Little Falls Trail is a 5.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Arroyo Grande, CA that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, trail running, and nature trips and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
This is a really nice, beautiful trail - IF you don't mind a lot of poison oak and you have a vehicle that can survive the drive to the trailhead. The final 1.5 miles to the trailhead are on a narrow dirt road that crosses Lopez Creek eight times. There are no bridges or concrete fords, so you'll definitely need a high-clearance vehicle. 4WD isn't strictly necessary, unless the water levels in the creek are particularly high.
The trail itself is almost level from the trailhead up to Little Falls, but climbs just beyond the turn-off to the falls. There is a ridiculous amount of poison oak on both sides of the trail, but when we were there the trail itself wasn't overgrown and it was pretty easy to avoid. You'll cross Little Falls Creek once, then go across a lovely meadow and enter Santa Lucia Wilderness. There are three more creek crossings (all easy) before you leave the main trail just before the fourth crossing and take a use trail up along the left side of Little Falls Creek. There's a lovely little waterfall (about 6') less than 100 yards up this use trail. The pool at the base of this fall is deep enough for a swim. Unfortunately, we didn't realize that the actual Little Falls waterfall is a little farther up the trail, so we'll be going back to check it out some time. The actual Little Falls waterfall is about 50' high.
This trail is best in the spring, when there's plenty of water in the creek and the waterfalls are flowing. Be sure to look for the California newts in Little Falls Creek.
Poison Oak Warning!!!
The trail is covered in poison oak, some places it is completely overgrown.
You need a vehicle with high clearance to get to trail head. Driving through creekbeds is required.
also there were signs of lots of bear activity, so be prepared for a black bear encounter.
I will not hike the trail again unless I hear its been maintenanced.
Very pretty hike crossing through streams and then coming up to open vistas at the top, but... the are huge amounts of poison oak overflowing onto the trail.
The description of the hike is VERY misleading. The hike is in a remote area with six or more stream crossings (truck country) on the road to the trail. Paved road,(upper Lopez Canyon Road) dirt road and unimproved road, from the access road, Hi mountain road.
It is beautiful country and an easy hike but with several stream crossings along the way. Some moderately steep slopes.
Aweful. I went on this brief walk. The creek was dry... the drive is not worth the walk