Holy Jim Falls Trail

#1 of 115 trails in Cleveland National Forest
Holy Jim Falls Trail is a 2.8 mile round trip located near Trabuco Canyon, California that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, mountain biking & walking and is accessible year-round. (Drive out Trabuco Creek Road to get to trailhead.)

2.8 miles Out & Back 1000 feet
Kid Friendly Dog Friendly
mountain biking trail running walking beach cave dogs
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This may be Orange County's most popular family hike despite the washboarded road leading to it.

Nature was profaned here by the swear words flooding from the mouth of "Cussin' Jim" Smith or "Holy Jim" as he was renamed by tightlaced government surveyors who mapped the canyon in the early 1900s. Another bit of history marks the place: the last wild California Grizzly -- an old bear named "the honey thief" -- was killed at the mouth of Trabuco Canyon after robbing beehives here in 1907.

Heavy winter rains are essential to a pleasant journey. Along the way, you will see many small cascades and cross the stream several times before you reach the split where the main trail ascends to the Main Divide Road to the left and the trail to the waterfall shoots off to the right. Watch for poison oak as you scramble over the last quarter of a mile to the twenty foot falls. This may not sound like much, but I assure you: Holy Jim Falls is a chapel in the brush.

Jon Chel

2 Completed2 Reviews

Gnats, gnats, and more gnats! Little bit of water at the end, and shade on most of the trail. Easy hike, and not busy.

Anais Diantoni

6 Completed1 Reviews


Zigann Fischer

4 Completed4 Reviews

I have been on this trail several times and it gets dull after awhile. There are many poison oak plants in the area so watch your step. The falls often has some water and that is the ideal spot to rest or to have lunch. This is a very good beginner hike.


8 Completed1 Reviews

Remarkably, there's still a small trickle despite the drought which makes for a nice rest point on this easy out & back trail. If only the flies & face gnats weren't so bad, I'd rate this trail a 5.

Martha Pineda

6 Completed4 Reviews

Did this hike several years back on Mother's Day with the family. We enjoyed it and the water at the end was nice.

Chris Chakos

17 Completed18 Reviews

+++ what a beautiful off-road drive.
Great hikes

Stuart Z

13 Completed10 Reviews

4 mile road of gravel and sand, did it on my hatchback Yaris. So, drive carefully and look out for pointy rocks or humps on the way. Trail is pretty easy but still narrow, lots of shrubbery so do bring a hat. There was a small amount of water at the end of the trail, enough for it to be rewarding.

Shawn E Bell

8 Completed8 Reviews

A really simple, easy hike. Some years are better than others. This year, the water levels are a bit low, so "trickle" is the best description of the waterfall.

The road to the trailhead can be kinda tricky if you're not driving a vehicle with ground clearance, so be careful and drive appropriately - and don't be pressured by the idiots driving their trucks at a billion miles an hour and sliding around you; they'll get to their accident site well before you arrive.

Take water (don't drink from the trickle unless you've purified it first), wear appropriate shoes, and don't mess with the bees (they're virtually always grumpy and looking for a fight; if you ignore them they'll go find someone else to bother). I also recommend a hat - something more than a baseball cap, but less than a full wide-brim monstrosity that makes one look like the Flying Nun.

Be careful crossing the stream, it can be slippery and probably painful and embarrassing if the chick who slipped is any indication. Doesn't hurt to have a walking stick or trek poles.

Heather Ditfurth

2 Completed2 Reviews

One of my favorite local trails better when the falls have water and its green but for it being hot summer I suggest this trail lots of trees for shade and my dog had fun!

Renee Norris

2 Completed3 Reviews