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Trabuco Falls

Los Angeles Metro Area, California

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Trabuco Falls

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  • Trabuco Creek Road heading into the canyon.- Trabuco Falls
  • A creek crossing is the best reference point to finding the unsigned trail to the falls. The shoulder for parking lies 0.6 mile past this crossing.- Trabuco Falls
  • The shoulder on the right is the parking area for this hike.- Trabuco Falls
  • There are no signs marking this trail; however, if you look across the creek, you're heading up the canyon visible in the hills.- Trabuco Falls
  • At the edge of the road you can look down and see the footpath.- Trabuco Falls
  • A creek crossing before veering left and finding the bottom of the creek.- Trabuco Falls
  • Once you find the creek running from the falls, just follow the creek up.- Trabuco Falls
  • The trail can be technical, slippery, and muddy in places.- Trabuco Falls
  • Standing at the bottom of Trabuco Falls.- Trabuco Falls
  • Trabuco Falls.- Trabuco Falls
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Scenic falls. Less crowded than other hikes in the area.
Cons: 
Technical hiking. Poison oak.
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Region:
Los Angeles Metro Area, CA
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
210.00 ft (64.01 m)
Parking Pass: 
California Adventure Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring
Total Distance: 
1.20 mi (1.93 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
1,495.00 ft (455.68 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

Trabuco Falls, alternatively known by the names Hidden Falls or Falls Canyon Falls, is easily the more spectacular waterfall of the two that lie along this part Trabuco Canyon—the other being Holy Jim Falls. Since there are no signs to point out the location of the trailhead, the trail to Trabuco Falls generally remains uncrowded even when Holy Jim is packed with hikers.

Although there are no markings, and much of the canyon along Trabuco Creek appears similar, there are a few noteworthy landmarks you can use to find these falls.

Park along a shoulder about 0.6 mile past the gate and concrete roadway, across which a creek flows. From the shoulder, cross the gravel road and walk back in the direction you drove from for about 100 feet. At this point you will look down and see a steep well-traveled slope leading to the creek below. Before dropping down to the creek, look at the hilltops visible across the clearing. Falls Canyon is the visible canyon slightly to the left. This is the canyon that you want to ascend.

Cross the creek and veer left until an obvious streambed proceeds up the canyon and away from Trabuco Creek. Shortly beyond you will see a cave above the streambed. Continue up this streambed for about half a mile. It may be much more of a scramble than a hike; make use of tree roots, downed trees, and dry berms for grip and footing, and be careful of the poison oak that lines the majority of the trail. The canyon becomes increasingly narrow the farther you get.

Eventually, you'll reach the 55-foot Trabuco Falls. Colored mosses and minerals paint the face of the falls. The cool water provides a nice place to dip your feet. Trabuco Falls flows seasonally and can dry up quickly during the warmer months.

A California Forest Adventure Pass is required. Day passes can be purchased at the Trabuco General Store located at 31021 Trabuco Canyon in the city of Trabuco Canyon.

At times of high flow, the road to the trailhead is closed about 0.6 mile before the parking area, forcing visitors to walk the additional distance.

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(3 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(24 within a 30 mile radius)

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