Nojoqui Falls, pronounced NAW-ho-wee and named after the Chumash village of Naxuwi that once existed near the falls, is an 80-foot waterfall nestled a short hike into the woods in a county park between Santa Barbara and Solvang, California.
Beginning in the spacious Nojoqui Falls Park, the easy trail to the falls climbs about 125 feet over the course of its 0.4-mile length. Beginning beneath a wide shady oak grove, the trail follows a wide path, passing benches and running along Nojoqui Creek. A couple of wooden footbridges and sections of stone stairs break up the dirt trail as the canyon slowly becomes more narrow.
In the past, the meadows north of what today is the county park served as a relay station for stagecoaches passing along the steep Nojoqui grade. Later, when Southern Pacific laid its rails along this stagecoach route, there was hope that the waterfall would become a popular tourist attraction. The rails, however, were constructed along a coastal route, and the commercialization of Nojoqui Falls on a large scale never came to be.
Today, the falls flow seasonally and are fed by rain and a natural spring. The spring months and the days following a storm are the ideal times to see the falls at high flow. Nojoqui Falls typically slow to a trickle during the dry months.
Unlike typical falls that erode the rock and soil of the creek bed, the creek deposits travertine, a calcareous mineral, down the face of the rock as the water flows, slowly building the falls outward as time goes on.
Dogs are allowed on leash, but be aware that there is poison oak along the edges of the trail.
There is no cost to enter the park. Daily park hours are 8 a.m. until sunset. Bathrooms are located just before the trailhead.