Holy Jim Falls Trail

EASY
#1 of 114 trails in Cleveland National Forest
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Holy Jim Falls Trail is a 2.9 mile out and back trail located near Silverado, CA that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from January until June. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

2.9 miles 570 feet Out & Back
dogs on leash kid friendly hiking mountain biking trail running walking beach cave forest lake river rocky views waterfall wildlife
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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.

Carol Segal

1 Completed1 Reviews

Took the hike today ... Had a little trouble finding Trabuco creek road (it looks like a dirt turnout off Trabuco canyon road and is before you get to Trabuco oak road) .... But had a great time once we got to the trail. The road up is washboardy and full of some nasty potholes... But our Chevy Equinox made it just fine with careful driving. The trail was lovely ... The creek was flowing and frogs were singing. Saw just a few birds ... Acorn woodpecker, dark eyed junco, wrentits and two turkeys who looked like they were volunteering to do valet parking in the parking lot. It is an easy and fun hike .... Would be great for kids! Have fun!!

Lindsey Morales

1 Completed1 Reviews

Loved this hike . We took our 5 month old and our 8 year old . Simple enough for everyone. There were a lot of people and when you get to the falls it gets kind of tight, because there isn't a ton of room . Lots of water throughout the trail. I'm not sure if it's always like that , it rained yesterday. The road getting to the trailhead was very rough , and a TON of potholes, like everywhere! We drove our wrangler .

elizabeth Ostgaard

1 Completed3 Reviews

Beautiful hike. I've done this hike in the middle of the night and twice in between sun rise and sun set, all three were amazing and a wonderful 7-9 hour break from the busy world.

elizabeth Ostgaard

1 Completed3 Reviews

Beautiful hike. I've done this hike in the middle of the night and twice in between sun rise and sun set, all three were amazing and a wonderful 7-9 hour break from the busy world.

elizabeth Ostgaard

1 Completed3 Reviews

Beautiful hike. I've done this hike in the middle of the night and twice in between sun rise and sun set, all three were amazing and a wonderful 7-9 hour break from the busy world.

Matthew Moser

4 Completed1 Reviews

jessica walters

2 Completed1 Reviews

Do holy Jim mountain, your gonna make a left on a marked trail head before you get to holy Jim falls. It's a good hike with an elevation climb about 4000 ft. You can take it all the way up to Santiago peak if you chose which will be about 20 miles total out and back.

Nathaniel S

1 Completed1 Reviews

Very easy and well marked hike. No gnats like stated a month ago. There were 1000's of ladybug's in some parts though. I've never seem them gathered like that before.

The fire road leading to the gate is really beat up. If you have a vehicle with any kind of clearance then it is an easy drive, just take it slow. I drove my 3 series BMW and it would've made it the entire way but I stopped at the gate to make the hike a bit longer. There were other similar cars that made it all the way as well.

The hike is nice right now with it being cool and shaded in the afternoon. The waterfall is flowing! I would call it a heavy pour, but I don't know what it would look like right after a heavy rain. The creek crossings are still shallow but with any more water fall I'd expect that you might have a wet foot at a minimum by the end of the hike.

Also, lots of dogs along the hike today. Most were on leashes. Just be aware if you don't like dogs, this hike probably isn't for you.

Someone posted some laminated pages of the history of the hike along the way which was a pretty nice little bonus.

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

Beautiful