A stream that flows yearlong through Lopez Canyon into Lopez Lake, lush streamside vegetation, and chaparral-covered slopes and peaks that rise above the canyon are the prime ingredients in the lightly visited Santa Lucia Wilderness. Elevations range from about 800 feet down in Lopez Canyon to about 3,000 feet near Hi Mountain Lookout at the eastern end. Hiking the Lopez Canyon Trail along the stream will expose you to a wide assortment of vegetation, including stands of ancient oaks, much of them flourishing where a wildfire raged in 1985. You can access the 5.3 miles of the Lopez Canyon Trail from East Cuesta Ridge and find pleasant campsites near the stream. Two 3.5-mile trails descend near Little Falls (with its 50-foot waterfall) and Big Falls (with a pair of dramatic waterfalls) into the canyon from the southern boundary. The Wilderness extends onto 1,733 acres of BLM land.

hiking
4 hours ago

Well I attempted to do the hike but I wasn't feeling comfortable in my little 94 toyota pickup ( with rear wheel drive) crossing all the creeks. as of a few days ago the deepest crossing that I encountered was 1 ft deep and about 30 ft long. I'll attempt the hike again in a month or so, hoping the creeks dry up just a tad. And ill attempt to put weight in the back of my truck so i can handle better in the creeks. Definitely would recommend a 4x4 or if not experience crossing creeks

great hike, water shoes came in handy when crossing the creeks.

beautiful trail, take mosquito repellent

Great hike!

hiking
28 days ago

absolutely awesome! if you dont have a truck, SUV or 4x4 walk through the 13 creeks. creek#7 can be deep for a sedan. bathing suit is not must but comes handy :) (watch for snakes and lots of poison oak and poison ivy) other than that.... enjoy the hike!

be aware this is a dirt road hike, not an actual trail.

good. but crossing the creeks killed my friends car. I know not smart!

hiking
6 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

Small cliff jumping was fun

8 months ago

This was a wonderful trail. Per other recommendations we only went up the trail to see the two falls (just over a mile), making the round trip just over two. The last mile is apparently overgrown with poison oak and extremely steep with an end that doesn't compare to the rest of the trail.

First, the warning about having a high clearance four wheel drive vehicle is no joke. Aside from the gravel and bumps, we counted about 10 creek crossings of varying sizes. We were completely fine in a Wrangler, but many cars wouldn't have been able to make it.

We did this hike in October during a slight drizzle and it was beautiful. There were actually fall colors and water in the creek (not enough water for the falls thou). However the wonderful fall feeling as you descend into this canyon is otherworldly for Cali.

Be careful of the newts (or salamanders - we weren't sure which they were) because they were everywhere and we almost stepped on a few! Oh and we wished we had hiking poles. There were a couple of points where we had to hike across streams - the rocks were slippery and poles would've helped.

I imagine most people will do this trail in spring when the water will be highest, but honestly I loved fall here more. Plus the added benefit was that we only saw 2 other groups total.

hiking
9 months ago

This is my favorite local hike. The location of the trailhead on the map and using directions is accurate. You need a high clearance vehicle. There is a wide spot to park at the top of the hill and the trail starts across the road on the northwest side of the gate. The hike is entirely within wilderness so no bikes. There are oak trees near the trailhead and 1.8 miles in at Hi Valley. Climb to the lookout tower and feel like you've accomplished something. The trail is currently very brushy - I bled wearing shorts.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

kind of hard to find the actual entrance to the trail and the locals don't know much about it either and there are no trail entrance markings. we just ended up walking HI Mountain Rd trying to find it. Also, you will have NO Signal so GPS, this app or other guiding devices don't work.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

went today with my friends it was a great little hike. The waterfall wasnt falling like I thought it would be it was trickling. overall had a fun morning and would go back. Beware of the overgrown Poisson oak near the big waterfall and the road to get to the trailhead cuts through the river so trucks or 4x4 recommended no standard cars or you might have trouble going through the water.

hiking
Monday, May 30, 2016

Beautiful area. It's a fairly easy walk in most areas we took our 21/2 and 5 year old. Some areas there were high cliff areas so adult needed to hold their hands other than that they did well.

Caution on the poison oak.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

hiking
Saturday, March 26, 2016

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.