This is a nice trail that is not too far out of the La/Santa Monica area. A nice drive up the PCH will get you to the parking area for this trail. If you go very soon, you will be lucky enough to see some water actually at this waterfall due to the heavy rains we had a few weeks ago. The first time I did this trail, there was barely any water flowing. Just like all waterfalls and creeks in southern California, you won’t see much water unless there were recent rains.
The trail is set back among some fancy large homes. There is an actual parking area for hikers, but it is right off the PCH and you will have to hike on pavement for about 10 minutes before reaching the real trail. This parking lot will most certainly be full, no matter when you go. I went during the week and was lucky to get a spot but there is a good amount of parking along the sides of the PCH if the lot is crowded.
I have never rode my mountain bike here, but to the best of my knowledge bikes are OK here. I did not notice any signs banning mountain bikers, but I would recommend not riding here. The trail would be fun on a bike, however to get to the upper Falls, you have an uphill climb that would be near impossible and dangerous to try dragging your bike up with you. Which would mean you would have to leave your bike at the lower waterfall up for grabs to anyone else hiking by since there are no places really to lock up securely. I have been here twice and never seen a mountain biker and it is a fairly popular trail so there’s no point to try riding. What is the fun if you have to be stopping at every turn to yield to hikers.!
To get to the parking area, drive north on the PCH from Santa Monica and look for the road Winding Way. you will see the parking area up and on the left. It is about 17.3 miles from Santa Monica. If you hit Kanan Dume Road then you went about 1.5 miles too far.! I have no map made for this trail yet so Google Escondido Falls if you need better directions.
Even if there is little water flowing, this is still a fun trail to hike and a lot of fun to hike up to the upper falls. There is a rope in two sections to help you get up to the falls. Also there are a number of ways to go once you start climbing up. The best way I can describe how to find the right trail is stick towards the left and then you should see a rock with a political scribble saying “Bush Sucks” or something and head up the trail from there.
You will like this trail. It isn’t a strenuous hike, so if that is what you are looking for, I would have to recommend another trail. This hike is accessible for almost anyone, So if you have been trying to get some friends interested in Hiking that have never done it before, this could be a good one to get them out on. They might get a little discouraged about the first 10 minutes having to hike past houses but once you are on the trail, it is very nice.
My Favorite Hiking shoes
Essential Gear for the trail!
Essential Gear for the trail!