt...even w/playing in most of the pools. Not a hike to take quickly, too much would be missed. Water was real clear & flowing very well in most areas. Do watch for poison oak! I had 2 adventurous 12yr olds w/me & we came out unscathed...tho parts of the trail were covered w/it. I recommend water shoes or strap on sandals, once you hit the Trail-head, for the most enjoyment! Teri

I can't wait to hike this with you - count me in.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts and photos from your hike. It is amazing all of the things that can be experienced on a day hike. I especially like your photos of the frog and waterfalls.

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