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.