Thanks in part to its proximity to Los Angeles and in part to the beauty of this towering 500-foot cascade, the area around Big Falls sees an impressive amount of traffic. Even still, if you are in the area, it’s well worth the 0.8-mile, relatively flat jaunt.
The peak time to venture to see Big Falls is between late winter to mid-summer. The enduring drought has further diminished flows in these falls, especially later in the season. Even so, watching water twist and tumble its way through towering granite slot canyons before careening to the forest floor is a marvel. Even though it is difficult to get a perfect view of the falls, it’s highly advised that you heed the San Bernardino National Forest signage—there can be hefty fines awaiting those who choose to disregard the notices. Per Forest Order 05-12-53-15-04, the area north of the overlook and north of the railing is closed to human entry due to extremely dangerous conditions, primarily from common falling rock and debris.
The San Bernardino National Forest is a haven for an extensive number of animal and plant species. Black bears, California mule deer, big horn sheep, and mountain lions are among the largest of the animals found among the San Bernardino Mountains, while Stellar’s jays, scrub jays, black crows, woodpeckers, towhees, chickadees, and juncos occupy the sky.
As for San Bernardino flora, black oak, creek dogwood, chokecherry, Rocky Mountain maple, white alder, black cottonwood, and pine trees provide shade and comprise a vibrant color palette during the fall. Note that poison oak grows prolifically within this climate and represents yet another reason why it’s wise to stick to the trail and heed signage.