About Pomponio Falls
Pomponio Falls was kind of an incidental waterfall as the Memorial County Park had no literature even making mention of this waterfall.
We found out about it from an entry in our Ann Marie Brown book with some cryptic descriptions leading towards an unassuming 25ft waterfall beneath a footbridge.
That said, we remembered our time in this redwoods-laced park as a possible camping destination.
After all, when we showed up, it seemed to receive far less traffic than the Big Basin Redwoods State Park that we would visit later in the day.
By the way, they were about 8 miles from each other as the crow flies, but it took a lot longer than that to make the drive.
In any case, I view this waterfall as not much of an attraction for visitors to the park, but really more for those who would camp here and find a little adventure given some time on their hands.
Finding Pomponio Falls
First and foremost, I believe that when Ann Marie Brown visited this waterfall, the park was a bit different and had changed over the years.
We found neither a trail nor anything special about the campsite #12 in the Sequoia Flat Campground, which she made mention of as a starting point.
Instead, the key breakthrough was when we hiked on the road leading to the Sequoia Flat Campground from the Azalea Campground (because the road to Sequoia Flat Campground was closed).
And as we descended to a concrete ford over Pescadero Creek, that was when we spotted a sketchy path hugging the embankment of the creek in the upstream direction.
Just as in Ann Marie Brown’s descriptions, this broken concrete path ultimately led about a couple hundred yards to the easy-to-miss Pomponio Falls.
This sketchy path had a badly eroded section that made it very difficult to traverse given how steep and slippery it was to get across.
I managed to find a way at the bottom of the eroded slide, but who knows how much longer any stable footing could be found going forward?
It was almost as if we were better off wading in Pescadero Creek in water shoes before getting past this obstacle.
Then, we could follow the rest of the trail, which eventually led right to the foot of Pomponio Falls.
While the presence of the footbridge atop the falls suggested there was a path from one of the campgrounds to reach it, we didn’t do it so we can’t say anything more about it.
Even if you make it to the footbridge, you’d still have to find a way down to reach the foot of Pomponio Falls.
And while I did notice a few use trails, they too were on the slippery, steep, and a bit on the sketchy side.
Overall, if we knew exactly where to go, this excursion would take about a half-mile round trip and should take no more than a half-hour or an hour tops.
However, we did spent a good deal of time looking around for the falls so we wound up spending nearly 90 minutes here.
Pomponio Falls resides in the Memorial County Park near Pescadero in San Mateo County, California. It is administered by the County of San Mateo Parks Department. For information or inquiries about the park as well as current conditions, visit their website.
Pomponio Falls was near the town of La Honda.
Driving from San Francisco to Memorial County Park
From San Francisco, the most direct route would be to take the I-280 south for roughly 32 miles to the Woodside Rd exit (Hwy 84; exit 25).
Then, we’d follow the Hwy 84 south for over 13 miles to the Pescadero Creek Road just south of the town of La Honda.
Afterwards, we’d turn left onto Pescadero Creek Road and follow it for 4.5 miles to the entrance for Memorial County Park on the left.
Once inside Memorial County Park, we would turn right and follow the campground road towards the Sequoia Flat Campground Road.
It was closed when we showed up so we parked at the nearest campsite, which was campsite #35 in the Azalea Campground.
We then walked onto the road for Sequoia Flat Campground.
Overall, this drive would take roughly 75-90 minutes depending on traffic.
Driving from San Jose to Memorial County Park
From San Jose, the most direct route would be to take the I-280 west for nearly 22 miles to the exit 24 onto Sand Hill Rd going west.
After going west on Sand Hill Rd, we’d continue for a little over 2 miles before turning right onto Portola Rd.
We’d remain on Portola Rd for the next 0.6 miles before turning left onto the Hwy 84.
Then, we’d follow Hwy 84 south for 10 miles to the Pescadero Creek Road turnoff just south of La Honda.
The rest of the directions could be followed just like above for the Memorial County Park.
This drive would take about an hour depending on traffic conditions.
For geographical context, San Francisco is 15 miles (roughly 30 minutes drive depending on traffic) north of Pacifica, 11 miles (over 30 minutes drive) west of Oakland, 55 miles (over an hour drive) north of San Jose, 52 miles (about 90 minutes drive) south of Napa, 96 miles (over 2 hours drive) south of Sacramento, and 382 miles (6 hours drive) north of Los Angeles.
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