Heart Rock Falls (Seeley Creek Falls)

Crestline / Valley of Enchantment, California, USA

About Heart Rock Falls (Seeley Creek Falls)


Hiking Distance: 2 miles round trip (1.2 miles round trip from old parking lot)
Suggested Time: 60-75 minutes

Date first visited: 2005-03-26
Date last visited: 2020-02-16

Waterfall Latitude: 34.26246
Waterfall Longitude: -117.30464

Find Nearby Accommodation



Booking.com

join-booking-970x240-1.jpg

Heart Rock Falls (more formally known as Seeley Creek Falls) was known not so much for its tiny 25-30ft waterfall but its nearly perfect heart-shaped depression right next to it.

It was one of those features that made us marvel at it because of how such a seemingly man-made shape could exist amidst the chaos and randomness of Mother Nature.

Heart_Rock_Falls_045_04042010 - Heart Rock Falls
Heart Rock Falls

For that, this was definitely one of the more unique waterfall experiences we’ve had, and we even felt it was memorable enough for us to include it at one point on our Top 10 Best Southern California Waterfalls List!

I suspected that this heart-shaped depression might have been the result of a pair of whirlpools or vortices that forcefully drilled into the bedrock when fast-moving or turbulent water might have rushed through at some point in its history.

Locals Only Spot?

The first couple of times we’ve visited this waterfall back in late March 2005 and then Easter Sunday 2010, there seemed to be a lack of signage.

This made us think that Heart Rock Falls was really more of a locals’ waterfall, or at least it was known to those who stay at the nearby (private) Camp Seeley or the village of the Valley of Enchantment.

Heart_Rock_Falls_052_02162020 - Lots of people around Heart Rock Falls perhaps meaning that this was no longer a locals only spot as time goes on
Lots of people around Heart Rock Falls perhaps meaning that this was no longer a locals only spot as time goes on

This was further corroborated by the observation that there weren’t many people around (at least certainly nowhere near the numbers seen at the more known waterfalls in the Southland like Eaton Canyon Falls).

Even on a more recent visit in May 2017, we showed up to this waterfall right at high noon on a Saturday, and although there were dozens of people, it still didn’t feel like there was a big crush.

Of course, now that I’ve said that, when we made a more recent visit on Valentines weekend in 2020, we’ve encountered many more people and large groups both on the hike and around the Heart Rock Falls.

We even noticed more signage pointing the way to the trailhead parking, which was probably indicative of how this place was probably no longer a locals only spot.

Changes to the Heart Rock Falls Access

Heart_Rock_Falls_192_02162020 - The signed turnoff at Camp Seeley
The signed turnoff at Camp Seeley

Getting to the falls will probably require a bit of driving (since I’d imagine most visitors to this website 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, which we’ll get into in the directions below.

Anyways, there were actually multiple ways to do the hike to the Heart Rock Falls, but a lot of that was a result of the circumstances behind the trail access at the time of our visits.

For example, the first couple of times that we did this hike way back in 2005 and 2010, we started on a trail that began near a sewage pipe cover in an open lot across the creek from Camp Seeley.

Heart_Rock_Falls_001_04042010 - Where we used to start our hike for Heart Rock Falls near this sewer manhole by Camp Seeley, which is now considered an unsanctioned part of the trail
Where we used to start our hike for Heart Rock Falls near this sewer manhole by Camp Seeley, which is now considered an unsanctioned part of the trail

Then, when we did this hike in 2017, we were able to drive to a small clearing blocked by a gate. From that gate, we hiked on a trail (the same trail that left from the sewage pipe further up the access road) that followed along Seeley Creek to the Heart Rock Falls.

However, when we did this hike in early 2020, the gate by the entrance to Camp Seeley was closed so we had to hike further along the access road going past Camp Seeley to get to the waterfall.

So to keep things simple, we’ll describe the trail experience as if we started the hike from the Camp Seeley sign by the turnoff leaving the Hwy 138.

This makes the overall hike about 2 miles round trip.

