- Miles: 0.86 Roundtrip
- Time: 45 minutes Roundtrip
- Difficulty: Easy
- Season: Spring
- Elevation Gain: 214 ft
- Max Elevation: 1676 ft
- Trail Type: Out & Back
- Parking Lot: Turn Out, Fits ≈ 2-3 Cars
- Restrooms? Not Available
- Dogs Allowed? Yes, on a leash
Falls Canyon Falls, a tributary of the well-known Trabuco Canyon and therefore incorrectly referred to as Trabuco Canyon Falls, is a secret waterfall located in Orange County.
This easy hike requires about 3.5 miles of off-roading just to get to the trailhead. A 4×4 vehicle is not required, but high clearance is highly suggested. The hike features an abandoned mine right from the start. Since poison oak and bugs are abundant, long sleeves and pants are recommended. At roughly 50 feet tall, Falls Canyon Falls is a sight to see. Although the waterfall rarely flows, the wet winter of 2022-2023 has kept this waterfall flowing nicely late into the year, and will probably not dry up until late August.
During my visit, I flew the drone over the falls as I usually do, and was pleasantly surprised. Not much further up the tributary was another enormous, 5-tier cascade, which I’ll be happy to share with you in this post.
Falls Canyon Falls Map
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Falls Canyon Falls Directions
Click the link to be redirected to Fall Canyon Falls trailhead via Google Maps.
There is no parking lot for this trail. You’ll have to park off the side of the dirt road either further up or before the trailhead.
Are you looking for hikes in Orange County? Check out the complete list of OC hikes by clicking the link below!
Falls Canyon Falls Trail
The trailhead is located on the left side of the trail. Look for two dirt trails that quickly merge into one.
Almost immediately after the two trails merged, I had my first obstacle, crossing Trabuco Creek.
While I was still at the mouth of the tributary, I noticed an old abandoned mine on the left canyon wall.
I didn’t have time to explore it as I was running out of daylight, but it didn’t seem to go too far in.
The very beginning of the trail was extremely overgrown, as you can see from the images below. Once again, remember to wear a long sleeve shirt and pants to avoid coming into contact with poison oak!
If you like exploring caves and mines, check out the Dripping Cave in Laguna Beach! The cave was once a hideout for bandits who lived in the 1800s.
The rest of the trail was also overgrown, but nothing too bad.
I can tell this place is becoming more popular with the recent growing popularity of Holy Jim Falls further up the dirt road.
After roughly 25 minutes of bushwhacking and creek crossings, I came to a clearing in the tributary, only to find myself face to face with a beautiful 50-foot waterfall.
Falls Canyon Falls was indeed a sight to see. I felt incredibly grateful to see so much water, mainly since it rarely flows.
The canyon smelled like mist and moss, and all we heard was the sound of leaves blowing in the wind. We had the whole place to ourselves.
Granted, we visited during the week, but even weekend visitors should experience very limited foot traffic.
Here’s a drone shot of Falls Canyon Falls, sometimes referred to as Trabuco Creek Falls. However, Falls Canyon Falls is not even located in Trabuco Creek, it simply merges into it.
The hike may be over but not the adventure!
I flew the drone further up Falls Canyon when I, to my surprise, spotted an enormous, roughly 5-tier cascade on the left side of the canyon wall.
It barely had water, but had I visited a couple of months earlier, the opposite would have been true, especially after the extremely wet winter we experienced.
Alright peeps, I hope you can get out there and hike this trail yourselves. I visited July 17, 2023, but I believe the falls will still have water at least until the second week of August.
Are you more in the mood for a hike with amazing ocean views and mild weather? Check out Top Of The World, arguably the most popular hike in Orange County.