Romantic Waterfalls Southern California

02.7.13


Cupid's Cascades

As Valentine’s Day inches closer, remember: romance is possible without a restaurant reservation. Pack a picnic and take a short stroll to a sweetheart of a waterfall. Here’s a trio of tumbling beauties worth swooning over.


Heart Rock Seeley Creek Falls

Heart of Stone

If the pressure’s on to present a rock this Valentine’s Day, don’t panic. Make the magic happen via a half-mile hike to Heart Rock at Seeley Creek Falls in the San Bernardino Mountains. Here you’ll find a perfectly symmetrical heart-shaped granite bowl carved by nature at the crest of the 25-foot waterfall (can you spot it in the photo?). Set out down the Seeley Creek Trail, descending along the namesake stream through Jeffrey pines and black oaks. Currently, the brook slices through a blanket of white snow covering the forest floor. Your walk through this wonderland ends on an overlook above Seeley Creek Falls. This is the best vantage for seeing both the falls and Heart Rock—a slice of eye candy that’s more intriguing than a box of mixed chocolates. If the creek’s flow has some good mojo you’re in for some extra bling: water flows into the crown of the heart and free falls out the bottom. Sweet heart for your sweetheart.

Take Route 138 north of Crestline to Camp Seeley (map) and turn west up Forest Service Road 2N03. Continue .4 mile to the trailhead (labeled 4W07) on the right, where the road becomes gated. Because Seeley Creek flows over Forest Service Road 2N03, you may wish to park along Route 138 and walk the extra distance to the trailhead. Follow Seeley Creek Trail along the left bank of the creek, reaching an outcropping above the waterfall after .5 mile. Display an Adventure Pass on your vehicle. Dog friendly!

Rose Valley Falls Santa Ynez Mountains

Rose Delivery

Some roses are more impressive than others, and we’re not talking red versus yellow. Tucked in the Santa Ynez Mountains north of Ojai, Rose Valley Falls is a two-tier, tumbling water spectacle totaling 300 feet. A half-mile hike gets you to the base of the lower tier, which slides down a mossy wall surrounded by California laurels. Don’t continue up the steep canyon walls toward the upper falls as the arkosic sandstone crumbles easily (broken bones are bound to break hearts). Instead, head downstream and pick a spot to chill out among a pair of pleasant cascades below the main waterfall. Rose Valley Falls Trail runs parallel to the creek, so it’s easy to get back to it once you’ve had your fill of off-trail chilling. This rose is in full bloom.

CAMPING BONUS: The trail to Rose Valley Falls begins from Rose Valley Campground where there are nine first-come, first-served sites. There’s no campground fee other than a National Forest Adventure Pass for your vehicle.

From Ojai, drive northwest on Route 33 into the Los Padres National Forest, passing the Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center 8 miles north of town, where you can purchase an Adventure Pass. Go another 6.7-miles, and at mile marker 25.84 turn right on Sespe River Rd./Rose Valley Rd. Drive 3.1 miles and turn right again at the Rose Valley Campground sign, onto Rose Valley Lake Rd. The road ends at the campground after .6 mile, where the trail begins (map). Hike .5 mile up Rose Valley Falls Trail, which ends at the base of the lower falls. Display an Adventure Pass in your parked vehicle. Dog friendly!

Meyberg Waterfall LA Arboretum

Be Meyberg Valentine

Why give your lover a bouquet when you can give an entire collection of flora, and toss in a waterfall for extra credit. The Los Angeles Arboretum and Botanical Gardens in Arcadia wows with 127 acres of plant life. Just a half-mile stroll from the entrance, Meyberg Waterfall also makes a nice impression. Built on a hillside festooned with tropical and temperate plants, this oasis was designed to be Zen. A tumbling creek flows down a hillside of Japanese maples and pink trumpet trees before making a 15-foot plunge into a shallow pool surrounded by flowing cascades. A set of stairs next to Meyberg leads up to Mountain Vista, where views sweep north toward the San Gabriel Mountains. Sweet!

BONUS: Turn the romance dial to eleven by also checking out the ducks on Tule Pond, seeing the coast redwoods in the prehistoric forest, kicking back on the porch of the ornate Queen Anne Cottage (resembling something straight out of Alice in Wonderland), and watching peacocks strut around the Peacock Café.

The Los Angeles Arboretum is located at 301 N. Baldwin Ave. in Arcadia just south of I-210 (map). Parking is free and admission is $8 for adults and $3 for children 5 to12 (kids under 4 are free). You will be given a park map at the entrance, and there are several “you are here” maps posted around the park. Turn left at the first intersection inside the park to make your way to the waterfall. The arboretum is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., last admission at 4:30 p.m. No dogs.

Banff Mountain Film Festival

Adventure 16 is bringing the largest, most prestigious mountain film festival in the world to Southern California! The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour takes you off the beaten path for extraordinary adventures exploring the edge of the believable. Tickets are on sale now at all Adventure 16 store locations—$15 per person (or buy online, below). Just be sure to get them before they’re gone! From adventures in remote landscapes and mountain cultures to adrenaline-fueled action sports, these award-winning and audience-favorite films will inspire and amaze you: check out this video for a sample of the provocative travel stories and gripping action tales you’ll see. Journey to exotic locations, paddle the wildest waters, and climb the highest peaks. You’ll be thrilled, moved, humbled, and exhilarated by the amazing big-screen stories. Get your tickets ($15/person) and get ready to be taken to the most captivating places on earth.

Get Tickets: Click on dates below to purchase tickets online. (Tickets are also available at Adventure 16 Stores.)

Adventure 16, West Los Angeles Store (Happy 1/2 Hour included—this showing only!) 

John Adams Middle School, Santa Monica

La Paloma Theatre, Encinitas

San Diego Natural History Museum, Balboa Park

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