"Cold Creek Falls"

Angelus Oaks, California, USA

About “Cold Creek Falls”

Hiking Distance: roadside
Suggested Time:

Date first visited: 2015-03-07
Date last visited: 2015-03-07

Waterfall Latitude: 34.15265
Waterfall Longitude: -116.96916

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

“Cold Creek Falls” was one of those obscure waterfalls that felt to us like it was our own little private waterfall to enjoy in seclusion.

This seclusion and tranquility was even more amazing considering how close it was to the busy Hwy 38 running between Redlands and Big Bear Lake.

Angelus_Oaks_079_03072015 - 'Cold Creek Falls'
‘Cold Creek Falls’

Even though the 15-20ft falls itself wasn’t particularly impressive (as you can see from the photo above), it had put us in a relaxed mood.

We even got to enjoy our little daughter playing in a snow patch next to the falls while having the place all to ourselves.

This most certainly wouldn’t have been the case with a more impressive waterfall like Big Falls further down the mountain.

Obscure Waterfall By An Obscure Road

We were only made aware of this waterfall after consulting Ann Marie Brown’s book about California Waterfalls.

However, in her entry, she had called the falls “Mill Creek Road Falls” as it was right off the Mill Creek Road when she had made her visit.

Angelus_Oaks_045_03072015 - Looking back up at the Middle Control Road from the 'Cold Creek Falls'
Looking back up at the Middle Control Road from the ‘Cold Creek Falls’

During our visit, we noticed that the same road she was referring to was now called Middle Control Road.

And as much as I was compelled to call this the “Middle Control Road Falls”, I had noticed on GoogleMaps that this waterfall was actually on Cold Creek.

Therefore, I decided to go with calling this falls “Cold Creek Falls” though I put the quotes around it since it’s an unofficial name.

Drive-to Waterfall

Also contrasting with Brown’s experience, the road leading down to the falls was actually open to traffic.

At first we didn’t realize this when we were about to walk down this unpaved road as she had done.

Angelus_Oaks_046_03072015 - Parked in the pullout in front of the 'Cold Creek Falls'
Parked in the pullout in front of the ‘Cold Creek Falls’

But that wasn’t until we saw someone driving a Camry go down the road in front of us.

So after having seen that, we then decided to just follow their lead and drive the narrow and bumpy road ourselves.

That was when we found this waterfall spilling right besides a hairpin bend on the road, which for all intents and purposes meant that “Cold Creek Falls” was a drive-to waterfall.

Experiencing “Cold Creek Falls”

“Cold Creek Falls” gently made its way down some hard bare rocks within a shadowy little north-facing corner.

It still had a fairly sizable patch of snow next to it (which our daughter enjoyed playing in very much) during our early March 2015 visit.

Angelus_Oaks_008_03072015 - Closeup look at the 'Cold Creek Falls'
Closeup look at the ‘Cold Creek Falls’

While the falls had pretty low flow, I suspect it would probably have a short season that’s completely dependent on the snow conditions and the subsequent thaw when the snowfall ends.

In our case, we had experienced high temperatures almost a week after the latest significant storm in a drought year.

So I would have expected maximal snowmelt at the time of our visit, which gives you an idea of how ephemeral this waterfall can be.

Overall, this little spot made for a nice diversion though admittedly, it probably wouldn’t be worth going out of the way for it.

In fact, after we had our fill of this waterfall, we made the detour to the nearby Big Falls before heading home.


“Cold Creek Falls” resides near Angelus Oaks and Forest Falls in San Bernardino County, California. To my knowledge, it is unincorporated and not administered by an official authority. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try to visit the San Bernardino National Forest website.

Angelus_Oaks_086_03072015 - On the narrow, bumpy, and unpaved Middle Control Road as we made our way to Cold Creek Falls
Angelus_Oaks_090_03072015 - Looking out from the Middle Control Road towards some neighboring pine trees and mountains on the way down to 'Cold Creek Falls'
Angelus_Oaks_009_03072015 - Looking towards the 'Cold Creek Falls'
Angelus_Oaks_014_03072015 - Julie checking out the 'Cold Creek Falls'
Angelus_Oaks_016_03072015 - Another look at Julie crouching as she tries to capture Cold Creek Falls on her phone
Angelus_Oaks_025_03072015 - Mom and Tahia checking out Cold Creek Falls while standing on the patch of snow
Angelus_Oaks_039_03072015 - Looking at Cold Creek Falls from a different angle
Angelus_Oaks_064_03072015 - Tahia playing in the patch of snow next to Cold Creek Falls
Angelus_Oaks_072_03072015 - Tahia playing with some rocks and things at the base of 'Cold Creek Falls' while Julie tries to capture the precious moments
Angelus_Oaks_083_03072015 - We noticed this rock formation next to both Cold Creek Falls and Middle Control Road, which hinted at the geology behind why 'Cold Creek Falls' occurred

We managed to find “Cold Creek Falls” about 0.6 miles from the start of Middle Control Road (formely Mill Creek Road).

To get here, we had to make the 90- to 120-minute drive from Los Angeles to Angelus Oaks via the 210 Freeway, then the Hwy 38.

Angelus_Oaks_084_03072015 - Context of the big pullout by the Hwy 38 and the start of the unpaved Middle Control Road leading down to the 'Cold Creek Falls'
Context of the big pullout by the Hwy 38 and the start of the unpaved Middle Control Road leading down to the ‘Cold Creek Falls’

Hwy 38 passed through some suburban developments in Redlands before twisting its way up the mountains on the way to the community of Angelus Oaks in another 15 miles (or about 5.3 miles past the turnoff for Valley of the Falls Road).

Middle Control Road leaves Hwy 38 from a very large pullout on the left almost immediately beyond the Angelus Oaks General Store and Lodge at the far northern end of the village.

It’s worth noting that had we continued driving up Hwy 38, we would wind up at Big Bear Lake after 35 miles (about an hour drive).

Find A Place To Stay

Sweep of the little waterfall on the hairpin bend on the unpaved Middle Control Road near Angelus Oaks

Tagged with: angelus oaks, san bernardino, big bear, california, southern california, waterfall, los angeles, middle control, national forest, redlands

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Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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