Rose Valley Falls

Los Padres National Forest / near Ojai / Ventura County, California, USA

Rating: 2     Difficulty: 1.5
Rose Valley Falls
Visiting Rose Valley Falls probably stretched the limit on what could reasonably do in a day from Los Angeles as it was probably closer to Santa Barbara than it was to downtown LA.

When we first visited this waterfall, it was merely a limestone-type waterfall, but having been a relatively dry Winter at the time, we wondered whether it would be more interesting had its taller upper tier (easily over 100ft tall) been flowing. So nearly eight years later, we made a return trip here on a day right after a full day of rain (in a year where we were having a pretty rainy Winter), and we'd have to say we weren't disappointed despite the 2.5-hour drive just to even get here.

The hike to the base of the falls was a pretty easy 0.4 miles each way. We were able to catch glimpses of the upper waterfall from the initial sections of the trail. However, as we got closer to the falls, the views of that upper waterfall became more obstructed.

One of the smaller waterfalls en route to Rose Valley Falls Anyways, when the stream was flowing well on our second visit, there was a stream crossing that required us to do a little boulder hopping to stay dry. As we got near the falls, we noticed a pair of smaller waterfalls or cascades within the main stream making some noise before we were at the base of the main 50ft or 60ft falls. Once there, its pretty mossy nature became apparent, but by this point, we were no longer be able to see the Upper Falls.

We did notice some pink rose petals near the base of the falls, but we weren't sure if they were put there by a photographer or if they were there naturally since we didn't see any roses from what we could tell in the immediate area. Nonetheless, I thought it was a fitting thing to see considering the name of this falls was Rose Valley Falls, after all.

Directions: First thing's first. To get to Rose Valley Falls from LA, you have to drive north on the 101 Freeway towards its junction with Hwy 33 near Oxnard (between Camarillo and Santa Barbara).

Then, you have to drive north on Hwy 33, which starts off as a highway before becoming a mix of streets with traffic lights and rural roads (actually even coinciding with Hwy 150) en route to Ojai. Once in the village, you turn left at the traffic light junction with Maricopa Highway. Then, you drive the next 15 miles or so along the winding and rockfall-prone Maricopa Highway (Hwy 33) into Los Padres National Forest.

Along the way, you can purchase an Adventure Pass at the Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center. All parked vehicles are supposed to display this pass, and from what we could tell, this was the most obvious place to purchase it (we didn't see a place to purchase one near the Rose Valley Campground).

After around 15 miles, you turn right at the signpost for the Rose Valley Campground and Piedras Blancas. Then continue along this road for the next three miles towards a 4-way stop sign intersection. If you miss this intersection and see the Rose Valley Gun Club, then you went too far. Turning right at the 4-way intersection, you drive a little less than a mile further into the Rose Valley Campground area where there's day-use parking at Campsite 3 and the trail begins besides Campsite 4.

En route to the campsite area, you may be able to spot the Upper Falls if you're timing's right.

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View of the Upper Rose Valley Falls as we were approaching the trailhead
The Upper Falls as seen from the trailheadThe Upper Falls as seen from the trailhead

Stream crossing during high flowStream crossing during high flow

Closer look at the Upper Falls while on trailCloser look at the Upper Falls while on trail

Arriving at the base of Rose Valley FallsArriving at the base of Rose Valley Falls

Julie right at the base of Rose Valley FallsJulie right at the base of the falls

Contextual view of Rose Valley Falls at its baseContextual view of Rose Valley Falls at its base

It looked like there were pink rose petals in the pool beneath Rose Valley FallsIt looked like there were pink rose petals in the pool beneath the falls

Frontal look at Rose Valley Falls in 2002Frontal look at Rose Valley Falls the first time we were here in 2002

Paying closer attention to Rose Valley Falls cutting through the moss wall in 2002Paying closer attention to the falls cutting through the moss wall in 2002

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Bottom up sweep from the base of the falls

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For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.

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Driving up to the snow 
Me and a friend were driving up through the 33 to see some snow because snow level had dropped a lot and hadn't been in the snow for a few years so we …

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