Explore Ethan - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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the trail was great not much water but still a great view and great pictures. but like everyone says the last part of the hike is all up hill to get back to your car so defiantly prepare for a work out

Awesome trail, friendly people along the way just enough incline to get a good workout

Did on a hot day. Bring a lot of water! worth it for the fun potato chip rock pictures!

Nice day hike. Wasn’t much water at the waterfall but did find a garden snake and turtle there.

This hike makes you work for it. One hour up & 30 minutes down. I started before the sun and there were plenty of other friendly folks on the trail.

Amazing trail. This was my first coastal hiking, and as the other reviewers said here, it is important to download a tide chart and understand how to read it as there are two 4-mile stretches of impassible zones.

I found low tide easier to hike because the sand was more packed, and I could avoid more of the cobblestone type rocks. The northern impassible zone would likely be truly impassible in my experience (I travelled at full moon and very light surf and winds) - I hit that part at receding tide and even then some areas were iffy.

The impassible zone south of Miller flat may be doable in high tide with calm conditions, but I wouldn’t risk it.

The views, solitude and wildlife make this trail one of my all time favorites. I bought a map, rented a bear canister and got a free tide chart from the lost coast adventures shuttle.

Please note that there is no cell service in Settlers Cove and anywhere along the coast - so plan in advance.

A challenging hike with beautiful views!!! The potato chip rock at the peak was indeed very instagram worthy..

hiking
13 days ago

The waterfall itself is currently a trickle ending in a small pool. It’s still pretty. The hike to get to it was lovely, very green, lots of shady trees. Like folks have already mentioned that last half mile back up to the parking lot is rough and exposed. Almost no shade. Be prepared to sweat and get a good thigh workout. Also watch out for the gnats that follow you all the way through the hike. They wouldn’t let up!

Cons:
- 5+ hour drive to Bay Area
- $80 shuttle ride not including tip
- Walking long stretches on wet, unstable rocks
- Lots of poison ivy
- Had to climb portions of rock that are very dangerous where tide came in too high
- Walking at an angle in sand that is not packed down at all, caused foot injury for me
- Lot of people backpacking the trail
- Tides coming in and out very stressful, reaching and finishing impassable zones challenging
- Zero marking on trail
- Bear footprints on beach
- Very difficult to be rescued in this area and is dangerous enough to be a concern
- no cell service
Pros:
- Beautiful scenery
- Some private campsites

My boyfriend and I are avid backpackers and completed this trail in 2 nights/3 days in mid July.
I did not enjoy it and found myself looking down for a lot of the trail trying to stay balanced on the rocks. I personally do not find walking on rocks to be enjoyable when backpacking. My boyfriend liked the trail because of the challenge. For me, it was too difficult to enjoy. I thought this trail would be mostly walking on sand and did not factor in the rock aspect or stress with the impassable tide zones. There were a lot of people hiking the trail and I was hoping to be a little more isolated than that. There was one very sketchy portion of the trail we encountered on the first day where the water on the beach was too high so we had to climb up and over a portion of rocks that was very dangerous with some other people who took the same shuttle as us. (note: this was not at high tide) The one upside was that the scenery was beautiful. However, I advise really knowing what you are getting into, this is not an easy or moderate trail by any means.

Great workout

DEFINITELY read these reviews before taking this hike!!!! It is worth it once you get to the top but getting there can be challenging especially in July when I went!!! Bring lots of water, hat, shades, and wear light clothing. Enjoy the workout!!!!

Loved this trail when I hiked it the first time. Unfortunately, I went at 7am and the trail was closed due to excessive heat. :(

hiking
19 days ago

Great hike...

Given the heat and lack of rain lately, the waterfalls were more of a faucet left on by accident. Still, would come again because of the hike to the falls. Shaded and beautiful.

As others have said, the first half mile or so from the parking lot, on the paved road, is a doozy. Be prepared to work to get back to your car.

Come early, bring a lot of water and yes, bring bug spray.

This is an amazing hike but NOT FOR THE SUMMER! I went with a group of 6 including myself and we left way too late. Should note it was the end of July at 10am. Moderate hike but the sun is what killed us. Legit almost thought I was going to pass out. If you go during the summer don't bring your dog, and bring a crap ton of water!

