It was one of those rare off-season days where a couple of friends and I all had the same day off and felt motivated enough for a solid day trip. Being that we all grew up around a lot of trees but now live in and around the beach, every so often we all get a strong desire to get away from the ocean to replenish ourselves with a taste of pine-tinged mountain air. While Orange County / Los Angeles might not initially seem like a good place to get your fix for the forest, the area actually does have a lot of wooded gems scattered. On this day we opted for a mellow hike out to Hermit Falls for some rock jumping and natural water slides.
We picked up our friend in Pasadena and at his suggestion tried out Burrito Express. We all opted for burritos so we wouldn’t be too bogged down and could save a bit if we wanted something to save for our hike. Everything was delicious and the service was swift, friendly and efficient.
Back on the road we ascended into Angeles County Forest, found some parking at Chantry Flats and headed down into the shaded trail. The hike had its ups and downs but the trail is well maintained and on an off-season day wasn’t too crowded. On weekends or at the peak of summer, traffic can be quite heavy and loud. We made it out to the falls without too much strain and despite the drought, there was still enough water to hit the slides and make the jumps, which for the higher one is about 50 feet up. DEFINITELY make sure the water is deep enough before doing the jump. It is very easy to get injured or die doing this jump. The slides connect two descending pools which empty into a third larger pool which is where you jump into for the lower jump. Above it all there is a small, fairly still pool that doesn’t get as much foot traffic and is a good place for a post-hike / post-burrito nap.
After a few hours of jumping, water sliding, and soaking up some sun, we packed back up and headed back to the car.
If you’re going to bring food, please pack it back out along with any other trash you may have brought in. There aren’t trash cans up at the falls and the garbage can attract wildlife such as bears, which can endanger fellow hikers as well as the bears.
You’ll need a $5 Adventure Pass to display when leaving your car parked. These are sold a handful of places and depending where you’re coming from, should be fairly easy to obtain.
You might want to bring sun screen, a towel, lunch, and sunglasses. It’s pretty shaded at spots but the falls get a lot of sun. So if you’re planning on sunbathing, might as well make yourself comfortable and be prepared.