Best hikes in orange county with waterfalls

Best hikes in orange county with waterfalls

The joy and thrill of seeing water calmly flowing over walls and landing in deep ponds with the Panasonic sounds are what make everyone including me to visit orange county. The county is famous for its trails but most of it’s for waterfalls, don’t forget the challenging dirt paths and walls. Every year it draws numerous amount of visitors from around the world looking for some of the best waterfalls. So, today to make it easy for you, I have prepared a list of some famous and best hikes in orange county with waterfalls.

2Best hikes in orange county with waterfalls

Chiquito falls

The word Chiquita refers to the little one. And the waterfall is named for a 15ft cascade hole.  This is a journey of 9miles from starting to a turnaround loaded with beautiful panoramic views and wildlife glimpses.

This adventurous journey will start from the parking lot across the candy store. Start on the San Juan Loop trail and you will get the bonus of exploring and capturing the San Juan waterfall. After walking for 1mile you will see the direction for Chiquito falls trail.

Though you want to see the view of the waterfall, the journey will surprise you as you go through the dry mountains. But not to worry as you will get to see the best part, the alluring views of the Cleveland national forest.

  • Elevation – 1491 ft, vertical elevation gain
  • Distance- 14.400 km round trip (both ways)
  • Level- moderate
  • Best time – spring
  • Open for- hiking, dogs
  • Permits – parking pass
  • Location- Lake Elsinore, CA 92530, United States

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Tenaja falls

Tenaja is becoming one of the popular waterfalls that draw the attention of a lot of family visitors around the world. But if you want to enjoy the view of the Tenaja waterfall, the timing should be accurate. The heat of inland during summers will convert this short journey into a difficult journey. But if you visit Tenaja falls after winter storms, you will not be disappointed with the impressive views.

This is a short hike of 1.5miles filled with the view of wildflowers and birds. Through your journey you will pass the only junction which splits into two paths, the left is going towards the fisherman camp. But you have to follow the right path to cross the creek by walking upstream to a rock hop.

This is a simple journey, barely with any obstacles, the only slight obstacle you can face at a creek crossing, which is walking a few steps west from the Tenaja trailhead.

  • Elevation -275 feet
  • Distance – 1.5 mules
  • Best time – autumn, spring
  • Open for – Hikers, dogs
  • Permits – free

Dana point seasonal waterfall

This is a man-made waterfall-fed with concrete pipes. Water flows through them during heavy rain. So the best time to explore the beauty of this waterfall in the country is after heavy rain.

After passing the island way St, you will see the waterfall right off you. You will see the parking lot along the street. Usually, the capacity of tourists is great if the water is flowing, you can guess by seeing the quantity of the vehicles.

After passing the street parking, a 2-minute walk will take you near to the waterfall, and you will see a huge amount of water flowing if your timing is right. Walk slowly as everything near is muddy and slippery.

  • Elevation – 15 feet
  • Distance – 0.3 miles
  • Best time – spring falls
  • Open for – hikers
  • Permits – free

1Tahquitz fall

If you think the desert waterfall is more of an adventure than a view. Then visit Tahquitz fall will definitely change your thinking. This fall is falling down from 60ft. and gives you a breathtaking and memorable view in between the rocks.

To start the journey you have to pay the fees of around $12 for an adult because it comes under the Indian reservation center. After paying the fees you will be provided with the trail map as the paths and routes keep changing here. Although you will find the markings throughout at every point to guide you to the right path.

This short journey is filled with many other beautiful insights besides waterfall-like – rock mortars, old ditch, natural shelters, and rock art.

  • Elevation – 350 feet
  • Distance – 1.8 Miles
  • Best time – spring, summer
  • Open for – hikers
  • Permits – fee: $12

Andreas canyon falls

One of the oldest and shortest hikes of 1.6km, features a great waterfall and wildlife as you walk through the journey. Andreas loop is a heavily trafficked trail because the views and experience you get there are worth your time.

