Are you trying to find a fun way to avoid the heat this summer? Look no further than the top waterfall hikes in Southern California. Southern California has some of the most scenic hiking paths in the nation, with everything from the Santa Monica Mountains’ breathtaking natural splendor to the San Gabriel Mountains’ untamed landscape.

These excursions offer a welcome break from the bustle of city life thanks to their gushing waterfalls, clear streams, and lush vegetation. There is a trail for everyone, whether you are an expert hiker or just getting started. Be ready to experience some of Southern California’s most breathtaking natural treasures!

Read Also: BEST HIKES IN SCOTTSDALE: 10 Best Hiking Trails 2023

#1. Escondido Falls

Image source: Modern Hiker

This is one of the most amazing waterfall hikes in Southern California. Escondido Falls is a picturesque path close to Malibu, California, that offers hikers running creeks, plenty of animals, and the largest waterfall in Santa Monica. This trail is 3.7 miles long, and it can be hiked in 90 to 120 minutes. The waterfall that hikers encounter at the trail’s finish is around 150 feet tall and offers some of Southern California’s most beautiful scenery.

Dogs are permitted, but please make sure they are on a leash when hiking. A well-liked spot for birdwatching and mountain biking is Escondido Falls. Escondido Beach is directly across from the trailhead.

#2. Eaton Canyon Falls

Image source: Tanama Tales

There aren’t many year-round waterfalls in the Greater Los Angeles region. But, even in years that were exceptionally dry, we could rely on this reliable performer. In addition to being dependable, we also discovered that getting to this waterfall was not too difficult.

Granted, the route might be a little packed and crowded, and it seems like there is a never-ending battle to control the graffiti issue here. But you have to take the good with the bad since this waterfall is as close to an urban waterfall as you can find in Los Angeles, and it’s free.

#3. Cedar Creek Falls

Image source: Queensland, Australia

Make sure you have enough water with you before beginning the hike to Cedar Creek Falls because the trek can be very strenuous in the heat. This trail will be exhausting because it is around five miles round trip and extremely hot. You’ll immediately realize, though, that the effort on the walk was completely worthwhile once you arrive at the waterfall. Beginning at the trailhead near Ramona, California (92065), at 15519 Thornbush Rd., you can travel to Cedar Creek Falls.

#4. Ortega Falls

Image source: Tripadvisor

An exposed waterfall, huge canyons, sheer rock walls, and other natural elements can be found on the lovely but not particularly long Ortega Falls hiking trail in Southern California. This hike is the shortest on this list because the actual trail is only 0.25 miles long. A sizable pool of water lies beneath the waterfall, which is around 200 feet high. Any time of the year is suitable for seeing this waterfall.

It can appear challenging to reach the trailhead if you choose to hike this trail at first. To reach the turnout, travel north on Ortega Highway to the intersection. This region is located two miles south of the El Cariso Visitor Center and about 1.5 miles north of the Ortega Oaks Candy Shop. The trailhead is roughly 12 miles to the east if you’re coming from Lake Elsinore’s 15 Freeway.

#5. Paradise Falls

Image source: Tripadvisor

Thank goodness you don’t have to fly to South America to see this waterfall. All it takes is a brief drive in the direction of Thousand Oaks to reach Wildwood Canyon’s 40-foot waterfall, which is surrounded by residential areas.

This waterfall was our first local waterfall together, so Julie and I both have fond memories of it. But putting feelings aside, we also came across a cave from the Native American culture, a picnic place under a teepee, and some fascinating rock formations. These kinds of locations serve as a reminder of how varied and unexpected the nature of the Greater Los Angeles area can be. We, therefore, have no problem listing these falls among our local favorites.

Read Also: SOUTH AMERICA HIKING: Best 15 Trails Tour

#6. Millard Falls

Image source: Nobody Hikes in LA

Are you looking for all-ages, family-friendly waterfall hikes in Southern California? Next, proceed to the Millard Canyon Falls trailhead in the Angeles National Forest, which is located at 4041 Chaney Trail in Altadena, California, 91001. You can discover a quick and simple hike that is under two miles overall. This is a place the whole family will enjoy because of the stunning surroundings and the cool waterfall.