Heart_Rock_Falls_17_003_05202017 - The locked gate at the old parking area by the nearest trailhead to the Heart Rock Falls as seen in May 2017
The locked gate at the old parking area by the nearest trailhead to the Heart Rock Falls as seen in May 2017

In the past, the hike was as little as 1.2 miles round trip when they used to let us park along the narrow access road shortly past Camp Seeley.

Hiking the Road between Camp Seeley and the Old Parking Area

Starting from the Camp Seeley sign right by the turnoff leaving the Hwy 138, we kept left to follow the paved road towards a ford.

Usually, rocks are organized on the sides of the road so we could keep our feet dry on this ford. However, with gore-tex boots, we usually had no trouble walking right through the ford without getting our feet wet.

Just beyond the ford, the road meandered beneath some power poles and shortly thereafter, we reached the aforementioned sewer hole cover (where we started hiking along the creek back in 2005 and 2010).

Heart_Rock_Falls_014_02162020 - The ford over Seeley Creek by Camp Seeley that we had to walk (instead of drive) across when the road was closed
The ford over Seeley Creek by Camp Seeley that we had to walk (instead of drive) across when the road was closed

That said, we saw private property signs fronting the creekside trail skirting Camp Seeley so I’d imagine that we aren’t supposed to hike the old trail anymore.

Therefore, we continued along the road as it twisted uphill then mostly downhill towards a clearing backed by another gate (roughly 0.3 miles from the gate by the Camp Seeley entrance).

This clearing was the old parking area where there was a trash can as well as a 4W07 sign next to it.

From here, we had a choice of continuing our hike along the road or leaving the road to hike the creek alongside Seeley Creek.

This choice can be extended to the return hike so we could hike the road first, then the creekside trail on the return, or vice versa.

Heart_Rock_Falls_184_02162020 - Looking at the clearing that once served as the old parking area and trailhead, but here we can choose to continue on the road or leave the road on the right and follow the creek-side trail to the Heart Rock Falls
Looking at the clearing that once served as the old parking area and trailhead, but here we can choose to continue on the road or leave the road on the right and follow the creek-side trail to the Heart Rock Falls

Moreover, we could choose to stick with the road in both directions or stick with the trail in both directions.

The bottom line is that you have choices on how you want to do this hike.

The Road beyond the Old Parking Lot to Heart Rock Falls

The road continued generally in a downhill trajectory, which meant that we’d have to hike uphill if we took this road back on the return hike.

Given the paved nature of this road, the hike remained very easy, but we had to pay careful attention to when we had to leave it to descend right to the Heart Rock Falls.

That departure point occurred at about the half-mile point from the old parking area.

Heart_Rock_Falls_027_02162020 - The sign pointing us towards leaving the paved road at about a half-mile beyond the old parking area and trailhead
The sign pointing us towards leaving the paved road at about a half-mile beyond the old parking area and trailhead

Fortunately, we noticed a sign that pointed down a steep dirt path that led down to a more conventional foot trail right by Seeley Creek.

Once we encountered the creekside trail, it turned out that we were already above a rocky bluff with view towards the Heart Rock Falls and the adjacent heart-shaped depression that gave this waterfall its name.

However, because there wasn’t a sign indicating where the waterfall was, we had to listen carefully for falling water as it was real easy to miss.

We’ll get into finding the waterfall further down in this trail description.

Heart_Rock_Falls_097_02162020 - The Seeley Creek Waste Treatment Plant at the end of the paved road beyond Camp Seeley
The Seeley Creek Waste Treatment Plant at the end of the paved road beyond Camp Seeley

Finally, if you’re curious about where the paved road ultimately went, it ultimately continued in a gently downhill direction for another 0.3 miles before reaching the Seeley Creek Waste Treatment Plant.

I don’t have any further info about what this plant does, but I speculate that it treats the sewage that might have come from Camp Seeley and perhaps the Valley of Enchantment area.

