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 so 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 falls depositing minerals in much the same way stalactites grow because water dripping through the caves leaves deposits behind 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. Considering that we visited this falls shortly after a clearing rain storm, we also enjoyed seeing water droplets hanging from the foliage all around us as well as breathing in the crisp, cool air.
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!
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.
You can reach this waterfall by driving on the US101 some 40 miles north of Santa Barbara where the freeway starts to turn inland from the coast (just north of Gaviota State Beach).
There are signposts for Nojoqui Park (they start as you’re descending on the highway as you’re heading north). Take the corresponding exit and continue following the signs to the car park (going a mile on Old Coast Hwy then turning left onto Alisal Rd then turning right after 0.8mi to the park entrance).
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.
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