Awesome! Worth it when you get to the top

Extremely hot, and no shade at all. Wait for half an hour for the potato-chip photo. Good workout but too hot.

The first part is a bit difficult on the way back. Other than that it’s a beautiful trail.

Great hike but it’s rated hard for a reason. I am an avid hiker and it was challenging. If you are looking for a less strenuous hike, start in Ramona. On a positive note, it is BEAUTIFUL & a great workout.

Very nice hike. Trail is well maintained and not too difficult. We started at about 6:15 am and it was still too crowded for my liking, but the scenery is beautiful and it is a good work out. If you go beyond the Potato Chip rock there are great boulders to relax on and enjoy some solitude!

A beautiful trip! If you’re decently in shape and have good balance, you can do this trip in 2 full days, but it’s nice to have some extra time to soak in the beauty.

Definitely wear waterproof hiking boots so you don’t roll your ankle (you probably will anyways. There is barely any elevation gain, but you will be walking on the slanted beach, which feels odd after many miles of repetitive strain. Bring layers!

You need a permit and a bear canister. We saw bear prints in the sand. There aren’t many trees hang your food from.

The impassible zones are indeed impassible at high tide! Make sure you check the tide chart, or get ready to be very wet. We went about an hour after a moderately high high tide and were chased by many waves. It was very fun, but know what you’re getting into.

A lot less strenuous than I thought. Nice three day trip!

Awesome trial! My husband & I never hiked & decided let’s try it. Wow did it kick our butts. We also started at 1300 on a 100 degree day (don’t do that). It took us 3hours round trip. Beautiful views. Definitely wish it had more signs on how far to go. We brought 2-40oz hydroflasks, & a gallon of water + don’t forget some protein or PB&J’s! Overall amazing!

Beautiful trail, easy once you’re off the paved portion, the paved area is very steep so it had a a level of difficulty to the trail in the way back. Lot’s of cottages along the path that make this the enchanted forest. Decent size swimming hole and waterfall at the end. An enjoyable hike. Many trails off this one, not always clear on the descriptions which trail they are referring to.

Awesome cute trail , can be difficult every once in a while but over all a really calm hike !

horseback riding
1 month ago

Nice place to visit beautiful easy trail
The trail itself is pretty clear and easy to hike
Be prepared to pay for parking (ticket otherwise) you need some sort of pass -
Equestrians do not visit during the weekend there will be no parking for trailers -go during the week -
There are TONS of poison oak but trails are pretty clear (so stay on it ) bring bug spray - the only down side was it’s VERY rocky for horses towards the end closer to falls -fine for hikers just be careful if you have equine friends joining -will definitely be returning with my pup for a good hike the scenery and sound of the running stream is nice .

It was one of the hottest forecast days of the year and we got off to a bit of a late start (7:30 ish) - we realized this when, on our way up, we noted lots of hikers already on their way down. What ever you do BRING LOTS OF WATER. Lots means a couple liters NOT one small bottle of Crystal Geyser! I can not tell you how many people we passed that were on their way to heat stroke. Shared our extra water with a few who were out far from the trail head! Bring extra water! (always a good idea anyway)
It's a well marked path, starting with a dirt road for the first mile or so, then up to singletrack through and up the rocks, with rock steps on some of the rockier sections. There is shade to be found. We were early enough that some of the brush provided a great place to just get out of the sun for a moment or two when catching your breath. Although it's a popular hike, we never felt crowded on the trail and never hit any traffic jams - perhaps because of the area high heat warnings. But there were a reasonable amount of people there. It's a nice UP and back Down hike, meaning it's easier to push yourself a bit harder at first knowing that it will be easier going down. The first mile or so had several porta potties and trash bins along the route and the trail was really clean. Not sure if it's like this all the time but perhaps they stepped it up for the July 4 weekend crowds. Really great local hike with easy parking, beautiful views away from the suburban sprawl and cool shaded grassy spots to crash in when you get back down to your car! Would recommend and would definitely do again.

hiking
1 month ago

Not the most spectacular falls in the San Gabriels (especially in the summer), but well worth the drive. The creekside trail is mostly shaded and passes come quaint cabins from the early 1900s. However, the first half mile or so down to Roberts camp is on a paved, unshaded road with about a 12% grade, all uphill on the way back, so plan accordingly.

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