Blackstar Canyon - Hidden falls of Orange County

by John Nguyen
(Tustin, CA, United States)

Blackstar Canyon Falls

Blackstar Canyon Falls

About a year ago, I was given a newspaper article describing these hidden falls in Orange County.

The article itself did not specify the exact location, so I did some hunting online. Based on random websites and blogs, I managed to calculate the directions to this spot.

Let me just say that this was NOT an easy hike. You are looking at a solid 3 to 3.5 hours of steady hiking, then boulder hopping.

HOWEVER, wait a few after the rain, the waterfall is well worth the hike! Surprise your friends and take a picture or video with yourself in it. Nobody will believe this is in Orange County!

Directions to Blackstar Canyon Falls

Coming from LA:

Take the 5 south and exit Chapman in Orange, CA. Go left into Santiago Canyon. The street turns into Hwy S18/Santiago Canyon Rd. Take the left onto Silverado Canyon Rd then the first left onto Black Star Canyon Rd. Park at the end of the road where the road block is located. From there begins the hike.

Coming from San Diego:
Take the 5 north and exit El Toro Rd. Go right and follow all the way into Santiago Canyon. The street turns into Santiago Canyon Rd. Take the right onto Silverado Canyon Rd then the first left onto Black Star Canyon Rd. Park at the end of the road where the road block is located. From there begins the hike.

THE HIKE:
Follow the dirt road that will lead you to the squatter camp which is roughly an hour's hike. There will be a larger house on the right. Walk past that. You will approach a set of large concrete pipes. THIS IS IMPORTANT, you take a right that leads down to the creek. Follow that creek and that will lead you to the falls. Be warned, there are many boulders that you will need to overcome to make it to the falls, but it's definitely worth it.

Comments for Blackstar Canyon - Hidden falls of Orange County

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May 23, 2013
Blackstar Canyon Falls
by: OP Adventure Team

I've done this hike several times and loved it! Even when there isn't much water (or any at all). Here's my review: http://opadventureteam.com/2013/01/03/black-star-canyon-waterfall-silverado-ca/

Apr 14, 2013
Great hike!!
by: lynk

Today was my first hike to the waterfall. Started out just following the river, and then there were boulders to master! Didn't think I could do it, but I was there with my 19 year old daughter and her friend, had to keep up! It was fun trying to find the ways up, it was always doable, but took some investigating. Many slips and falls, but loved getting to a small waterfall, with massive boulders in front, thinking........ummmmm...is this it? Finally found a way around the right and saw the massive waterfall, some water flowing today, was beautiful. Going back a little sketchy, sliding down rocks and tearing pants, but overall, a great 4-1/2 hr hike and well worth it.

Apr 04, 2013
Where I learned to rappel
by: Osbo

In the mid '70's this was my spot. It was owned by Socal. Edison. At the upper left I would tie to a tree, drop my rope down then slide down the rope thru the water. I would entertain the groups of hippies at the bottom then climb up and do it over and over. I would do spins off the face on the way. I taught many friends to rappel. Those were the days.

Jun 28, 2012
Black Star
by: Anonymous

Went here last year during spring(2012)... Absolute greatness. Nice long hike with a gem at the end(the falls). If you are facing the waterfall, you can get to the top of the falls by hiking up the mountain side to your right. It only takes about 7 or so minutes to do and you will end up with a beautiful view. If you can get into the cave, it's an awesome view
( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYI_zq7Votc&feature=g-upl )

Nov 01, 2011
Hiked it
by: Anonymous

Went today to the falls with my girlfriend (although it wasn't falling).

Some advice: Take a bike from the gate to the concrete pipes, it is about a 25 min - half hour ride. There is a tree at that point to lock your bike.

Today the creek was not flowing. Occasionally we came across some springs and pools of mucky water. Lots of flies and bugs. Found a newt/salamander.

The advantage of the dry falls was that it allowed us to climb into the cave. Not an easy climb into it as the fall risk was beyond great.

Started the hike at the creek around 12 15 and got back to the locked bikes at 3 30. The ride back to the gate took about 15 min. Enjoy! Don't trash this amazing place!!

Oct 14, 2011
Is there water?
by: John Nguyen

I know usually the spring time is best. As of recently, we had a little rain, but then it's been hot these past couple of days. You can go and still have a pretty fun hike through the squatter camps. During that part of the hike, have a look at the creek. You see a good amount of flow, chances are the falls are in action.

Oct 13, 2011
Advise Please
by: LY

I'm thinking of going this Saturday... think the falls is all dried up? Has anyone been recently? We did get a little rain last week.

Thanks!

Sep 22, 2011
Why the 3 hours?
by: John Nguyen

From the gate where you park until you see the squatter camp is a good solid hour walk without breaks.

Roughly fifteen minutes from there is the creek entrance after you reach the overly massive concrete pipes.

The walk along the creek is long because there is not a specific hike route. So you will have to hop back and forth and through the creek every so often.

The last third of the creek to the falls, you will be doing some extensive boulder hopping.
So keep in mind once you get to the creek, it's all uphill from there.

Hence the 3 hours, but that does include two rest spots. Hope this helps.

Sep 21, 2011
3 Hour Hike?
by: Anonymous

3 Hours 1 way? Specifics please.

Sep 07, 2011
Directions to Blackstar Canyon Falls
by: John Nguyen

Coming from LA:

Take the 5south and exit Chapman in Orange, CA. Go left into Santiago Canyon. The street turns into Hwy S18/Santiago Canyon Rd. Take the left onto Silverado Canyon Rd then the first left onto Black Star Canyon Rd. Park at the end of the road where the road block is located. From there begins the hike.

Coming from San Diego:
Take the 5north and exit El Toro Rd. Go right and follow all the way into Santiago Canyon. The street turns into Santiago Canyon Rd. Take the right onto Silverado Canyon Rd then the first left onto Black Star Canyon Rd. Park at the end of the road where the road block is located. From there begins the hike.

THE HIKE:
Follow the dirt road that will lead you to the squatter camp which is roughly an hour's hike. There will be a larger house on the right. Walk past that. You will approach a set of large concrete pipes. THIS IS IMPORTANT, you take a right that leads down to the creek. Follow that creek and that will lead you to the falls. Be warned, there are many boulders that you will need to overcome to make it to the falls, but it's definitely worth it.

Enjoy!

Aug 14, 2011
directions
by: Anonymous

Can you please post directions?! :)

Jun 08, 2011
Directions?
by: Anonymous

Wow, the falls look gorgeous. I have heard some sketchy stuff about Blackstar Canyon and hiking to Hidden Falls - but still very interested in going! How exactly do you get there? Thanks!

May 11, 2011
TECHNICAL
by: Anonymous

This was one of the most difficult hikes I have done. The technical difficulty is what gets you, distance is nothing.

I've done Vivian Creek to San Gregornio, and Black Star Canyon Falls is right up there with the accomplished hikes. It's beautiful. We cruised up the canyon, 5 hours roundtrip with hang time at the falls at 30++ minutes.

If you actually took your time, stopping and assessing your path, it could be done by the novice hiker for sure. We left at 1:00 in the afternoon and ran into hikers that had been on the trail for 3 hours and still hadn't reached the falls.

FABULOUS!!

Apr 05, 2011
The best hikes
by: Fredric L. Rice

Interesting, I have never been there. The best hikes are those that take a lnog time to get to and are not often visited by people -- no spray paint, used baby diapers, all the usual stuff we get in the San Gabriels.

The water here looks awesome, the exposed rock escarpment looks wonderful.

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