Rose Valley Falls

Los Padres National Forest / Ojai, California, USA

About Rose Valley Falls


Hiking Distance: 0.8 miles round trip
Suggested Time: 30-45 minutes

Date first visited: 2002-12-28
Date last visited: 2017-04-02

Waterfall Latitude: 34.52746
Waterfall Longitude: -119.18076

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Rose Valley Falls was perhaps one of the easier waterfalls that we’ve visited, especially considering it was near the rugged expanse of the Sespe Wilderness north of Ojai.

Therefore, it wasn’t surprising to see that this was also the type of excursion where we tended to see families making a visit.

Rose_Valley_Falls_019_03072010 - Rose Valley Falls
Rose Valley Falls

Perhaps the only caveat to this place was that it probably stretched the limit on what could reasonably be done in a day from Los Angeles given that the falls was probably closer to Santa Barbara than downtown LA.

Nevertheless, the effort was well worth it as Rose Valley Falls consisted of a lower drop of 80ft or more as well as an upper drop of at least 100ft, which made it one of the more scenic local waterfalls.

It was also a limestone-type waterfall that seemed similar in character to say Nojoqui Falls and Limekiln Falls.

That limestone characteristic also gave rise to a small cave where it was possible to crawl in one side and crawl out the other side behind the foot of the waterfall!

Rose_Valley_Falls_048_03072010 - Looking towards the Upper Rose Valley Falls, which could only be visible when the creek was in high flow
Looking towards the Upper Rose Valley Falls, which could only be visible when the creek was in high flow

Indeed, this was one of those places where we relished the opportunity to bring our daughter along and really get to experience this place (especially when we’d go to Santa Barbara).

The Hike to Rose Valley Falls

The hike to the base of the Rose Valley Falls was on a well-established, gently uphill trail with a length of about 0.4 miles each way.

We were able to catch glimpses of the upper waterfall (if there’s enough water in the creek) from the initial sections of the trail.

However, as we got closer to the falls, the views of that upper waterfall became more obstructed.

Rose_Valley_Apr_17_009_04022017 - Tahia and Julie hiking towards Rose Valley Falls
Tahia and Julie hiking towards Rose Valley Falls

For the best views of the upper tier, we had to see it from the Rose Valley Campground area as well as the Rose Valley Road.

Anyways, the trail crossed the creek a couple of times, which may or may not be trivial depending on how much water was in the creek.

After barely 15-20 minutes on the hike, which passed by some minor cascades and waterfalls (each with steep informal scrambling paths to access them), we’d eventually get right up to the base of Rose Valley Falls.

During the final approach, most of the views of the falls were obstructed by trees until we got right up to its base.

Rose_Valley_Apr_17_013_04022017 - Tahia and Julie going past one of the creek crossings en route to Rose Valley Falls
Tahia and Julie going past one of the creek crossings en route to Rose Valley Falls

Upon closer examination of the base of the falls, we could see the mineral-laced (of calcium carbonate or limestone) creek actually growing the underlying rock.

However, it was that limestone quality that also prompted locals to show us that it was possible to crawl beneath one of the small openings of the bottom of the limestone.

Once inside, we found ourselves in a tight cave where we could continue crawling and climbing our way to the other side of the waterfall.

With a headlamp or strong flashlight, one can see the travertine formations within the mini “cave”.

Rose_Valley_Falls_17_016_03192017 - View from within the 'cave' behind Rose Valley Falls
View from within the ‘cave’ behind Rose Valley Falls

One of the locals even said that there were bats and large cave spiders in there as well.

Given how wet the crawl spaces were, this would probably be better suited to film on a GoPro instead of risking water damage to the digital SLR camera.

Authorities

Rose Valley Falls resides in the Los Padres National Forest near Ojai in Ventura County, California. It is administered by the USDA Forest Service. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions and permits, visit their website.