Nevertheless, the public is not allowed to trespass into the plant so there really isn’t a reason to continue walking the road beyond the sign getting you to leave the road to get to Heart Rock Falls.

The Trail along Seeley Creek between the Old Parking Lot and Heart Rock Falls

So leaving the road at the old parking area and trailhead (by the 4W07 sign and trash can), a trail descends towards a foot trail alongside Seeley Creek.

Heart_Rock_Falls_164_02162020 - Facing upstream at the context of the trail alongside Seeley Creek (opposite the direction towards the Heart Rock Falls)
Facing upstream at the context of the trail alongside Seeley Creek (opposite the direction towards the Heart Rock Falls)

Going to our left to head downstream on the pretty well-used trail right at the outer reaches of Camp Seeley’s property, the actual trail began in earnest.

As we meandered about on the creek-side trail, we noticed that tall pine trees towered over us.

We also noticed that we continued to follow Seeley Creek downstream, which meant that we were on an upside down hike.

While the elevation loss was hardly noticeable, we knew that on the return hike, we knew that we would notice the elevation gain a bit more.

In addition, we noticed a few stretches where thick sewer lines were also following both the trail and Seeley Creek.

Heart_Rock_Falls_17_132_05202017 - Sewer pipelines probably coming from Camp Seeley and the rest of the Valley of Enchantment paralleling Seeley Creek and the Heart Rock Trail
Sewer pipelines probably coming from Camp Seeley and the rest of the Valley of Enchantment paralleling Seeley Creek and the Heart Rock Trail

Anyways, the trail would continue to skirt alongside Seeley Creek while narrowing as it hugged the slope of the ravine flanking the watercourse.

This made the hiking a little more challenging compared to hiking the road.

But eventually after about 0.6 miles of pursuing this trail, we’d eventually reach a rocky area within earshot of the falling water coming from Heart Rock Falls.

Paying Attention to 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).

Heart_Rock_Falls_092_02162020 - Descending to the easy-to-miss hidden ravine containing the Heart Rock Falls
Descending to the easy-to-miss hidden ravine containing the Heart Rock Falls

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).

Anyways, at the overlook ledge itself, we definitely had to exercise caution because of how narrow the ledge was as well as high up the dropoffs were.

We could easily envision how someone could take a real nasty (perhaps fatal) spill into the little basin right at the plunge pool of the falls down below us.

Heart_Rock_Falls_031_04042010 - Precarious overlook affording us the top down view of the heart-shaped depression and adjacent waterfall
Precarious overlook affording us the top down view of the heart-shaped depression and adjacent waterfall

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 Heart Rock Falls tended to hug the cliff on the right.

That said, I did find a lower spot where I was able to get a good look at both the Heart Rock Falls and the heart-shaped depression though I have to reiterate that I had to exercise a lot of caution to avoid a misstep into a potentially fatal fall.

Scrambling Around Heart Rock Falls

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 very first time we hiked here back in 2005.

However, the last few times we were here, we did find the way to get down to the bottom of the gorge and right in front of the base of Heart Rock Falls, where we could interact with the water.

Heart_Rock_Falls_065_04042010 - At the much quieter base of Heart Rock Falls when we first made it down here back in 2010, but it's no longer quiet down here anymore in recent years
At the much quieter base of Heart Rock Falls when we first made it down here back in 2010, but it’s no longer quiet down here anymore in recent years

Anyways, this lower view of the Heart Rock Falls provided us with a different perspective as it was nestled between polished granite rock cliffs (hinting at the geology responsible for this waterfall).

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.

Finally, we did see some people scramble right up to the heart-shaped depression, but it was definitely with some risk involved.

After all, the granite had been worn smooth so the risk of a slip and fall would be much greater when wet given the pitch of the slopes involved.

Heart_Rock_Falls_109_02162020 - Some daring guys perched at a couple of very precarious spots above the Heart Rock Falls, which underscore the dangers around the vertical cliffs by the waterfall
Some daring guys perched at a couple of very precarious spots above the Heart Rock Falls, which underscore the dangers around the vertical cliffs by the waterfall

As much as I wanted to try to scramble to the heart-shaped depression, I ultimately erred on the side of caution so I’ve never made it there.

