Trail

Santa Ynez Canyon Falls

Pacific Palisades, CA
Length: 2.20 mi.
Type: Out & Back

About This Trail

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This is a year round hike, but if you enjoy your waterfall with water in it, the best time to go is in the spring after several large rainstorms. The photos included in this post are from winter.

The trail starts just before the gate for a gated community. After walking down a set of steps, you quickly enter a forested area. There are many places where you cross the stream bed, though most of them were dry. The first section of trail was clearly marked and easy to follow, including a short side trip to a shallow cave. At the first turnoff (clearly marked), the trail starts to deteriorate and become overgrown. There is also a sign advising the end of trail maintenance. The trail itself is still fairly easy to follow at this point. When you encounter the next trail sign, the trail completely disappears and you will follow the creek bed. This requires more navigation skills over rocks and obstacles. I found it easier to stay in the creek bed (especially carrying my 3 year old), but this may not be possible with high water. After about 5-6 creek crossings, you will encounter the waterfall. It was a bit underwhelming in low water (it’s maybe 7 feet tall), but I’m sure much better during high water. If you have older kids or are feeling more adventurous, you can climb above the first waterfall into a slot canyon-like area with more climbing and bigger falls. Unfortunately we weren’t able to venture further since I didn’t have another adult to help my daughter navigate the climbing.

Beware of poison oak along the trail.

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Trail Features

Seasons Spring
Surface type Dirt
Elevation gain 250 ft.
Carrier needed Yes
Stroller friendly No
ADA accessible No
Water fountains No
Bathrooms No
Cell reception Spotty
Pet friendly No
Nearby convenience store Yes
Camping Nearby No
Emergency support
within 5 miles
Yes

Trail highlights

Creek / River, Mud Puddles, Shaded Hike, and Waterfall

Follow a wandering trail into the wilderness. Includes a rock hop across a stream bed, a shallow cave, stream crossings, and optional adventure closer to the waterfall.

Fee & Parking Details

Fee : $0.00

Free parking alongside the road on Vereda de la Montura.

Trail Contributor

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My name is Nicole Dominick, and I’ve been hiking with Hike it Baby since May 2016 with my daughter. She is now 3 years old and has hiked over 400 miles! She has been carried for most of those miles, but we enjoy every journey. We were both born and raised in Southern CA but recently moved to Colorado Springs, CO.

Parking

Trail Head

Weather

Trail Map

Getting There

From Santa Monica, take Pacific Coast Hwy northbound to Sunset Blvd. Turn right, and left onto Palisades Drive. Follow the road up the canyon, turn left on Vereda de la Montura.