The Santa Ynez Falls is a waterfall nestled in Topanga State Park along the Santa Ynez Canyon Trail. There are several other trails that you can combine with the Falls trail to extend your trip. This hike contains very little traffic and is family friendly!

The Santa Ynez Canyon Trail is located 10 minutes away from the beach providing you the opportunity to do this hike early in the morning and spend the rest of the day hanging out at the beach. To get to the trailhead, take Vereda de la Montura Road until you reach the private residential area (the road ends at a gate). Parking is limited and only street parking is available, so arrive early to secure a spot. The entrance is right before the residential area. Signage along the trail is limited, but the trail is marked on Google Maps, so you can use that as a guide.

Follow the Santa Ynez Canyon Trail for about half a mile. This portion is well maintained and a relatively easy hike. At about the half mile mark, there is fork in the trail, right takes you to the waterfall trail, left keeps you on the canyon trail. The falls trail is not maintained, so be sure to wear long pants and a long shirt since there is plenty of poison oak throughout the hike. The entire trail is shaded by several trees, so you don't have to worry about the heat from the sun. After you pass the sign indicating that the trail is not maintained (see attached picture), you'll have to cross the creek, which takes you to another fork. The trail to the falls continues left, but it's easy to miss, so keep your eyes open for the fork. From this point on, you'll cross the creek several times, but the trail is very obvious and hard to miss. The last quarter of a mile requires scrambling over rocks and can be very slippery, so proceed with caution!

Once you reach the falls, you can turn back, or climb the rope to the left, which will provide you with a birds-eye view of the area. 

Pack List

  • Water
  • Waterproof Shoes (you'll have to cross the creek numerous times)
  • Wool Socks
  • Hiking Poles
  • Snacks
  • Camera
  • Long pants and shirt
  • Bug spray
Show More
RT Distance 3 Miles
Elevation Gain 200 Feet
Activities Chillin, Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Family Friendly


Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

No Waterfall When We Got There But Still Fun Hike!

I went on December 18,2017 and we were so excited to see the waterfall but there wasn’t any water, kind of as if it dried out recently because there was just water dripping down from leaves where the waterfall was supposed to be. But the hiking/trail there is pretty fun and a bit creepy, I would say it’s about 2-3 miles, you end up getting to a point where you just have to go climb the big rocks, basically just following where the water that remains is coming from. At first you kind of feel like there wouldn’t even be a waterfall cause there’s just plants and trees everywhere, it feels like a forest, but then you start seeing what seems to be like a river and tons of rocks on the side and so you just continue on the trail and eventually find signs that tell you which way to the waterfall and eventually you get there, but it’s still pleasant without the waterfall, kind of. I’d recommend it definitely.

Poison Oak!

There wasn't any water, and so much poison oak that we had to turn back. Otherwise, beautiful!

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