Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Black Star Canyon Falls

Date/ Time:
October 3, 2011
Update:  March 12, 2012

Nearby City:
Irvine, Ca

Driving Directions:
Coming from LA take the 5 freeway South to the 22 East freeway. Exit on the left to merge onto the CA-55 North toward Riverside, follow for 0.9 miles and Exit onto East Chapman Ave and follow for 4.1 miles. Continue onto East Santiago Canyon Rd. then in 1 miles continue straight to stay on East Santiago Canyon rd. for 5.4 more miles. Turn left onto Silverado Canyon Rd (no light, but its an odd little intersection you shouldn't have a problem seeing it.) In 0.1 miles turn left onto Black Star Canyon Rd. and follow it till you see a gate blocking the road and park off the road in the dirt on the right. To see exactly where to park on Google maps and get driving directions Click Here

Sunrise to sunset

Hard/ Strenuous

The trail starts off nice, paved for a majority of the trail. Once you take the small easily missed trail down to the creek is where you will slowly start to encounter larger and larger boulders along with huge piles of fallen trees and brush swept downstream by water. This is not for the faint of heart the trail does gets dicey in some areas. I would NOT recommend this for anyone with small/ young children or dogs of any size.

Waterfall Height:

Elevation Gain/Loss:
Total Gain 300ft.

Year around- To see the falls at their best you will need to go after a good rain, keep in mind after it rains the stream may become more difficult to hike.

Entrance Fee:

Cell Service:
T-mobile - I got cell service at the trail head but it was spotty along the trail, most of the time I had no service.
Verizon- Some bars at the trailhead but spotty service along the trail.

Black Star Canyon Falls- 6.6 miles

Trail Condition:
The longest part of the trail (distance) is paved but the part of the trail that will take you the longest (time) is the last 0.8 mile of the trail. Take your time when hiking up stream, the creek bed is strewn with large boulders, fallen trees, poison oak, and bees!

Trail Directions:
From the parking area, pass the gate and head north on the paved road for half a mile.  The trail swings to the right and heads deeper into the canyon, passing by private properties on both sides of the road. The road crosses Black Star Creek three times and soon afterward, at 2.5 miles, you reach a hairpin turn.  Look for a trail on the right, heading downhill into the canyon, toward the creek. There are 3 trails leading in 3 different directions. The first is the main trail continuing past the hair pin turn, the second is the middle trail leading past some concrete cylinders, the third trail (the one you will take) is to the right, going down into the canyon. It doesn't look like a trail but to be fair from this point on you really wont be following a trail. Follow the trail down to the creek and head left, upstream. Remember what this location looks like so you can find it on the way back, we stacked some rocks so we could see it on the way out.  Although it is now only 0.8 miles to the waterfall, this will probably take as long, if not longer, than the time you’ve hiked so far. This isn't a joke, someone had told me this and I thought it was. 

Please take your time and go slow for the rest of this hike.

After half a mile of climbing and scrambling, stay left as another canyon comes in from the right (east).  This brings you to the last–and most challenging–stretch of the hike. Soon after the junction, you arrive at your first major obstacle: a pile of huge boulders, with no easy way up. The best route is to start on the right side of the canyon and work your way diagonally to the left, climbing from one rock to another.  The next challenge is the first of three smaller waterfalls that you’ll encounter in route to the main one.  Just before you arrive at the waterfall, look for a path heading up above it on the right side of the canyon.  It’s loose and steep, but you can grab onto tree roots and rocks to make your way up.  This brings you to a rocky slope, with several smaller waterfalls running along it.  The rocks can be slippery, but this stretch isn’t too tough. Climb up the second waterfall on the left side; soon after you will  arrive at the third waterfall, and by this point you can get your first glimpse of the main waterfall. A steep but negotiable route takes you up the right side of this third small waterfall, and then you reach your destination!

Other Activities:
Mountain Bike (If you can get it past the gate; Easy)
Trail Running

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Trabuco ranger district

Jessie's Thoughts:
I absolutely loved this trail and I can't wait to do it again! The fun part begins once you get off the main trail and start following the stream. This trail will take you hours longer than a different trail of the same distance. You are required to hop, jump, climb, slid, and shimmy up and down everything in your way. I can't think of a better way to spend my Monday then climbing and getting all bruised up. I don't recommend this trail for hikers who are not used to these type of trails where you have to navigate without a trail for hours or hikers with young children or dogs. There is no cell service, do not do this trail alone! It is very dangerous, we were out on the trail all day Monday and didn't pass a soul. So if you are a solo hiker please at least go on a weekend when its busy.


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