Heart Rock Falls (more formally known as Seeley Creek Falls) is known not so much for its tiny 20ft waterfall but its nearly perfect heart-shaped depression right next to it. It's one of those features you marvel at because of how such a man-made shape could exist amidst the chaos and seemingly randomness of Mother Nature. It's definitely one of the more unique waterfall experiences we've had, and for that reason, it's also memorable enough for us to include it at one point on our Top 10 So Cal Waterfalls List!
Given the relative lack of signage, we suspected that this waterfall was really more of a locals' waterfall or known to those who stay at the nearby (private) Camp Seeley. Both times we've visited this falls (once in late March 2005 at midday and another on Easter Sunday 2010 in the morning), there weren't many people around (at least certainly nowhere near the numbers seen at the more known waterfalls in the Southland).
Getting to the falls will probably require a bit of driving (since I'd imagine most visitors to this site don't live in or near Crestline or other mountain communities in the San Bernardino Mountains). We probably spent a little more time driving than the actual time on the trail itself.
As for the hike, we started near a sewage pipe cover on an open lot across the creek from Camp Seeley. From there, we meandered along a pretty well-used footpath leading past the outer reaches of the camp property (you'll be passing by a swimming pool) before the actual trail began in earnest. As we meandered about on the trail, we noticed that tall pine trees towered over us. We also noticed that we were following Seeley Creek downstream (yep, it's an upside down hike). The distance we traveled was roughly one-mile each way (two miles round trip) to the Heart Rock Falls.
On our first trip to the falls, we thought it was pretty easy to miss the spur "trail" or scramble to the rocky ledge overlooking both the heart-shaped depression and the Seeley Creek Falls (especially if no one else was around to provide a hint as to where to go). The only other hint that there was something down there was by the loudness of the rushing waters of Seeley Creek itself. Julie and my Mom once accidentally missed the spur trail and kept going before the trail ended up joining with some road (and missed the falls altogether until they backtracked).
At the overlook ledge itself, we definitely had to exercise caution because of how narrow the ledge was and high up the dropoffs were. We could easily envision how someone could take a real nasty spill into the little slot canyon right at the plunge pool of the falls down below us. It was for this reason that you might notice in some of the photos on this page were composed in such a way that the falls tended to hug the cliff on the right. We simply didn't want to risk going further out towards the drop-offs for a cleaner shot (though theoretically, I suppose it is possible if you've got more of a death wish).
In addition to the ledge view, there was a fairly easy path that continued from the ledge area towards the plunge pool at the base of the Heart Rock Falls itself. Somehow we didn't notice this option the first time, but the last time we were here, we were glad to have finally found it. That was because from here, we could see the attractive falls nestled between the polished granite rock cliffs with the clear pool fronting the scene with the sounds of moving water providing that soothing background white noise appropriate for the scene. We couldn't see the heart-shaped depression from here, but it was definitely a more relaxing spot (as opposed to the narrow ledge above) to enjoy the falls before making the return to the car.
To get to the trailhead from the I-605/I-210 junction near Monrovia or Duarte (about 25 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles), drive east on the 210 Freeway (well east of the I-15) getting off at North Waterman Ave (Hwy 138). Head north towards the mountains on Hwy 138 as it winds its way up into the San Bernardino Mountains (note: the relatively fast speed limit and four-lane highway despite the curviness of the road is due to the fact that this is a thoroughfare for Crestline, Lake Arrowhead, Big Bear Lake, and other mountain communities). As the road climbs up to over 3000ft or 4000ft, pay attention to the junction of Hwy 18 and 138 (it can get confusing here so take your time and keep right on the slow lane).
Take the exit on the right for Hwy 138 (the thoroughfare continues on as Hwy 18 if you miss this exit), and continue driving north on Hwy 138 for roughly 2.5 miles (you'll be going through the western outskirts of Crestline as well as through the town of Valley of Enchantment). Just north of the town, there'll be a well-signed entrance on the left for Camp Seeley. Take this entrance, and just before the private car park for Camp Seeley, veer left onto a narrow road going past a concrete ford over Seeley Creek.
Once you're past the ford, keep an eye out on your right for an open area near a sewage pipeline cover as well as a trail starting beneath some small power lines. Note that you're now across the creek from Camp Seeley from here. Look for parking somewhere within this open space.
Alternatively, the first time Julie and I went here in 2005, we took the I-15 north (from Ontario) exiting at the Hwy 138 and turned right (in the direction of Silverwood Lake; note that turning left here would lead you to Mountain High Ski Resort). Then, we followed the 138 all the way to the Camp Seeley entrance which would now be on the right just before entering the town of Valley of Enchantment.
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What Other Visitors Have Said
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Heart Rock Falls I absolutely loved the scenery of this whole hike and destination. It was very confusing to get there and we had to make a few U-Turns, but it was definitely …