That said, you’ll see in some of the photos further below on this page, there were quite a few other people more familiar with this area who did figure it out.

Authorities

Heart Rock Falls resides in the San Bernardino National Forest. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website or Facebook page.

Heart_Rock_Falls_006_02162020 - Looking back at the parking area alongside the Hwy 138 outside the Camp Seeley property
Heart_Rock_Falls_008_02162020 - Walking along the Hwy 138 towards the turnoff fronting Camp Seeley and leaving Hwy 138
Heart_Rock_Falls_012_02162020 - Keeping left of the Camp Seeley property and walking beyond the locked gate preventing vehicles from driving the road towards the old parking area and trailhead for Heart Rock Falls
Heart_Rock_Falls_015_02162020 - Walking the road beyond the ford of Seeley Creek
Heart_Rock_Falls_020_02162020 - Continuing to walk the road beyond the old parking area and trailhead en route to Heart Rock Falls
Heart_Rock_Falls_023_02162020 - Still walking along the road beyond the old car park and trailhead towards Heart Rock Falls
Heart_Rock_Falls_025_02162020 - Leaving the road towards the sign pointing the way down to Heart Rock Falls
Heart_Rock_Falls_028_02162020 - Descending from the road towards the hidden Heart Rock Falls
Heart_Rock_Falls_029_02162020 - Looking back up at the descent leading down to the precarious ledges over the Heart Rock Falls and the namesake heart-shaped depression
Heart_Rock_Falls_140_02162020 - Finally making it to the Heart Rock Falls with the context of where other people have scrambled to above the waterfall
Heart_Rock_Falls_047_02162020 - Context of people overlooking the Heart Rock Falls and the namesake heart-shaped depression
Heart_Rock_Falls_049_02162020 - Hiking down from the rocky bluff overlooking Heart Rock Falls towards the base of the waterfall itself
Heart_Rock_Falls_069_02162020 - Context of the base of the Heart Rock Falls with people around the plunge pool and the top of the falls for a sense of scale
Heart_Rock_Falls_074_02162020 - Looking across Seeley Creek at people scrambling up towards the top of Heart Rock Falls
Heart_Rock_Falls_078_02162020 - Looking back at the context of people standing at the bottom of Heart Rock Falls while there were people higher up on the rocky bluff looking down at the same waterfall
Heart_Rock_Falls_089_02162020 - Looking down over the brink of Heart Rock Falls with the lower pothole on the lower right actually the heart-shaped depression itself
Heart_Rock_Falls_090_02162020 - A tiny cascade a little upstream from the main Heart Rock Falls
Heart_Rock_Falls_099_02162020 - If you're curious where the road keeps going to, this is where it ends - the Seeley Creek Waste Treatment Plant
Heart_Rock_Falls_133_02162020 - Last look at the Heart Rock Falls with some people looking to scramble towards the steep heart-shaped depression
Heart_Rock_Falls_147_02162020 - The crew scrambling up to get out of ravine of Heart Rock Falls and back up to the trail alongside Seeley Creek
Heart_Rock_Falls_170_02162020 - A look at the terrain of the trail alongside the Seeley Creek
Heart_Rock_Falls_172_02162020 - Context of people on the narrow trail alongside Seeley Creek on the return hike from Heart Rock Falls
Heart_Rock_Falls_176_02162020 - Context of a sewage pipe with the creekside trail alongside Seeley Creek
Heart_Rock_Falls_177_02162020 - Looking down at an exposed sewer pipe alongside Seeley Creek
Heart_Rock_Falls_179_02162020 - Returning to a clearing near the outskirts of Camp Seeley as well as the old trailhead and parking area
