Big Falls

Santa Lucia Wilderness, California

Elevation Gain1,593ft
Trailhead Elevation842ft
Elevation Min/Max804/1859ft
Elevation Start/End842/842ft
Big Falls is a hiking trail in San Luis Obispo County, California. It is within Santa Lucia Wilderness. It is 2.3 miles long and begins at 842 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 4.6 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,593 feet. This trail connects with the following: Hi Mountain Lookout Road.

Big Falls Professional Reviews and Guides

"Big Falls is an 80-foot cataract in the isolated Santa Lucia Wilderness north of Lopez Lake. The trail follows Big Falls Creek up the wooded canyon, crossing and recrossing the creek. Along the way is an impressive 40-foot double waterfall over limestone rock. At the top and base of this lower falls are beautiful pools."

"This short, pleasant day hike leads to a beautiful cascading creek in the South Coast Ranges. The Santa Lucia Wilderness lies near the southern end of the Santa Lucia Range east of San Luis Obispo. Few trails penetrate into this small but rugged wild area. Due to the dense chaparral that blankets the hillsides, off-trail travel is generally impossible. The trail up Big Falls Canyon penetrates a major westward-flowing tributary of Lopez Canyon and ascends to the crest of the range. The many large, deep pools in this canyon host a healthy population of small trout, although fishing is poor. Newts are also commonly seen in portions of the creek."

Big Falls Reviews

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The creek corssings can be navigated by any car, as long as you're not too much in love with your ride. High clearance vehicle is preferable, but not a must. Don't do this hike in mid summer when the falls are dry and the water in the pools are somewhat stagnant.
This is always a fun trail to do. The falls run into a water hole that is at least a dozen feet deep which makes it great for cliff jumping (although it can be dangerous...). Getting there is easy in summer, you will probably need a high clearance vehicle, however. I made the mistake of taking my 4x4 truck with nearly 2 feet of clearance out there right after a rain and sank it in the first crossing.
This is a great trail, but getting there can be difficult. You need a high clearance vehicle to cross the creeks to get to the trail head you list here. Very beautiful area, one of my favorites.

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Trail Information

Santa Lucia Wilderness
Nearby City
Santa Lucia Wilderness

Activity Feed

Jun 2018