Holy Jim Canyon Trail

MODERATE 276 reviews
#2 of 86 trails in

Holy Jim Canyon Trail is a 2.9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Corona, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

2.9 miles
675 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly



mountain biking

nature trips

trail running





wild flowers



This may be Orange County's most popular family hike despite the washboarded road leading to it. Nature was profaned here by the swear words flooding from the mouth of "Cussin' Jim" Smith or "Holy Jim" as he was renamed by tightlaced government surveyors who mapped the canyon in the early 1900s. Another bit of history marks the place: the last wild California Grizzly -- an old bear named "the honey thief" -- was killed at the mouth of Trabuco Canyon after robbing beehives here in 1907. Heavy winter rains are essential to a pleasant journey. Along the way, you will see many small cascades and cross the stream several times before you reach the split where the main trail ascends to the Main Divide Road to the left and the trail to the waterfall shoots off to the right. Watch for poison oak as you scramble over the last quarter of a mile to the twenty foot falls. This may not sound like much, but Holy Jim Falls is a chapel in the brush.

2 hours ago

Don't bring your good car. 4-5 miles of washboard, potholes, water crossings, dips... you get the idea.
But the trail is fun. Limited parking.
Nice to see water in the waterfall at trail's end.
Lots of dogs today. I'm Ok with that.

6 hours ago

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13 days ago

One of my favorites to hike. real crowded these days. Watch out for the rattlesnakes.

14 days ago

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1 month ago

1 month ago

Love this trail whether I'm running it or just taking it easy. It's a must visit, also a few spots that are awesome for those with off-road vehicles!

1 month ago

I'm a beginner when it comes to hiking. My fiance and a couple friends (one of whom is 7 months pregnant) and I decided to give this hike a shot.

The road in wasn't too bad. My buddy's truck made it down no problem (but he took it real slow since his wife is pregnant). I took my Mazda 3 sedan. I bottomed out once on the way back out, but it was my own fault, I should have picked a slightly different path. No damage to the car though, just an ugly noise when it scraped a little.

The hike itself was great. We got there a little later than we wanted to and parking was tight. There were plenty of people on the trail with us. There was also a crew out there clearing vegetation from the side of the trail.

The stream crossings weren't bad. The pregnant lady wore tom's shoes and just walked through the water, but the rest of us tried our best to keep our feet dry. Towards the end though, we all ended up with wet feet.

There were plenty of places for us to stop and rest on the trail (though we only stopped twice). It got a little more challenging at the very end of the trail, but not too bad. Everyone was able to make it up to the falls with out issue.

The falls were flowing pretty well, so it was very crowded with people. Our group spent about 5 minutes up at the falls and then walked about 40 feet from the falls and sat on a fallen tree and had a snack while dipping our feet in the stream.

After snack time was over we headed back out. We took our time leaving and explored some of the various culverts that were along the stream.

There were also a million lady bugs flying around so we spent some time catching and releasing them.

Overall it was a pretty great hike and I look forward to visiting the falls again at some point. As several people on the trail said "If a pregnant lady can do, anyone can!"

1 month ago

1 month ago

1 month ago

The road to the trailhead, Trabuco Canyon, is gravel at the start and then turns into a dirt road. A 4x4 vehicle would have made this a cinch, but it's still doable in a sedan, which is what we took. There are some pot holes to look out for and a couple of sketchy ruts that sneak up on you, so take it slow if in a regular car, there's no rush.

We got to the trailhead at 10:30 am on a Tuesday. There were quite a few trucks parked along the road for fishing, but we seemed to be the first hikers on the trail that day. We were quickly passed by a few other groups (we lollygag), and ran into a few more hikers on the way out, but traffic was generally light this day.

Our Tuesday was sunny and humid, so what we expected to be an easy peasy hike seemed strangely exhausting, but I don't blame it on the trail. The first part of the hike is up a road with homes. The final home before the trailhead leaves out free water and asks for a donation to help keep the trail clean and maintained (they also have a sign saying to report any emergencies there, so maybe a volunteer ranger?).

The rest of the trail is beautiful and peaceful, with plants that form tunnels to walk through and ferns along the creek. The falls are running well, but are generally small. They were still nice to have a snack at and enjoy the peace.

1 month ago

1 month ago

Nice hike, many streams and waterfalls. My lab enjoyed it!

1 month ago

Fun hike!