Difficulty PG Distance 0 to 2 miles General information: Dogs allowed General information: Hikes with free parking General information: Waterfall hikes Rating: 7-8 San Bernardino Mountains - Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead Season: All year

Heart Rock Falls


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Heart Rock and the waterfall
Returning from the waterfall

Text and photography copyright 2011 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities. The author does not take any responsibility for injuries sustained during hikes or walks on the routes described here. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.

Heart Rock Falls

  • Location: San Bernardino National Forest north of Crestline.  From the 210 freeway, take the Waterman Ave/route 18 exit and go north for 11.3 miles.  Take the “Crestline Cut-Off” (highway 138) and go north for a total of 2.7 miles.  The road hits a few junctions so make sure you stay on highway 138, through Crestline and the Valley of Enchantment.  Take a left at the sign for Camp Seeley, pass by the main camp buildings, cross a stream and park in a small dirt lot on the right side of the road, across from the camp playground.  The trail begins on the left side of the lot.  You can also park at another trailhead farther up the road.
  • Agency: San Bernardino National Forest/Arrowhead Ranger Station
  • Distance: 2 miles
  • Elevation gain: 200 feet
  • Difficulty Rating: PG
  • Suggested time: 1 hour
  • Best season: Year round (Waterfall is best following recent rains)
  • USGS topo map: Silverwood Lake; San Bernardino North
  • Recommended Guidebook: Afoot and Afield: Inland Empire
  • More information: here; video of the waterfall here
  • Rating: 7

It may seem hard to believe, but hidden in the western San Bernardino Mountains near Crestline is a rock with a nearly perfectly shaped heart carved inside.   Heart Rock is located in Seeley Creek next to a 20-foot waterfall.  The hike is most enjoyable when the waterfall is flowing strongly after recent rains, but it’s a nice, easy place to get away during the summer, and its elevation is low enough that one won’t have to deal with too much snow during the winter.  While it’s mountain location is definitely a drive for Los Angeles and Orange County hikers, it’s actually a fair amount closer than Big Bear and Arrowhead.

From the parking area, cross the fence and head into the woods on a dirt road that parallels the creek.  The mix of trees you see, including cedars, oaks and pines, may make your forget that you’re only 4,400 feet above sea level.  You pass by a various camp buildings, including a swimming pool, and meet up with a trail numbered 4W07.  Bear right (left takes you to an alternate trail head) and head into the woods.

After an enjoyable half mile, you come to a somewhat obscure split.  The main trail continues downhill, and another trail continues uphill to rejoin the road.  Head right, through a narrow gap between two rocks, and carefully descend to the creek (adult supervision required for young hikers).  On the way down, you get a nice aerial view of Heart Rock and the waterfall.  At the bottom, you can walk out onto the rocks and see the waterfall from below.

As short as this hike is, if you are driving from a distance, you might want to combine it with another one in the area, such as Heap’s Peak Arboretum.

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8 comments

  1. That’s a cute rock. May have to do this hike in April or May. I’m trying to see how far I can go into the year before breaking down and buying either an Adventure Pass or an America the Beautiful Pass. Until then, I’m going to try to do a few more hikes outside of fee areas.

  2. You can buy the passes through this site now (see the link in the driving directions). It’s definitely worth it – only $30 for the year, and it pays itself back, because you can use it in the Angeles National Forest, Cleveland National Forest, San Bernardino National Forest and Los Padres. The America the Beautiful pass is also a good deal, if you’re planning on visiting any national parks. Happy hiking!

  3. Yeah, but I always try to wait until I can use it at the start of a month, to get my full 13 months of use out of it! Definitely want to do a few hikes in the San Bernardino and Cleveland Forests this year. But if I can, I may try to time the first few for National Park week, so I can postpone buying the pass for another few months.

    Once I buy them, of course, then I’m more likely to hike in fee versus non-fee areas, just to “get my money’s worth.” 😀

  4. Is that a real rock, or did someone carve it that way? The surfaces looks smooth and natural.

    By the way, nice website! I discovered you from that guy hiking 1000 hikes. It’s a shame he is quitting after today.

    1. I’m pretty sure it’s all natural. The carving is pretty large, so I’d have a hard time believing that someone did it.

  5. Used to go there as a teenager… spent my summers in Crestline. I have seen pictures of people hiking to this rock dating back to the 20’s!

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