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Cleveland National Forest encompasses 460,000 acres, mostly of chaparral, with a few riparian areas. A warm dry mediterranean climate prevails over the Forest. It is the Southernmost National Forest in California.

A cautionary tale to those considering this trail.

First of all, don't litter !! There was so much trash. And I couldn't even take any of it with me because I needed both hands to hike out.

Up the the top water fall and back took me 4 hours. The trail is barely marked and it's very easy to get turned around. It seemed like all the trails loop to each other so you're not going to get "lost" but it is certainly a waste of time.

There is poison oak absolutely everywhere. Look up pictures so you know how to spot it. There are also lots and lots of bees. I didn't see any snakes.

I regretted wearing hiking boots once I got to the "river". More pliable sneakers would have been better for climbing the falls.
I went last week (Mid September) and it was not as deathly hot as everyone has been saying all summer. I dumped out most of my water on the way back because it was heavy and didn't need it. I was properly hydrated before I set out and I only drank about 40 oz on the hike.

This trail is likely more fun in the winter or spring when there's water. I didn't feel like there was any reward for my efforts on this trail since there were no falls. I knew this going in but I thought it would still be pretty fun.

The takeaway; go with a friend, don't touch anything, and wait for rainfall so that there's something fun to see after you bust your butt getting there.

And please don't litter.

hiking
7 hours ago

Fairly isolated/less traveled area of Cleveland Natl Forest off Ortega. I think this is one of the best hikes if you want a physical challenge and be rewarded with good views. The deeper into the trail you get, the more isolated and less maintained the trails become. I had to clear some brush with my hands towards the final approach to the peak.

hiking
23 hours ago

loose rocks! fun short hike with amazing views!

off road driving
1 day ago

the directions given are accurate. the trail is a fire service trail and as such doesn't really require a 4wd vehicle maybe a medium clearance car like a Subaru Forrester could make it all the way up. I aired down for comfort but it's not necessary. the trail ends at main divide road which a a fun drive either way you go. even better at night.

Cool hike. Easier going up than down. Overall easy to medium difficulty. My fiancé took us the wrong way when we got to the top. We read to go back down on bear ridge we thought it was immediately after you get to the top but it’s not. You go back down the same way then after 2 miles you see 3 options and one of them is bear ridge. He took us a different way after we got to the peak and after our legs got scratched for .5 miles I told him we’re probably going the wrong way. He’s stubborn so he kept going and I just waited for him to realize he’s wrong. So he came back telling me it’s definitely not a Trail (surprise) lol. Anyway I complained for a few minutes that my legs are scratched but we got on the original trail and we made up ;) then we made it to the bottom safely. It was fun and not that difficult unless your fiancé decides to make their own trail. Then your relationship might get tested a bit. It was great though will do it again someday. Oh and we ran into a tarantula spider it was super huge and hairy. Adorable fella. My fiancé wanted to touch it... he’s a trouble maker :I
Anyway pretty exciting hike it gets cold at night in the fall. The parking permit can be bought across the street

hiking
1 day ago

Fun Trial. The very top of the falls has a bunch of little frogs. There is no running water in the river so we found ourselves walking up the creek. If you do, make sure to have your eyes peeled for poison oak. This place has the highest concentration of it I have ever seen. Three leaves with a yellow orange green tinge! If you think you hit some put your clothes in a plastic bag when you get home to avoid spreading the oils.

backpacking
2 days ago