Rose Valley Falls
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.