Nojoqui Falls

Solvang, California, USA

About Nojoqui Falls


Hiking Distance: 0.6 miles round trip
Suggested Time: 15-30 minutes

Date first visited: 2009-02-13
Date last visited: 2009-02-13

Waterfall Latitude: 34.52831
Waterfall Longitude: -120.17225

Nojoqui Falls (pronounced “no-HO-wee” which was said to be a Chumash word) is an impressive 80ft moss and fern fringed waterfall that seem to be somewhat common in the Southern California area.

What’s cool about this waterfall is that it seems to grow the rock cliff over where it flows.

Nojoqui_Falls_040_02132009 - Looking at the bottom of Nojoqui Falls
Looking at the bottom of Nojoqui Falls

Therefore, the bedrock supporting the falls is actually protruding from the rest of the cliff.

According to the signs here, it’s said that this is a consequence of the water from the Nojoqui Falls depositing minerals in much the same way stalactites grow.

That’s because water picked up minerals (mostly calcium carbonate or limestone) as it dripped through the caves, which in turn left deposits to build up on the underlying surface or wall over time.

Julie and I enjoyed the short 10-minute (about 0.6 miles round trip) walk as it meandered through a very lush and peaceful canyon.

The terrain was gentle so it really felt more like a stroll.

Nojoqui_Falls_056_02132009 - Looking up towards the top of Nojoqui Falls, where you might notice the protrusions from the cliff suggesting that the water's flow deposited limestone and grew the cliffs outward as a result
Looking up towards the top of Nojoqui Falls, where you might notice the protrusions from the cliff suggesting that the water’s flow deposited limestone and grew the cliffs outward as a result

Considering that we visited Nojoqui Falls shortly after a clearing rain storm, we also enjoyed seeing water droplets hanging from the foliage all around us.

Furthermore, we breathed in the crisp, cool air, which further added to the pleasant experience.

Now given that the falls was attractive, well signposted, had a short and pleasant walk, and was quite close to the Danish-influenced town of Solvang, we could totally see why this would be a very popular attraction.

We just so happened to show up on a day when most people were at work and there were still a handful of people here.

So imagine just how much busier it would get on the weekends!

Nojoqui_Falls_034_02132009 - Julie standing before the bottom of Nojoqui Falls for a sense of scale
Julie standing before the bottom of Nojoqui Falls for a sense of scale

Even though we managed to see the waterfall in satisfying flow, I have read that it is seasonal.

Therefore, I’d imagine that this waterfall is best seen during the Winter and early Spring months during a year with average or above average Winter precipitation in the Southland.

Authorities

Nojoqui Falls resides in the Nojoqui Falls Park near Solvang in Santa Barbara County, California. It is administered by the Santa barbara County Parks division. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Nojoqui_Falls_004_02132009 - Starting on the relaxing stroll to Nojoqui Falls
Nojoqui_Falls_007_02132009 - The short trail was definitely lush and serene when we first visited Nojoqui Falls back in 2009
Nojoqui_Falls_008_02132009 - Checking out the creek flowing besides the short trail, which is a good sign that Nojoqui Falls is flowing
Nojoqui_Falls_010_02132009 - About to cross a bridge amidst the lush scenery on the way to Nojoqui Falls
Nojoqui_Falls_001_jx_02132009 - Approaching Nojoqui Falls as we noticed a handful of people were already here
Nojoqui_Falls_011_02132009 - Julie approaches Nojoqui Falls
Nojoqui_Falls_005_jx_02132009 - Some other folks checking out the Nojoqui Falls when we first showed up
Nojoqui_Falls_016_02132009 - Julie checks out Nojoqui Falls when the other folks had left thereby allowing us to enjoy the falls by ourselves
Nojoqui_Falls_028_02132009 - Direct contextual look at the Nojoqui Falls with a pretty healthy flow when we first showed up in February 2009
Nojoqui_Falls_052_02132009 - Look closely and you can see the rock protruding where the water on Nojoqui Falls flows

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Nojoqui Falls Park can be accessed from the US101 Freeway between Gaviota State Beach and Buellton.

Heading North from Gaviota State Park / Beach

Look for the signed turnoff for Nojoqui Park roughly 6 miles north on the 101 from the turnoff for Gaviota Beach Road (which leads to Gaviota State Park). This turnoff was downhill from the Nojoqui Summit.

This turnoff takes you onto Old Coast Hwy on the right, which you then take for about a mile before turning left onto Alisa Road.

Take Alisal Road for another 0.8-mile before turning right onto the signed turnoff for Nojoqui Falls Park.

Nojoqui_Falls_002_02132009 - The parking lot at the trailhead for Nojoqui Falls
The parking lot at the trailhead for Nojoqui Falls

Note that if you’re coming from Santa Barbara, you would have to drive about 40 miles to get here.

Another thing worth noting is that there is also an unsigned turnoff onto the other side of the Old Coast Highway right at the Nojoqui Summit, which would also take you to the Alisal Road (albeit on a more narrow and winding road).

Heading South from Buellton

Coming from the other direction starting in Buellton, drive south for a bout 4.8 miles on the US101 before turning left onto Old Coast Highway.

Then, follow Old Coast Highway for about a mile to Alisal Road, and then turn left onto Alisal Road.

Drive another 0.8-mile on Alisal Road before reaching the Nojoqui Falls Park.

By the way, as alluded to earlier, Nojoqui Falls is only a few miles south of Lompoc and the charming Danish town of Solvang so there’s really no excuse not to check out the falls while you’re in the area!

From a geographical context, Santa Barbara was 100 miles (over 2 hours drive with moderate traffic) from downtown Los Angeles. Without traffic, this drive could easily be accomplished in about 90 minutes.

Sweep from bottom to top of the waterfall. Notice the texture of the protruding rock and the surrounding ferns and moss.

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Tagged with: solvang, gaviota, santa barbara, southern california, california, waterfall, nojoqui, buellton



Visitor Comments:

Quite a Hike! (Nojoqui Falls) August 18, 2011 11:40 pm by James Mourgos - We arrived at the park that is near these falls and were told that there is a ten minute walk. But it's a ten minute walk FROM the ENTRANCE. Actually one could drive up to where the camping areas are and find it quicker. We arrived when the sun was setting. The park closes at… ...Read More

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Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:

Nojoqui Falls Is Just Beautiful! March 20, 2011 3:50 am by Delia - I've been living in Santa Barbara for 3 1/2 years. A photographer friend of mine invited me to go with her to Nojoqui Falls one afternoon, so off we went! It was a beautiful day; not too hot. The hike to the waterfall is very easy and not too long. The base of the falls… ...Read More

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