Holy Jim Falls

Holy Jim Falls, 3-15-08
Holy Jim Falls, 3/15/08

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Click here to play a video of Holy Jims Falls on 3/15/08...(this will take a few minutes to load)

Holy Jim Falls is usually nice all year, even in dry seasons the canyon is a lush green.  The falls are best viewed in early spring or during the rainy season but beware, the creek can rise suddenly and become too swift for a safe crossing even in a vehicle. 

Wildlife we have found in this area include deer, salamander, crawfish, gopher snakes & rattlesnakes.  The creek is sometimes stocked with trout, many people go fishing in this area.

Multi-use trail for hiking and mountain biking.  650' elevation gain in about 1 mile.  
Click here for historical facts/information about things you will see along the hike.

Also click here to see the Waterfalls of Trubuco Canyon webpage.

Rattlesnake warning:  I've heard many accounts of baby rattlesnake sightings in 2007/2008.  Know about safety in rattlesnake country, see our safety page for tips and a rattlesnake photo.

See more recent pics of Holy Jim, November 2010 at the link below:
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=31365&l=14a1dbb93b&id=100405670015047

Holy Jim Trail, 10-2-05
The beginning of Holy Jim Trail, just past the trail head, 10/2/05

A National Forest Adventure Pass is required to park.  This can usually be purchased at Big 5 stores or at the ranger station.  Day passes are $5.00.  1 year passes valid for Angeles, Los Padres and Cleveland National Forests can be purchased for $30.00.
To find a local retail store near you selling Forest Adventure Passes click here
For order information to purchase annual passes click here.

December 2008 storms bring a lower than usual snowfall covering the Saddleback mountains, click here to see pictures. 

A good resource for current Holy Jim Canyon conditions, from the people who live there.  Storm info, damage and accessibility included:  http://www.dovecanyon.org/association/news/
Also browse through the "cabin history" and "photography" pages at the above link for some interesting reading.   

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Cascading pools along Holy Jim Creek, 10/2/05

To check on current conditions for this area call the Trubuco Ranger District:  US Forest Service, Cleveland National Forest Contact Info
Poison Oak is found in this area.  See the Safety Tips page. 

Printable trail map of the entire trail system in Trabuco District of Cleveland National Forest can be found on the US Forest Website, click here


Surface street road conditions for the Orange County canyons can be found at
http://totaltrafficla.com/ under  "Recent Storm Road Closures", in extreme weather many of the surface roads could also be closed. 

Holy Jim Trail, 3/15/08
Holy Jim Trail, 3/15/08

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Creek flowing across the road, 10/2/05

Holy Jim Trail, 10-2-05
View from Holy Jim Trail going up the mountain, 10/2/05

Holy Jim Trail, 10-2-05
Holy Jim Trail, 10/2/05

Holy Jim Trail, 10-2-05
Sections of Holy Jim Trail, covered by trees, 10/2/05

Holy Jim Trail, 10-2-05
Holy Jim Trail, 10/2/05

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Holy Jim Trail, creek crossing just past trail head, 10/2/05

Directions:  head east on Chapman Ave towards the foothills.  This turns into Santiago Canyon Rd (S18).  Turn left at Live Oak Canyon Rd.  At Trubucco Canyon turn left into a dry creekbed (Trubucco Canyon Rd).  Park at the end of the road.  National Forest Adventure Pass is required.  See detailed directions for more info.

Nearest campground:
O'Neill Regional Park

Interested in California Native Plants, the flora you see along a hike?  Check out the new native plant gallery on CAOpenspace Facebook page, includes links to detailed plant info: 
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=33014&l=a10171291f&id=100405670015047

Hiking Blog, Nobody Hikes in LA, write up on Holy Jim:
http://nobodyhikesinla.com/2010/06/22/holy-jim-falls/

Click here to see additional Holy Jim Trail pictures from our hike on 3/15/08. 

Click here for pictures of the trail continuing above Holy Jim to Main Divide and
Saddleback Mountain.

Directions from Orange or LA County. 
This one can be a little tricky if you haven't been here before so I'll give very detailed directions:
Take Chapman Ave (City of Orange) heading East which will turn into Santiago Rd (S18).  Turn Left onto Live Oak Canyon Rd at Cook's Corner (you most likely will see a lot of motorcycles parked here).  Just past Trubucco Canyon store and Rose Canyon Rd on the left will be a large dry creekbed. 
Here's the fun part:  turn left into the creekbed, don't mind the private road sign.  Follow this road for about 6 miles.  It will be very bumpy, a truck is recommended.  Don't try this in a car right after a rain, I sometimes have trouble in my truck and I've seen plenty of 4 wheel drives get stuck this year ('08)!  You will pass a model airplane...place, then a sign stating you are entering Cleveland National Forest.
At this point you will start to see running creeks and nice scenery.  There are several places you can stop along the way.  You will see make shift "damns" built by Holy Jim years ago to create fishing holes.  Once you start seeing these you are almost there.  You will pass the old historic "Holy Jim Volunteer Fire Station" on the left and cross a small bridge, still under construction last time I was there. 
This is the end of the public part of the road, park here.  A parking National Forest Adventure Pass is required.  They do patrol here and you will get a ticket if you don't display a pass in your window. 
There is a map board in the parking area.  The road kind of "forks" here in 2 directions, both ways are just small access roads to private cabins, no public parking.  Walk up the road to the left.  You will pass a number of cabins for about the next half mile or so.  Just past the last cabin is the trail head.  From here it is about 1.5 miles to the falls.  When you are almost there you will see a sign pointing to the falls.  From this point you can also continue up the mountain to Santiago Peak if you are up to walking about 5 or so more miles.
For more details including very recent hiker's comments section and directions from the 5 fwy click here.
Related links:
A mountain biker's trail description and pictures, along with a little bit of history:  http://www.mountainbikebill.com/HolyJim.htm
Holy Jim home videos posted on you tube:
On the way to Holy Jim you will most likely pass a "biker bar" called Cook's Corner, located at Live Oak Canyon Rd and Santiago Canyon Rd.  This is actually a historical site.  Old photos of Cook's (I remember when it actually looked this way) and some historical info can be found at:
Hike Description & Topo Map:
Franko's Map Of Santa Ana Mountains and Chino Hills State Park
Very detailed maps showing practically every trail in the Santa Ana Mountains can be purchased.  Franko's website has a lot of good acts about the area too.  See Franko's website at:  http://www.frankosmaps.com/Santa_Ana_Mountains.htm
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