Holy Jim Falls. Trabuco Creek Road

Holy Jim Falls Trail. Trabuco Creek Road

Holy Jim Falls is one of the most popular hikes in Orange County.  It’s probably the only waterfall in Orange County that flows consistently the whole year.  In truth, it’s not the best hike you’ll ever do, but I think it merits at least one visit if you’re an Orange County hiker.

If you want a good chuckle, read the negative reviews of this hike on Yelp.  A lot of people show up thinking this is an easy  1-mile hike. And it is, if your car can manage the punishing 3 mile drive down Trabuco Creek Road over streams, boulders, blind curves and the occasional mountain bike jump. They’ve actually fixed up Trabuco Creek Road.  It was washed out a few years ago during a rainy season and had to be re-routed in several areas.  It feels like a 7 lane freeway now compared to how bad it used to be, but people are probably still going to complain.

There are a few good fishing spots along Trabuco Creek road. I’ve seen the locals pull a few decent size fish out of Trabuco Creek.  

If you decide not to drive down Trabuco Creek Road, consider mountain biking to the trailhead instead, but make sure the trail is dry because the mud can get insane after a rainstorm. Also, bring a lock for your bike so you can chain it up at the trailhead. I usually chain my bike to a tree behind the fire station. Walking down this road can really suck with all the cars speeding past and kicking up dirt in your face.

Once you make past the fire station building to the actual Holy Jim trailhead, the hike is approximately 1.5 miles each way to the falls.  This is a popular hike, so you’ll probably see other people hiking on the trail.  I won’t bother with instructions, because you’re in a canyon, so you can’t really get lost.  Holy Jim Falls is probably between 20-25 feet tall, but the forest here is verdant and lush, which is atypical of the rest of Orange County.  The moisture in this canyon makes it a good place for bugs and salamanders.  A lot of people complain about mosquitoes in Trabuco Canyon, another uncharacteristic feature for Orange County.  As with all waterfalls, this hike is better after a few days of good rain if you really want to see Holy Jim in  it's full subtle grandeur.

Directions to Holy Jim Falls trail-head:
The trail head for Holy Jim Falls is located at the end of Trabuco Creek Road in Trabuco California. The best way to find Trabuco Creek Road is to use a GPS and locate the intersection of Trabuco Creek and Trabuco Canyon Road. The roads in this area can be confusing because they change names for no reason.  If you don’t have a GPS, I would highly advise printing off a little map of the roads in Trabuco. 

Holy Jim Falls

Trabuco Creek Road to Holy Jim Falls

Holy Jim Falls Trail

Holy Jim Falls Trail Map
Holy Jim Fire Dept
Also nearby: Falls Canyon Falls

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