Harding Falls Trail is a 5.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Silverado, California that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October.
Did this on 4/11/17. This hike has a lot of rock hopping but it wasn't too bad because you could always see the bottom of the water bed, so if you slipped, you might just step down to your knees in water. What I felt uncomfortable with were the snakes. I went with a friend and we encountered 3 snakes. 2 quietly left as we approached, but 1 was a rattlesnake and it most definitely rattled to tell us to back away. I highly recommend poles to help with the spring crossings but also because you can use them to clear the path before you to check for snakes as well as create more vibrations in the ground so the snakes know you are around. We only made it to the pool and didn't go to the falls as we felt adequately spooked by all our snake encounters.
At the fork, head down by the river bed (left not right up hill). They are right, it's hard but worth it!
Great hike! Be prepared for wet shoes, no cell coverage, and tough to find trails. The trails are easier to find on the way back. I can only imagine the low ratings for the difficulties. I find it more of a challenge personally. The waterfall is nothing exciting, but the hike is tough. Just after 1/2 way there your pace becomes very slow. Just remember your best way forward may be crossing the water several times. I went through just over 2 liters of water in 55 to 70 degree weather. Stay to the left after a short hike up the Harding truck trail to switch to the falls trail. Then head right at the bottom.
It was tough. But we could not find away to the top from the last 3/4 mile. Too steep and we kept falling back. Wet and muddy so no traction. So we back tracked and and headed up the normal trail towards Flores peak.
Definitely a tough Hike as I ended up doing a little over 6 miles. There is a LOT of overgrowth and the trail just keeps going and going. The fact that it just rained was awesome as there was plenty of rushing water.