#7. Big Falls

Image source: My Hikes

This waterfall is supposedly the tallest year-round waterfall in Southern California. This waterfall is unique in this generally arid region simply because it is year-round. We have made a point of visiting this waterfall multiple times due to its height and velocity, though.

While we had to work for some of the waterfall’s hidden levels, you don’t have to put yourself through that much bother to notice the majority of its lovely features. And we’ve seen a lot of people using this waterfall to unwind and enjoy a picnic next to its sparkling stream.

#8. Bonita Falls

best hikes in Southern California waterfalls
Image source: TripAdvisor

In San Bernardino County, next to Lytle Creek, is a place called Bonita Falls that is very well-liked. There are open, short-distance pathways throughout the trek, as well as vast fields. Remember that the trail’s second half is a little rocky and can be difficult on a particularly hot day.

The trail is approximately 1.5 miles long, so it is only fairly difficult. The falls you’ll come across near the trail’s finish can reach 450 feet in height, have many drops, and are covered in a lot of trees, making it a shady and welcoming place to unwind. You’ll pass through a number of family-friendly facilities on your hike. Bonita Falls is indeed one of the must-visit waterfall hikes in Southern California.

#9. Burkhart Trail to Cooper Canyon Falls

best hikes in Southern California waterfalls
Image source: Modern Hiker

Another out-and-back trek that is moderately difficult and measures 6.2 miles in length is the Burkhart Trail to Cooper Canyon Falls. A beautiful, moss-covered waterfall and stunning mountain vistas await you at the end of your hike. This 35-foot-tall waterfall is flanked by a pool, big rock formations, and sizable trees.

Although the trail’s route is simple to follow, the terrain can occasionally be difficult, which is why a good pair of hiking boots is strongly advised. You should budget between two and three hours to finish the hike due to the length of the trail. The waterfall at the end of this walk, though, is a nice place to sit and unwind while you get ready for the last portion of your trek.

#10. Lewis Falls

best hikes in Southern California waterfalls
Image source: Lewis Talk

Lewis Falls is also one of the hikes in Southern California waterfalls and a moderately difficult trek with a 360-foot elevation gain. You should bring some sturdy hiking footwear with you since this trek will take place on somewhat rocky ground.

You will be able to see the high-altitude region’s stunning scenery and colorful native animals as you go. A 50-foot-tall waterfall at the end of the 1.1-mile trek is quite steep. The short length of this trail indicates that you should be able to finish your trip in between 45 minutes and an hour, despite the terrain’s potential for difficulty.

What Is the Highest Waterfall in LA?

A trail through mature areas of mixed pine and hardwoods is the Rock Falls Trail. The waterfall on this route, which is estimated to be the highest waterfall in Louisiana, is close to 17 feet tall.

What Trail Leads to Hidden Falls in California?

A 10-minute drive from Auburn, the 3.2-mile Hidden Falls Trail is part of Hidden Falls Regional Park. First of all, the route there is lovely. The park is located along the picturesque Placer Wine Trail, which meanders across a section of the foothills.

What Is the Deadliest Hike?

Mount Ranier in Washington State is the most dangerous walk in America. Almost 400 people have died as a result. Mount Ranier is anything but a “walk in the park,” with its swift and drastic weather changes, avalanches, rockfalls, and unpredictable volcano. Together with fractured bones, drowning, and heat stroke, hypothermia is a frequent occurrence.


Taking a hike is one of the best ways to explore all that Southern California has to offer. With so many wonderful trails and waterfalls, you are sure to find something that will suit your needs. Whether it’s a short jaunt or an all-day adventure, there are plenty of hikes in the area with stunning views and cascading waterfalls. So grab your gear and get out into nature; you won’t be disappointed!

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