Friday, January 29, 2016

Friday Hike Day: {Hidden} Falls Canyon Falls, Trabuco Canyon

Adventure Kids

NO restrooms. Dirt access road is extremely rough, full of potholes. I thought I was going to blow a tire. Great for a jeep! This trail is *hidden*! There was a post floating around facebook advertising this trail. It sounded easy enough. The directions were very confusing causing much frustration. The falls look beautiful in these pictures, it's true. However, there is a TON of poison oak all along the trail. I was so stressed that someone was going to fall into it or somehow we were going to get it. You HAD to walk near it, next to it and over it-no avoiding it.

Little Prince

The initial directions instructed to look for the tree with a marker ribbon on it to find the trail....there were at least 3 trees with ribbons and the actual tree at the trail no longer had a ribbon. 

The making of the band.
Adventure Moms

From the tree, it is a very slippery slope down to the creek. Cross over the creek via log and head straight into the canyon. There is an opening to the canyon, so from the creek you keep heading straight and then a slight left. 

Looking for Frogs
As you enter into the canyon, look to the left and you will see a cave. It's really just a hole in the side of the canyon wall. Keep going and follow the trail.

Succulent growing out of the side of a rock.

The trail requires climbing steep rocks and can be very slippery, like the slope you took before the creek. The trail floor may be covered in leaves deeper than you think, making your footing very unstable. Many of the logs and large branches you come across are soft and brittle, very unsafe to step or stand on. 


The falls are tall and lovely. Vandals have scratched large graffiti into the face of the falls. That is always disappointing. The base of the falls is merely a puddle. It makes it easy to take pictures because you can get close but there is not much water play. 

The Ktbunch
Initially, we entered the trail from teh wrong tree--very confusing. We followed the creek for awhile, among the thick poison oak. It would have been a lovely hike if not for all the poison oak. 

The adventure kids enjoyed coming across small frogs. They caught and held them. The creek bed is lovely with bright green plants growing in the water with algae and moss.

The footing along the trail is so unstable one of our members fell and began to roll and slide down the steep side. She was very scared as there was nothing but flat rock below her. 

Our fallen friend!
*pic credit: T. Belk
There was nothing to grip onto and the leaves were so thick and branches fragile that every move she made caused her to slide further down. We were able to safely get her back to the trail but this could have been disastrous had it been a younger child.

Personally, I DO NOT recommend this trail. Not with current conditions. There are plenty of other beautiful waterfall hikes that are not as treacherous or risky with the poison oak. Hiking is part of my stress relief--it was no fun to feel more stressed instead. Everyone was safe and no one had any permanent or serious injuries but the potential was there, more than usual.

If not for the high poison oak risk, I would have rated this hike higher on the adventure scale. Coincidentally, this hike is right by O'niell Regional Park, where we camped for Thanksgiving! Farther up the road, you will find Holy Jim Falls Trail, which we haven't hiked before.

Enjoy your week.
Start the day outside.

{<---trail examples--->}

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