Black Star Canyon Trail

HARD 885 reviews

Black Star Canyon Trail is a 6.8 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Silverado, California that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

6.8 miles
925 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly



mountain biking

nature trips

trail running







wild flowers






Black Star Canyon Trail, a lesser known hiking trail in Orange County of Southern California, is a fun hike to Black Star Canyon Falls. The trail can be accessed off of Highway 241 at Santiago Canyon and after a few miles you will tunf left onto Silvarado Canyon and then left onto Black Star Canyon Road. You can park along the road. Black Star Canyon is an important archaeological site and holds a great deal of history. The canyon was home to the Black Star Coal Mining Company in the 1800s, from which its name is derived. There was also an armed conflict in 1831 between American fur trappers, led by William Woldskill, and a group of native Americans called the Tongva. This was the bloodiest battle in history of the Santa Ana Mountains The trail starts off on a dirt road and then follows Black Star Creek toward the falls. The last portion of the hike requires boulder hopping up the stream bed to reach Black Star Canyon Falls. This hike is best experienced after heavy rain, as high flow is usually in the rainy season and can be only a trickle during summer and fall. There is heavy poison oak in the area so proceed with caution.

4 days ago

Great little hike. Lots of scrambling over rocks. There wasn't any water when we went, but the canyon and the cave were still really neat. Definitely 420 friendly. Lots of people playing music while hiking.

5 days ago

best local hike orange county in my opinion.

5 days ago

Did this on 5/13/18
No water yet, also my first time doing it on a weekend and I couldn't believe how many people are blasting their speakers the whole time. still my favorite hike in OC

I wouldn't rate this trail as "hard", but it is fun! there's an awesome little cave and waterfall you can climb into at the end

7 days ago

Great hike! The beginning is flat but the end to the waterfall is tons of boulders, poison oak, and rattle snakes. Worth the hike.

8 days ago

Pretty environment quiet nice trails you can continue uphill for a long way

13 days ago

Always top choice for the girlfriend as I , we go there mountain biking or hiking

19 days ago

The first 1.75 miles is a road that leads up to the actual trail. The actual trail is a long rock scramble.... so much fun. We made it in about 3.25 miles and then doubled back... Not bad with two kids, 7 and 8 years old. They loved the rock scramble but didn't care for the long boring walk to get there.

I look forward to going back and getting to the very end,

25 days ago

Ok trail but if you are looking for trees or shade forget it. Cool rocks to climb and interesting things along the way. Old cars and houses that look abandoned. No trespassing signs, creepy feeling along the way. Dirt road walk half the time before you get to the creek and trail. Did it on a rainy day which is rare. Once you do it, read online about this place’s history....

1 month ago

1 month ago

Great climbing!

1 month ago

First some practical information:

- Total distance 9.6 miles
- Take plenty of water (5-6 bottles)
- Take a flashlight and bug spray
- Take reliable footwear
- Expect to walk about 3.5 miles of dirt road before you reach the trail
- Take a right where sign reads "Black Star Falls" (Yes it is off-road)
- Take a left when you reach riverbed
- Expect to scale large rocks and boulders
- Expect to be able to do a pull-up
- Take a left where next sign reads "Falls" and the trail splits
- Expect to keep going
- Yes there is a waterfall (Depending on weather conditions and time of year it may or may not be active)

My round-trip completion time: 3 hours and 15 minutes

Black Star Canyon! Certainly one of the most challenging excursions in Orange County, as well as one of the most invigorating. The hike literally begins at a security gate where most choose to park their vehicles. Depending on the time of the day, it can be an arduous task making your way up the steady incline of a well traveled and flora encompassed dirt path. The approximately 3.5 mile stretch of trail will afford you not only some breathtaking landscapes, but with the physical preliminaries your muscles will require for the formidable climb to come. A beacon of the dirt paths transition point is marked by a post, reading "Black Star Falls". This somewhat clandestine sign can certainly be missed, if the traveler isn't particularly observant. The mouth of this route swallows its visitors whole, as one first steps down into the bowels of the flora encapsulated throat. Taking each each step down a staircase comprised of beaten earth and rubble, one might reflect on Black Star's fascinating history. After all, this region of the Santa Ana Mountains was once frequented by and home to the Tongva-Gabrielino natives; an American Indian tribe that established settlement in Southern California nearly 3,500 years ago. But, I digress. Once you've made your way to the riverbed, you have a plethora of ways you can make your ascent--making it that much more appealing to an adventurous hiker/climber. The roughly 1.3 mile journey to the waterfall will continually defy its visitors, presenting them with progressively larger and steeper rock-faces and boulders to climb. After a time, one should come to a split off in their course; this is made apparent by an erected make-shift post. Visitors are able to discern which direction to continue travel, by the arrow pointing left and the post reading "Falls". From this point it is about a 20-25 minute hike, until one should reach their destination; along with that will come three significantly large rock-faces--each larger than the last. The final rock-face will obstruct a direct line of sight to the waterfall. This only makes the final hurdle all the more worthwhile and gratifying. When you reach the waterfall, it's as if you've entered into a secluded paradise--one reserved only for those willing to brave the hardship to reach it. The air rich with the scent of moisture from the eventuality of a nourishing river. This miniature exotic expanse, is--for a moment--ones slice of Eden.

Thank you for reading!

1 month ago

Definitely bring lots of water and the proper shoes. I'll probably come back when there's water.

2 months ago

Great fun! Lots of rocks!

2 months ago

No water this time of year, but I️t was a fun challenge to climb the boulders to get the the cave. Beautiful scenery, The cave smelled like a sewer but I would imagine I️t being beautiful during the rainy season

2 months ago

2 months ago

great trail if you like rocks!

2 months ago

This is an awesome hike! Goes from easy trail to climbing up rock walls of the river bed. So much fun! Don’t forget water!

2 months ago

Great hiking trail !
If you're looking for some rock climbing I definitely recommend this hiking trail !

2 months ago

Nice trail. Will do it again when there is some water

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