top of page

Matilija Waterfalls Hike

Location : Matilija Falls Hike, Los Padres National Forest

Total distance : 9.5 miles round-trip (out and back)

Elevation gain : 1,000 ft

Peak elevation : 2,500 ft

Tree Cover : No tree cover. Sunscreen highly recommended.

Parking : Free parking lot near the trailhead. 

Trailhead : Click here

Satellite map :                

Click on the image for an interactive map


Terrain map :                

Click on the image for an interactive map

Hollywood sign hike topo map

Continue past the gate on the paved road. Boots are a must because of all the boulder hopping and streams crossings. As long as you follow the creek you will not get lost. It might seems like you are lost and not on the trail but that is just how this hike is. In a lot of places there is no trail.

Continue straight on the trail until you see the "All Trails" sign, keep left here. Checkout the video before the hike. This hike is around 9.6 miles of roundtrip if you walk straight but most times you are forced to zig-zag to cross the stream several times which makes it longer. Some of the forks can be confusing if you are a first time hiker.

At this fork keep right to continue through the Blue Heron Ranch. Refer to the video. It might seem like going left is the more obvious choice because of the trail but that is not the right way. The right way is to keep right ;-) Continue through the ranch and stay on the trail until you reach Old Man Canyon.

Once you reach Old Man Canyon the trail ends in the stream. It can get super confusing and make you doubt if you have come the right way. At this point cross the stream to the right and look for cairns (stones stacked on top of one another). The trail will be about 10 ft or so to your right going uphill right next to a broken cement pipe. Here the trail gets very steep and goes up, eventually going down to join the stream again.

Once you are on the rocky path do not look for a trail and waste your time. There is no trail. Just walk along the water until you reach the waterfalls. On this hike you can see several trail markers such as circles and arrows painted on rocks, red ribbons tied to tree branches, crushed black rock pieces or cairns. Be on the look out for all these trail markers as there are no other signs once you are on the rocky path along the stream. There are lots of snakes on the trail and in water so be extremely cautious and do not hike alone.

The waterfalls shown at the top of the page are not the Matilija falls, however they are very picturesque, climb up and continue past them to reach the main falls. During the day it gets pretty hot on the trail and you will need a lot of water. So just to cut down your backpack weight it is a good idea to buy a water filter to filter water from the stream. Checkout "Hiking Gear" page under "Hiking Tips" tab on the website for suggestions. Enjoy the waterfalls with its pools and all the swimming holes along the way. Stay safe and enjoy your hike. Checkout the gallery below for Matilija waterfalls pictures.

Recommended for you. Click on the images below.

Humming Bird Trail, Los Padres

Lake Piru, Los Padres

  • Instagram Social Icon
  • Facebook Social Icon
  • YouTube Social  Icon
  • Google+ Social Icon
bottom of page