Andreas Canyon is surrounded by desert, rocks, and landscape views which take you back to the early times when food is prepared through mortars and metates. You will also see a glimpse of the culture of people first loved here.

Through your journey, you will be surrounded by rocks and California fan palms(Andreas has the second-largest California fan palms in the world). You may meet small lizards and birds throughout your journey.

  • Elevation – 174 m
  • Distance – 1 mile
  • Best time – summer, autumn
  • Open for – hikers
  • Permits – fee: $9.00

Switzer falls

Switzer falls hike is just not about the waterfall, along the way you will get views of historical ruins, gorge, brook, and finally the breathtaking view of the waterfall that you want to capture in your tech device.

Your hike will start from the Switzer picnic area. After a decent minute’s walk you will cross the footbridge over the Arroyo Seco River. After covering 1.5 km you will see the Switzer- land camp and first trail junction.

This is a 6.1 km journey with a moderate level, and you have to climb the mountain for a short time.

  • Elevation – 650 feet
  • Distance -3.7 miles
  • Best time – summer
  • Open for – hikers, dogs
  • Permits – National Forest Adventure Pass

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Paradise falls

The waterfall falling down 40ft into the pool, creates an unmatchable amazing view, and because of which it draws a lot of visitors’ attention. Along with the waterfall, the journey through trailhead is also amazing like wildwood park.

Paradise falls can be reached via a 1.5-mile trail or 2.55mile trail which takes you to the small cave. The journey starts from wildwood park. After walking for 0.3miles the paths split, follow the left path onto the north tepee trail, you will see the arrow sign to paradise falls.

The trail is easy with moderate traffic, which makes it a good option with family.

  • Elevation – 260 feet
  • Distance – 2.55 miles (loop)
  • Best Time – spring, summer, autumn
  • Hiking time: Approx. 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Open for – Hikers, dogs, bikes
  • Permits – free

Escondido falls

Sitting 70.8 miles away from Orange County may seem far to some people. But when the water is flowing, it becomes one of the best waterfalls across many miles. Speaking of the waterfall, it has two-tier, one is 50 feet which is easily achievable and the other increased to 150 tall while also raising the difficulty levels.

This beautiful journey of 3.8 miles starts from the Pacific Coast Highway from where it goes up. You will see some great things along your journey like Escondido Canyon Park, which is a wooden park and everybody is welcomed here. Besides that, the trail also gives some hard times when you walk through the dirt paths following the trail. But the top view of Escondido fall is worth it. Where water pours against the wall and lands around 150 feet deep in a pond.

To make this journey more thriller, you can climb to the small cave landing behind fall(you may some hikers there getting wet). But make sure to do it at your own risk.

  • Elevation – 400 feet
  • Distance – 3.8 miles(both ways)
  • Best time – spring, fullest falls
  • Open for – dogs, bikes, and hikers
  • Permits – parking fees

Ortega falls

If you want to enjoy the view with little effort then Ortega is the best waterfall, present on the west side of Riverside County near the orange county border, takes your little effort to visit here as the distance of this hike is only 0.35miles both ways.

The short journey begins from the turnout on the Ortega highway. Take the down path onto the ravine, which is under Ortega falls. You can clearly see the waterfall from the starting point. Walking for a quarter-mile, you will reach a rock amphitheatre(enclosing a waterfall).

You don’t need any permits and a parking pass, all is free. You can even carry a dog with you.

  • Elevation – 50 feet
  • Distance – 0.3 miles
  • Best time – spring
  • Open for- hikers, dogs
  • Permits – free

Canyon falls

A pace with one of the finest waterfalls in orange county canyon falls is a 4-mile journey and an adventure ride for hikers.

Begin your journey with a canyon trail that will take you through dirt roads and make you climb to the wall of Big Tujunga Canyon, from where you can clearly get the view of canyons and waterfall.

Overall it’s s best choice for one-day hikes who love hiking and nature.

  • Elevation – 700 feet
  • Distance – 4 miles
  • Best time – spring, autumn
  • Open for – hikers, dogs
  • Permits – No pass and fee required