Lovely little trail all in all. The guide mentions that the paved road turns to dirt. The reality is that Ponderosa Way lasts a little more than 2 miles of VERY windy road (Dramamine for everybody including the dog!) and then, at the entrance to the park turns into a deeply rutted, very steep, narrow dirt road with continuous blind corners for nearly 3 miles all the way down to the water. Regular cars can make it, although we had to take it very slow with our low clearance Prius.
Although the trail is listed as easy, and in fact this is true for the most part, the trail begins with a steep scramble up an eight foot or so rise consisting mostly of crumbling shale, difficult for my legally blind husband, and painful for my friend with sciatica. However it’s worth the effort to get to the rest of the hike.
The trail is eroded in several places with dangerous slides... our dog slipped on one and had to scramble back to the trail searching frantically for anything to get a foothold, so be careful with little ones and don’t let them run too far ahead.
In May the falls were a fairly impressive but gentle cascade with rocks on either side to scramble up or down. Considering this is listed as a little known gem, I was surprised to find so many people there. There was a pretty constant trickle in and out of hikers, averaging about three groups at a time. Dogs went mostly off leash and had fun wading about together in the little pools and scrambling around on the rocks.
If you can handle the tough drive down (allow about half an hour just for this) and the steep initial scramble, it’s a great way to spend the day!