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Chiquito Falls

A strenuous 9 mile out-and-back hike that visits two beautiful seasonal waterfalls in Orange County.
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Rating: 4 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Strenuous
Length: 8.6 miles
Duration: Half day

Overview :  When you think of hiking in Orange County, you don’t usually envision dramatic waterfalls. But during the spring, there are a number... more »

Tips:  Bring the Ten Essentials. You're in the wilderness.

Watch for rattlesnakes, especially when the temperatures rise.

You'll need an ... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Trailhead

The trailhead for the San Juan Loop (the trail you'll be using initially) begins in the northeast corner of the parking lot.

2. San Juan Falls

These falls can be crowded on weekends, mainly because they are so close to the trailhead. I suggest skipping these, leaving the crowds behind and enjoying Chiquito Falls

3. Trail Junction

Watch for a spur to the right, then boulder hop across the creek to pickup the trail.

If you connect back to Ortega Highway, you went too far.

4. Crossing a small tributary

This is usually no more than a trickle at this point. From here on, you'll begin climbing up and enjoy full sun exposure. You brought a hat and sunscreen, right?

5. Soak in the panoramic view

Looking south, you can see Ortega Highway (now far below you) and Sitton Peak across the way.

6. Chiquito Falls

Watch for the spur to the left that takes you to the top of the falls. The main trail continues on and hooks up with the San Juan Trail.

Chiquito Falls slows to a trickle in the summer, so the best time to visit is in the spring after the winter rains. There are great places to sit and enjoy your lunch, and you can easily boulder scramble to the... More