Explore the most popular birding trails near Arroyo Grande with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
2 months ago

4x4 not require to access trail, but high vehicle clearance is definitely needed. In the Summer, you won't see much water, but any other time of year, the streams will be really bad. 2 weeks after a storm there were about 12 streams we crossed on the drive. Poison oak is rampant out there, as well, so be forewarned. However, the hike is fun. Far out, secluded, and has a nice payoff in the form of a rocky waterfall area where you can sit around.

hiking
3 months ago

Not bad of a hike, but a pretty view on the drive up. 4x4 not necessary but would recommend having a high clearance vehicle. Trail head very easy to find and clear trail. Started hike at 7am and saw 50+ salamanders on the trail. About 100ft from the waterfall, not very visible until you head back, is a trail that leads you to the top of the waterfall. Long pants/ sleeves recommended because there is a lot of poison oak/ivy that crosses into the trail. There’s a few water pools along the way that you could swim/wade in.

hiking
3 months ago

Trail requires 4x4 and high water clearance. During rainy season or after a decent rain storm you cross about five streams. Once at the trail head hike is somewhat easy although some moderate climbs to get to the falls. Lots of poison oak along the trail. Wear long pants and use Technu after the hike to make sure you don’t get poison oak.

5 months ago

Easy hike, very secluded. Pretty falls!

Drove through rivers to get to trailhead. No waterfall at end, was super disappointed.

hiking
6 months ago

Trail was clear and passable up to the falls (did not go further).

Lots of water in the river crossings on the road to the trailhead. Recommend high clearance vehicle.

off road driving
9 months ago

Only giving it one star because it’s closed. Los Padres says it’s open but when we got there it was closed.

Lots and lots of flies up and back on the trail.

hiking
10 months ago

Me and my 8 year old daughter hiked this last year. Definitely need to go back in spring when there is more water. We still swam with the Nox Turtles and Salamanders. Scenic trail, but watch out for Poison Oak.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Solid trail. Falls stops falling by July. Even in a very wet year. Still plenty of swimming holes and cliff jump options along the way

hiking
Monday, June 26, 2017

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

Sunday, June 11, 2017

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

Monday, May 29, 2017

Great hike!

hiking
Monday, May 29, 2017

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!

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Great for kids, easy with good views

I drove to the trailhead and it's private property now.

hiking
Friday, November 11, 2016

Small cliff jumping was fun

Monday, November 07, 2016

Awesome drive up hill. Very narrow trail when you're up on the hill. Nice view once up top. Had to turn back half way because I was running low on gas. Will need to go back to complete it

Sunday, October 16, 2016

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
Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Simple trail. Very kid and dog friendly. Finished quickly.

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.

off road driving
Wednesday, November 04, 2015

very easy trail. well mantained. there is only one difficult section called the stair steps, but it has a bypass. very tight trail towards the end, so expect scratches. steep rocky hill climbs with loose dirt. did it easily in my samurai with 3" lift on 31s with open diffs. i included a link to my youtube video going down the stairsteps

hiking
Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Beautiful and serene hike, but let's be honest, half the fun was getting there. On the drive in, passed by wild turkey and deer. Definitely glad I had a high clearance vehicle for the water crossings. Will definitely be back!

hiking
Friday, May 29, 2015

Big Falls Trail is a lovely hike in a wooded canyon in the Santa Lucia Wilderness area. The hardest part of the hike is the drive to the trailhead, as the last few miles of Upper Lopez Canyon Road are on a narrow dirt road that crosses back and forth across Lopez Creek about a dozen times. You will definitely need a high clearance vehicle to reach the trailhead, although 4WD is normally not required.

The trail itself leads up-canyon to two waterfalls: Lower Big Falls and Upper Big Falls. When I visited the area in late May, the lower falls were still flowing, but Upper Big Falls were not. The trail is clear up to the upper falls, although there is a tremendous amount of poison oak along both sides of the trail in most places. Be sure to look for the abundant salamanders and pond turtles in the pools below the waterfalls.

It's possible to continue further up the trail to eventually reach Hi Mountain Lookout Road, but this section of the trail is rumored to be heavily overgrown with poison oak and other brush.

We did the whole Duna Vista loop. took us about 5 hours with short breaks here and there. seems longer than 7 miles on foot. We started from the the end of high mountain rd in lopez. Great way to burn some calories for the day.

mountain biking
Monday, November 18, 2013

Great ride with Steep sections towards the top. The ride is singletrack the whole way with wonderful views. Make due to check out the net spur off the top after/before checking out the Duna Vista.

Nice trails. You have to pay to get into Lopez lake. Was told there was another way to access the trails on the backside but wasn't sure what road to take. Lots of spurs and trails that connect so pay attention to the signs.

hiking
Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Took a partial hike of the Dune Vista loop. The weather was wonderful and trail was quiet and empty except for the two deer we came across. Great day and a great trail.

From Lopez Lake, drive on Hi-Mountain Road until you turn left of Upper Lopez Road. Take this road until you get to the Boy Scout Camp on the left side of the road and walk through this property, following the Duna Vista signs. It's a rolling hike with some good steep areas. Mountain bikers also use this road and come flying down some of the hills. The top of Duna Vista will give a bench to sit on while viewing Lopez Lake, the dunes at Oceano and the Pacific Ocean. Beautiful. Great workout for sure. Bring lots of water, especially on a warm day.

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