Heart_Rock_Falls_186_02162020 - Hiking back along the road between Camp Seeley and the old parking area
Heart_Rock_Falls_187_02162020 - The crew back at the perimeter of Camp Seeley and almost back at the Hwy 138
Heart_Rock_Falls_093_04042010 - This was the concrete ford en route to the trailhead just past the parking lot for Camp Seeley as seen in our second visit to Heart Rock Falls (taking place in 2010)
Heart_Rock_Falls_002_04042010 - Looking across the creek towards Camp Seeley from the trailhead by the sewer pipe cover during our 2010 visit
Heart_Rock_Falls_003_04042010 - Power lines by the trailhead by the sewer pipe cover in 2010.  Over the years, I think they don't want you to hike this particular trail anymore because it skirts by or through parts of Camp Seeley
Heart_Rock_Falls_004_04042010 - This was the swimming pool within the outer reaches of the Camp Seeley complex as seen in 2010. This was also where the actual Heart Rock Trailhead joined up with the Heart Rock Trail
Heart_Rock_Falls_17_008_05202017 - Julie and Tahia descending from the official Heart Rock Trailhead (as of our 2017 visit) towards the Heart Rock Trail itself. Notice the bright area on the right, which was the dry swimming pool within Camp Seeley.  On our most recent visit in 2020, I don't think this was the official trailhead anymore as they now made you hike from all the way back by Hwy 138, but at least we had the option of still going this way to Heart Rock Falls
Heart_Rock_Falls_17_010_05202017 - Tall pines flanking the trail towering over Julie and Tahia during our 2017 visit
Heart_Rock_Falls_011_04042010 - Now the trail follows Seeley Creek downstream. This picture was taken during our 2010 visit
Heart_Rock_Falls_17_013_05202017 - Tahia walking by some interesting rock formations as part of the creekside trail to Heart Rock Falls
Heart_Rock_Falls_17_017_05202017 - Over the years, we've noticed more unsightly graffiti on the Heart Rock Trail. This was actually one of the better ones though this was by no means the actual Heart Rock.  This picture was taken in 2017, but in 2020, I didn't see this graffiti anymore
Heart_Rock_Falls_012_04042010 - Looking back at Seeley Creek and a tiny cascade along the trail. This picture was taken during our 2010 visit
Heart_Rock_Falls_17_022_05202017 - For the most part, the Heart Rock Trail was partially shaded under the cover of the tall trees and its leaves, even during a sunny day on our 2017 visit
Heart_Rock_Falls_17_030_05202017 - Tahia scrambling down to where the commotion was, which happened to be the overlook of the Heart Rock Falls. This picture was taken during our 2017 visit, and as you can see, there weren't that many people around at the time
Heart_Rock_Falls_049_04042010 - A more contextual look at the heart-shaped depression and the Heart Rock Falls or Seeley Creek Falls flowing pretty well in 2017
Heart_Rock_Falls_17_034_05202017 - Contextual view looking down at some people at the base of Heart Rock Falls in context with the Heart Rock and waterfall themselves (as of our 2017 visit)
Heart_Rock_Falls_17_040_05202017 - One person looking into the heart-shaped depression after making the tricky scramble to get there during our 2017 visit
Heart_Rock_Falls_17_064_05202017 - At the base of the Heart Rock Falls with colorful foliage around it during our sunny 2017 visit
Heart_Rock_Falls_17_080_05202017 - Tahia enjoying the bottom of Heart Rock Falls during our 2017 visit
Heart_Rock_Falls_17_101_05202017 - Tahia and Julie enjoying the view while having a snack during our 2017 visit
Heart_Rock_Falls_003_03262005 - How Heart Rock Falls looked on our very first visit here back in 2005

