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Santa Ynez Falls

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Waterfall, dense woods, grassy knolls, mountain views
Near:Topanga, CA
Distance:6 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:1000 ft
Hike Time:3 hours
Trail Condition:OK, but a few difficult spots
HikeType:Out and Back

Summary: This is a great hike into the dense and somewhat wild Santa Ynez Canyon. Just as you begin to descend the Santa Ynez trail, look to the left at a grassy knoll. Its not unusual to see deer feeding. A little further down the trail are some neat sandstone formations you can climb up on for a dramatic view of the mountains and ocean.

The last couple of hundred yards to the waterfall requires some climbing over boulders and one large slippery boulder has a rope to help you over. Once at the waterfall, the brave of heart can climb up a step face, with the assistance of a rope left in place, to get to the top of the falls. The shear walls of the deep cut canyon are quite spectacular.

Trailhead: From Topanga Canyon Boulevard, turn east on Entrada Road; that's to the left if you are coming from the San Fernando Valley. Follow Entrada Road by turning left at every opportunity until you arrive at Topanga State Park. The trailhead is at the end of the parking lot. (Lat:34.0928 Lon:-118.58707)
Trail Guides for Santa Ynez Falls:
Hiking in Topanga State Park
by Milt McAuley  (Canyon Publishing)

Afoot & Afield In Los Angeles
by Jerry Schad  (Wilderness Press)

Day Hikers Guide to Southern California
by John McKinney  (Olympus Press)

Best Seasons: Fall, Winter, Spring
User Groups: Hikers, Horses
Ranger Contact: California State Parks, (818) 880-0350
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Jim Zuber, who has posted  104 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews  Page 1 of 10   Submit your own review
Reviewed by Kiran C on 2/10/2014
Did this hike today with my 8 year old and a friend with his 7 year old , weather was nice and overcast (not great for photography). We took the route from Topanga state park(Entrada)and this whole trip was 7 miles per our smart phone... nice trail, very tough though as we are going downhill to start and the way back uphill after walking for 3-4 miles takes a toll. However we did thid whole thing in 4 hrs with breaks and photographs. No water in the fall which did not go well with the kids. Saw deers!!!

Reviewed by Samantha on 7/28/2012
On this past Thursday, my Hiking partner & I, went to the Santa Ynez Falls, at this time of year, was more of a “Trickle” LOL. The Creek beds were dry, the Falls only a trickle…. But WOW, the “Walk” along into the park was Beautiful, lush Green, peaceful, a real forest feeling. We heard Owls in the Trees, it was pretty cool. As we went along the Santa Ynez trail, we took a sharp Right and went UP hill for a while, it was so green & the day was very warm. Coming off the trail, we took another Right much later & went UP to the Eagle Rock…. Now that was so Cool! I climbed up the Boulder’s face and found a few “Caves”…. I sat inside one cave having my lunch, a P&J, looking outside to the mountains in front of me I was just beautiful .

Reviewed by Matti on 5/29/2011
Awesome canyon, TONS of poison oak, know what it looks like before even thinking about going here. At places, it's overgrown on both sides of the trail and basically unavoidable. Still good flow at the falls, fun slippery boulder hopping at the ends. Saw some snakes (California King, Ring-Necked).

Reviewed by Lindsey on 5/19/2011
The entire hike was gorgeous, it was a great workout both ways, I did see several deer, and there were very few people on the trail. I'll definitely hike it again! HOWEVER- it was not at all easy to find!! I advise you make note of these directions: from the second wooden trail marker with the number '14' on it (there are two, one after the other), go left. From there you won't see any more numbered wooden posts, but you will come to a broken wooden post with no remnants of any paint on it. When you get to it, go right. You'll eventually come to a re-assuring sign that says something like "waterfall trail unmaintained from here," and there's a creek after that which leads you up (not down) to the waterfall.

Reviewed by CL on 11/6/2010
Went out a few weeks ago and saw a ton of deer. They seemed very used to people as we were not less than 30 yards away from a whole family of them. The 'waterfall' is only slightly damp now and the creek is full of stagnant water. Bee hives all along the way. Great hike when the water is flowing strong though.

Reviewed by Seth on 8/2/2010
Hiked this in the afternoon of 8/1 and had a blast. We came across a huge tunnel filled with beautiful graffiti that gets you under a piece of Palisades that juts into the park. Make noises in the center of this tunnel to hear them resonate loudly. We then followed the creek for the majority of the distance. Where the creek was impassible we hopped up to the right of the shore to follow the overgrown paths. Stay close to the creek to avoid poison oak! Eventually the creek turned into a deeper and deeper canyon. Right before you hit the falls there are bees on the canyon wall to the right of the path. They didn't bother us. When we got to the falls around sunset the fading light was bringing out beautiful colors in the canyon's rock walls

Reviewed by TPatel on 7/10/2010
We began this hike at around 8:30 a.m. this morning from the parking lot in the Topanga Canyon State Park. The trail is mostly clearly marked. On the way we found out from other hikers that the waterfall access is closed from the forest area. We went down the mountain to the forest and back and finished the hike in about 2.5 hours. The climb gave us a very good work out and the wild flowers and views are quite beautiful right now. Overall, it was a very good hike and great to do in the morning when there are fewer hikers.

Reviewed by Dr of Pt: hiker on 4/28/2010
Alert: i have treated multiple patients who have recently ventured this gorgeous trail. Diagnosis: POISON OAK red itchy rash that leads to vescilces/ small fluid filled blisters. Please wear long pants and sleeves on this trail. ALOT OF OVERGROWN POISON OAK! an itch that you will not forget. Usually found among oak trees, poison oak has leaves in groups of three, with waxy surfaces and prominent veins.

Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
Keys: California Hiking, California Trails, California Hikes, Los Angeles County Hiking, Los Angeles County Trails, Los Angeles County Hikes

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