Friday, September 18, 2015

Friday Hike Day: Bonita Falls, Lytle Creek

Majority/start of the trail is this rocky canyon.
I have to admit I was skeptical about this hike. I don't know why. Maybe because I hadn't done any research on it or planned ahead in any way. My hiking BFF found and suggested it.

Parking does require a $5 a day Adventure Pass. There are two porta-potties at the parking area. There aren't really any signs indicating this hike or of a trail or falls.

Google maps led us to a campground and a person there directed us to the parking area right before the campground. This is important to know as you drive up to it, due to the lack of signage.

From the parking lot, which looks more like a gravel turn off, you walk down the slight cliff toward the water/creek bed area. It's a refreshing spot if you don't want to trek to the falls.

There are shade trees and the stream heads toward the left. However, to get to the falls, you must pass that the creek bed and go beyond, in the direction of the canyon.

It will feel like it's  along hike but it's not. The first half is traversing the rocks you see in this first picture. Use caution, a sprained ankle is a real concern. We were all fine. It's full sun but depending on the time of day, you may get a little shade if you stay up close to the hillside on the left. 

Second tallest falls in Southern California.
The complete hike takes about 30 minutes or so to reach the falls. Along the rocky terrain there are NO indicators of a trail or where you are going. Don't give up, keep going. Stay next to the hillside, to the left. It will eventually curve into a woodsy area. You can hear water and see parts of the stream at points, keep going!

You will come upon a few small water falls. Don't be fooled. KEEP GOING! There is some shade. Again, it can be tricky due to the lack of signage. It feels counter-intuitive to keep going and not turn back.

We kept thinking maybe we had reached it...until we actually DID! We all let out a spontaneous gasp of amazement and joy when we found it because it's that spectacular. The pix do not do it justice, sadly.

The falls are so tall, I could not fit it fully in my camera phone frame. The only sad part, was all.the.graffiti. We've seen trash and graffiti at another hikes but this one is tops. It's really shameful how much graffiti there is. It's hard to even get a pic of the falls with out graffiti in it.

A lot of trash too. The falls more than make up for it with it's beauty. It's absolutely breath taking. I rate it moderate because it's not that long but the rocky terrain is tiresome and slip and fall potential is real.
View looking down into the shallow and cold swimming hole.

Hiking during the summer months means water levels are low. The rocky canyon was dry but during winter months, be prepared for possibly more water. The trail is hard to see and sometimes non-existent along the woodsy area. You must go around large boulders at times. 

The falls empties into a shallow pool. It was up to our knees. My friend and I went in with out shoes because there was so much broken glass around the area, we didn't want to take the risk. The boys later went in barefoot and were fine.

The water was cold but being summer, it felt ok. The atmosphere at the base of the falls was a mix of cool breezes and hot air. Very interesting.

We sat and ate our lunch on the rocks. The younger kids enjoyed splashing in the small and ankle deep swimming hole below this one.

The older kids rated it high on the adventure scale due to it's beauty. We saw a few squirrels and lizards along the rocky canyon area.

A little one in a hiking back pack or carrier could work but I think it goes with out saying that this is no place for a stroller.

This is definitely one of our favorites now. It's popular though. We went on a Friday and there were plenty of visitors. I can't imagine how busy it may be on a weekend...if you can find it, that is. 

Of course we had to get in.
Water was COLD but refreshing.

Our Adventure Kids.

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