join-booking-970x240-1.jpg


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 18), which was about 3/4-mile east of the junction between the 215 and 210 Freeways.

Once on Hwy 18, head north towards Crestline as Hwy 18 headed into the 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).

Heart_Rock_Falls_092_04042010 - Camp Seeley and the concrete ford on the narrow road to the left
Camp Seeley and the concrete ford on the narrow road to the left

As the road climbs up to over 3000ft or 4000ft, pay attention to the junction of Hwy 18 and 138 just past an overhead bridge (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 community of the Valley of Enchantment).

Just north of the town, there’ll be a well-signed entrance on the left for Camp Seeley.

In the past, we used to be able to drive this road to the left of the private car park for Camp Seeley, and ultimately down a narrow road going over a concrete ford over Seeley Creek towards a parking area blocked by another gate.

Heart_Rock_Falls_17_004_05202017 - Looking back at the old parking area in 2017, which would have cut the hiking distance from 2 miles round trip (at Hwy 138) to about 1.2 miles round trip
Looking back at the old parking area in 2017, which would have cut the hiking distance from 2 miles round trip (at Hwy 138) to about 1.2 miles round trip

However, in recent years, the gate fronting the concrete ford was locked and closed so we had to park in the clearing or the shoulders alongside Hwy 138 right around the Camp Seeley turnoff.

So this was where we would start the two-mile hike to Heart Rock Falls, but if we were able to park at the clearing beyond both the ford and Camp Seeley, then the hike would reduce to about 1.2 miles round trip.

Overall, it took us about 75-90 minutes to make this drive without traffic, but this could easily take around 2 hours with traffic.

An Alternate Route via Silverwood Lake

Alternatively, the first time Julie and I went here in 2005, we took the I-15 north (from Ontario) exiting at the Hwy 138, then we turned right in the direction of Silverwood Lake (note that turning left here would lead you to Mountain High Ski Resort).

Heart_Rock_Falls_193_02162020 - The clearing alongside Hwy 138 providing a fair amount of public parking near the turnoff by Camp Seeley
The clearing alongside Hwy 138 providing a fair amount of public parking near the turnoff by Camp Seeley

We followed the 138 all the way to the Camp Seeley entrance which would now be on the right just before the town of Valley of Enchantment.

If we wound up driving into the Valley of Enchantment, then that means we had missed the Camp Seeley turnoff.

Sweep from the bluff opposite the heart-shaped depression showing the context of the area as well as zoom-ins on both the heart and the waterfall


Sweep around the base of the waterfall from the near end of the plunge pool


Sweep starting from the small cascade upstream from the main falls then ending at the brink of the main falls


Context of the view looking down at the waterfall and the Heart Rock as well as the immediate surroundings


Checking out the base of the falls before climbing back up to the ledge where you can see the heart-shaped depression next to the falls

Related Top 10 Lists

No Posts Found

Tagged with: san bernardino, crestline, southern california, california, waterfall, big bear, running springs, riverside



Visitor Comments:

Heart Rock Falls – Great Waterfall – Alt. shorter trail June 13, 2011 9:59 pm by hsbn - This waterfall is small. It's not even worth visiting if it's not for the perfect heart shape depression. The direction is pretty clear however you can drive on the paved road until its very end. There is more parking space and it saves you about 1/4-mile if you are lazy to hike. Park where you… ...Read More
I Love This Place – Heart Rock Falls May 28, 2010 1:30 am by D - I lived in VOE for 10 years and I hiked to Heart Rock every chance I got. It's a great place to catch up with yourself and my son loved it as well. I would love to live there again and enjoy Heart Rock Falls. ...Read More

Share your thoughts about what you've read on this page

You must be logged in to submit content. Refresh this page after you have logged in.

Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:

Heart Rock Falls March 23, 2010 7:29 pm by Amy - 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 worth the frustration of driving there. The hike was a short one, not more than a mile and a half long, and not strenuous in… ...Read More
The Legend Behind the Heart (Heart Rock Falls) December 8, 2009 1:41 pm by Kelly Moedl - Growing up in Valley of Enchantment, one of the legends you must know about is actually how the heart came to be. It has been said that an Indian princess was told by her father that she could not be with the man she loved because he was not of her tribe. Her tears melted… ...Read More

Have you been to a waterfall? Submit a write-up/review and share your experiences or impressions

Review A Waterfall

Nearest Waterfalls