Rose Valley Falls

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Rose Valley Falls
On the trail to Rose Valley Falls

Rose Valley Falls

  • Location: North of Ojai in the Los Padres National Forest.  From the town of Ojai, head north on highway 33 for 14 miles (25 miles from Highway 101 in Ventura) to Rose Valley Road.  Turn right and go 3.1 miles to Rose Valley Lake Road.  Turn right and drive 0.3 miles to the end of the road and park in the campground by the signed trailhead to Rose Valley falls. Day use fee is $10. Click here for more information.
  • Agency: Los Padres National Forest/Ojai Ranger District
  • Distance: 0.8 miles
  • Elevation gain: 250 feet
  • Suggested time: 45 minutes
  • Difficulty rating: G
  • Best season: Year round (best after recent rain)
  • USGS topo map: Lion Canyon
  • Recommended guidebook: Easy Hiking in Southern California
  • More information: Trip reports here and here; Everytrail report here
  • Rating: 6

This is one of Southern California’s tallest–and most unusual looking–waterfalls.  Unfortunately, the spectacular upper tier, visible from the campground, is not easily accessible to hikers; the short walk through the woods brings you to the lower tier, which is not a bad consolation prize.  Even if there’s not much water–which there isn’t as of this writing–the limestone and sandstone cliffs, underneath the shade of oaks, is a nice spot for a picnic or to hang out and enjoy nature.

From the end of the campground, begin hiking uphill on the signed trail.  After crossing the creek, the trail continues to climb, mostly in the shade, occasionally providing a glimpse of the upper level of the falls.  The trail rises above the creek, passing over a smaller waterfall.   Soon, you arrive at the bottom level.  There are a few rocks that you can climb to get a good view of it.

Obviously, Rose Valley Falls is a very short hike to do if you’re driving a long way to get to the Los Padres National Forest, but there are quite a few other good trails in the area to check out, such as Potrero John and Piedras Blancas.  With time off for the upcoming holidays, and traffic likely to be lighter than usual, L.A. hikers might want to consider making a trip up here to check out Rose Valley Falls and some of its neighbors.

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.  By reading this, you agree not to hold the author or publisher of the content on this web site responsible for any injuries or inconveniences that may result from hiking on this trail.  Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.


    1. Thanks for the heads up and the info link. Haven’t made it up there to Rose Valley for quite a while, not surprising to hear that things have changed.

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