Set in the picturesque unincorporated community of Forest Falls in Southern California, Big Falls is the largest waterfall that flows all year round in this corner of the Golden State. This natural wonder is an outdoor must-see that will impress even the most experienced hiker.
Big Falls has received the admiration of many hikers, landing a coveted spot in the World of Waterfalls’ “Top 10 List of Best Southern California Waterfalls”. Since its waters flow throughout the year, you can visit any time you decide to see one of Mother Nature’s best creations.
The upper portion of Big Falls is estimated to be a steep 150- to 200-feet drop. Its crystalline waters flow into the gushing river below. There are several smallerwaterfalls just below the two larger ones , making it seem like Big Falls goes on forever. The drop from top to bottom, overall, is about 500 feet.
Most hikers are unable to see the waterfall in its full glory from a single vantage point since it rushes down to the river in multiple tiers. However, the view of the main tier alone is enough to compensate you for the hike.
The cascading waters of Big Falls can be reached by a one to two-mile hike that starts at the parking lot, takes you across a river, and up to the vantage point. Most visitors come to this part of the falls to relax and have a picnic while admiring its raging waters.
For hikers set on an adventure, they go past the vista point, cross the river several times, and climb sections of the hillside to get to the base of the falls. Uneven climbing and slippery rocks make this journey more challenging. Those embarking on this challenge should be extra cautious and should turn back at once if water levels are higher than usual.
Finding the trail
Some visitors have a difficult time finding the trail. However, the waterfall can be seen to the left while driving to the parking lot, and from various sections of the area. This tip might make it easier to find the trail but if there is high water flow or snow during your trip, it will be more difficult than usual to reach the falls.
Follow the trail to the left, just along Mill Creek, before crossing the water. The crossing is as simple as hopping across rocks but high water levels during the snow melt period in spring might make this a tricky task. In such events, the trail might be closed to the public for safety reasons.
If you do make it across Mill Creek, you’ll have to hike along the rock-lined delta at Falls Creek. From here, you’ll get a spectacular view of the main tier of the falls.
Moving further along, you’ll see a Hazardous Area sign. Past this, the trail will start to narrow as it briefly goes uphill before dropping to an overlook that offers a breathtaking view of the main tier and several smaller sections of waterthat meander through the canyon.
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