10 Best Waterfall Hikes In Orange County, California

waterfall hikes in orange county
Sophie
Sophie
Updated

Situated in Southern California, Orange County is the perfect vacation for family and friends. Orange County has many activities and attractions to offer its guests such as the fun and entertaining Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, the breathtaking Crystal Cove State Park, and the popular Balboa Pier which appeared in a few movies. However, if you are spending your time outdoors and are a hiking enthusiast, Orange County will never cease to amaze you with its fantastic routes and gorgeous views If you are looking for some places to hike, continue reading this article as we recommend the best waterfall hikes in Orange County.

Travel Advisory

Trip101 recommends assessing the risks before hitting the hiking and trekking trails. Please be especially aware of the difficulty levels, the locations’ ground conditions, as well as the seasonal risks.

1. Black Star Canyon Falls

Little River Canyon Falls
Source: Photo by Flickr user Brent Moore used under CC BY 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Need a good leg workout or need some challenges, Black Star Canyon Falls might just be for you. It remains a local’s favourite and is also well-known among locals. The hike is about 7-miles (11.3 kilometres) long and might take about 5 to 6 hours to hike. It would be advised if you can take a day trip to the Black Star Canyon Falls. You will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of some waterfalls. Don’t forget to wear some comfortable hiking gears and clothes. Not to forget, watch out for poison oaks along the way!

Black Star Canyon Falls

Address: 10499, 10967 Black Star Canyon Rd, Silverado, CA 92676, United States

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Nearby options

2. Tahquitz Falls

Tahquitz Falls
Source: Photo by Flickr user Joe Bielawa used under CC BY 2.0

Tahquitz Falls is home to Tahquitz Canyon and is located outside of Orange County and is situated on the skirts of Palm Springs. Furthermore, it is also home to wildlife natives and takes pride in their ancient irrigation system. The hike will take about two hours to travel to the trails by car. The hike is a 2 miles (3.2 kilometres) round trip and it takes about 2 hours. You will need to pay around USD 12 to visit. It will probably be advised to take a day off when you spend your time here in Orange County. Tahquitz Falls is a 60-feet (18.3 metres) waterfall. Along the way, when you are at the entrance of the place, it offers cultural information about Tahquitz.

Tahquitz Falls

Address: Palm Springs, CA 92264, USA

Website: Tahquitz Canyon

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: 12 USD onwards

3. Ortega Falls

Multnomah Falls
Source: Photo by Flickr user Jim Bauer used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Ortega Falls is about 35-feet (10.7 metres) high and the hike is relatively short, a 0.25-mile (0.4 kilometres) trip which makes it great for families with young children or people who are beginning to learn how to hike. Ortega Falls is part of the Santa Ana Mountains. Towards the end, you will be rewarded with a magnificent view of the fall.

Ortega Falls

Address: 33382, 32806 Ortega Hwy, Lake Elsinore, CA 92530, United States

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

4. Andreas Canyon Falls

Tahquitz Falls, Palm Springs, California Aug 2017
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Bobjgalindo used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Andreas Canyon trail is about 1.6 kilometres (about a mile) and is located near Palm Springs. The trail has a range for skill levels from beginners to advance. It will take about half an hour for you to hike around the area before you get to see the falls. Furthermore, you will need to pay about nine dollars to get in. Take a slow hike and take in the breathtaking view of the place and the falls. You will surely not be disappointed!

Andreas Canyon Falls

Address: S Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264, United States

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

5. Tenaja Falls

Tenaja falls 3 san mateo creek
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Seauton used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Tenaja Falls rises to about 150 feet (45.7 metres) and the trail is about 1.6-miles (2.6 kilometres) long. Tenaja Falls is located around Murrieta. What makes it so popular is that it is very near Lake Elsinore. It will be great to make a trip to the falls first followed by visiting the lake. You can make the most out of your hiking trip adventure! Be sure to look out for the large variety of birds.

Tenaja Falls

Address: Forest Rte 7S02, Murrieta, CA 92562, United States

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

6. Chiquito Falls

Burney Falls, California, Waterfall Wonder
Source: Photo by Flickr user moonjazz used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

To visit the Chiquito Falls, you will need to start with the Chiquito Trail. The trail is around 9.1-miles (14.6 kilometres) long and is located near Lake Elsinore. The trail requires an adventure pass which would cost five dollars. The trail is meant for skilled hikers as the trail can be pretty difficult. So if you are up for a challenge, Chiquito might just be that place for you. It is recommended to go and visit the falls during the spring season. Be sure to wear long pants as there might be poison oaks along the way.

Chiquito Falls

Address: Lake Elsinore, CA 92530, United States

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: 5 USD

7. Switzer Falls

Switzer Falls
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Engineerjohn used under CC BY-SA 3.0

A 50-feet (15.24 metres) tall waterfall is a popular place among locals and tourists. The trail is about 4.5 miles (7.2 kilometres) round track and is accessible to all. The trail will take around 2 hours and the hike level is moderate. The place is located in Los Angeles County. The track includes another trail which is the Bear Canyon. The fall is a two-tiered which makes it different compared to the rest of the falls.

Switzer Falls

Address: 701 Angeles Crest Hwy, Tujunga, CA 91042, United States

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

8. Sturtevant Falls

Sturtevant Falls
Source: Photo by Flickr user U.S. Department o... used under CC BY 2.0

If you are up for a bit of challenge, Sturtevant Falls might be suitable for you. The fall is located at Angeles National Forest and the hike is around 3 miles (4.8 kilometres) long. It is very popular among tourists and locals, so take note that there will be some traffic when visiting the fall. Sturtevant Falls will be a perfect place among friends and families. Take a slow hike, breathe in the fresh air and enjoy your surroundings.

Sturtevant Falls

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

9. Paradise Falls

Paradise Falls (Water Splash)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Lukem99 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Paradise Falls is around 40 feet (12 metres) high and the hike is around 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometres) long. The trail is rather easy which makes it perfect for families with young children. Two different trails lead to the falls and when coming back which are Wildwood Canyon Trail and the MoonRidge Trails respectively. Take your time and take in the scenic view when you are on the way to the Falls.

Paradise Falls

Address: 928 West Avenida De Los Arboles, Wildwood Regional Park, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360, United States

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

10. Escondido Falls

Waterfall @Escondido Falls
Source: Photo by Flickr user Monica Nuñez used under CC BY 2.0

Escondido Falls Trail is one of the highest waterfalls in Los Angeles and it is situated in between the Santa Monica Mountains, just right outside of the Orange County. The place is rather popular among tourists. Additionally, the hike is easier compared to others so it will be great for families with young children to go on to this hike. The trail to the falls is about 3.6 miles long and it might take about three to four hours for some people.

Escondido Falls

Address: 27807 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

An adventure awaits

Dana Point a city in southern Orange County CA Photo D Ramey Logan
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Don Ramey Logan used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Orange County has something in store for everyone. You will be rewarded with an amazing view of the waterfall! If you are at an advanced level or just want to have some family bonding time, you will be sure that Orange County offers a variety of trails and treks!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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