Barker Valley Falls (San Diego)
by Jen via Jerry Schad
This was an amazing display of nature! It's quite a long hike at about 3.5 miles each way. There are several spots to rest and swim once you reach the stream. Old Dams, beautiful trees and then continue approx 1 mile down river and you reach the FALLS!
To reach the trailhead, turn west from Highway 79 at a point 6.5 miles northwest of Warner Springs (mile 41.9 according to the roadside mileage markers). Continue up the mostly unpaved Palomar Divide Road for 7.8 miles to the Barker Valley Spur trailhead on the left (west) side. Hike for a total of 1.7 miles until the old roadbed portion of the trail switches back sharply to the left. Continue around the U-curve, and within 0.1 mile veer to the right on a newer trail that lazily zigzags down a dry slope and into oak-rimmed Barker Valley, 3.1 miles from your starting point. If you’re backpacking and looking for a campsite, they’re abundant around here. Just remember to select one at least 100 feet away from the nearest water, i.e., the West Fork San Luis Rey River.
A rugged set of falls and pools awaits adventurous hikers a mile downstream from the foot of the Barker Valley Spur Trail. These can be found just below an old stone weir and gauging station. By following rough paths traversing the steep, brushy, north canyon wall, it’s possible to reach hidden swimming holes worn in the water-polished rock. Wild trout can be found in the pools below the first falls.