Rose_Valley_Apr_17_002_04022017 - Looking back across the Rose Valley Campground before our hike to the Rose Valley Falls in April 2017. This photo and the next several photos were taken on this day
Rose_Valley_Apr_17_004_04022017 - Looking up towards the upper drop of the Rose Valley Falls from near the trailhead
Rose_Valley_Apr_17_010_04022017 - Julie and Tahia going across the first of a couple of creek crossings en route to the Rose Valley Falls
Rose_Valley_Apr_17_014_04022017 - Tahia running after Julie on the Rose Valley Falls Trail in April 2017
Rose_Valley_Apr_17_017_04022017 - Context of the upper tier of Rose Valley Falls with the trail leading closer to the base of the falls itself
Rose_Valley_Apr_17_019_04022017 - Julie and Tahia in the final stretch leading to the base of Rose Valley Falls in April 2017
Rose_Valley_Apr_17_020_04022017 - Looking down towards some intermediate cascade downstream of the Rose Valley Falls as seen in April 2017
Rose_Valley_Apr_17_023_04022017 - Julie and Tahia approaching the Rose Valley Falls in April 2017
Rose_Valley_Apr_17_026_04022017 - Tahia checking out the Rose Valley Falls in April 2017
Rose_Valley_Apr_17_030_04022017 - Tahia crawling into one of the two entrances to the cave behind Rose Valley Falls in April 2017
Rose_Valley_Apr_17_032_04022017 - Looking up from within the cave behind the Rose Valley Falls during our April 2017 visit
Rose_Valley_Apr_17_036_04022017 - Looking up towards part of the Rose Valley Falls spilling over moss-covered travertine as seen from the other end of the cave opening during our April 2017 visit
Rose_Valley_Apr_17_038_04022017 - Tahia making her way back down to the base of the Rose Valley Falls after having crawled through the mini cave in April 2017
Rose_Valley_Apr_17_039_04022017 - Looking back at a guy making it out of the tight crawl hole on the other side of the 'cave' behind Rose Valley Falls in April 2017
Rose_Valley_Apr_17_041_04022017 - Unusual view up at the Rose Valley Falls from the other side of the cave during our April 2017 visit
Rose_Valley_Apr_17_043_04022017 - After having our fill of the Rose Valley Falls during our April 2017 visit, it was time to head back
Rose_Valley_Apr_17_045_04022017 - As you can see, it was a pretty short and sweet visit to the Rose Valley Falls in April 2017
Rose_Valley_Apr_17_048_04022017 - Tahia approaching the Rose Valley Campground to end off our April 2017 visit
Rose_Valley_Falls_17_004_03192017 - Looking towards the upper drop of Rose Valley Falls in March 2017. This photo and the next several photos came on this day.
Rose_Valley_Falls_17_005_03192017 - Another look at the Upper Falls after about 3-4 weeks since the last significant rain in 2017
Rose_Valley_Falls_17_006_03192017 - Mom starting on the short hike to Rose Valley Falls during our visit in March 2017
Rose_Valley_Falls_17_008_03192017 - Mom crossing the stream along the way to Rose Valley Falls in our March 2017 visit
Rose_Valley_Falls_17_009_03192017 - The Rose Valley Trail was pretty obvious to follow though it did slope fairly gently uphill to the Rose Valley Falls
Rose_Valley_Falls_17_010_03192017 - Mom continuing along the Rose Valley Falls Trail as we were nearing its end in March 2017
Rose_Valley_Falls_17_012_03192017 - Mom approaching the base of Rose Valley Falls as of our March 2017 visit
Rose_Valley_Falls_17_015_03192017 - Contextual view of Rose Valley Falls at its base in March 2017. Notice the crawl-sized openings at the bottom of the limestone
Rose_Valley_Falls_17_019_03192017 - Looking back at the tight crawl hole on the other side of the 'cave' behind Rose Valley Falls during our March 2017 visit
Rose_Valley_Falls_17_021_03192017 - Mom heading back to the Rose Valley Campground to end our March 2017 visit
Rose_Valley_Falls_003_03072010 - The Upper Falls as seen from the trailhead for the Rose Valley Falls during our March 2010 visit. This photo and the next several came on this day.
Rose_Valley_Falls_006_03072010 - Stream crossing can be a little on the tricky side during high flow like it was on our visit in March 2010
Rose_Valley_Falls_008_03072010 - Julie approaching the the base of Rose Valley Falls in high flow during our March 2010 visit
Rose_Valley_Falls_012_03072010 - Julie right at the base of Rose Valley Falls during our March 2010 visit
Rose_Valley_Falls_023_03072010 - Looking across the base of Rose Valley Falls during our March 2010 visit
Rose_Valley_Falls_032_03072010 - Looking up from the base of Rose Valley Falls during our March 2010 visit
Rose_Valley_Falls_040_03072010 - It looked like there were pink rose petals in the pool beneath Rose Valley Falls during our March 2010 visit
Rose_Valley_Falls_042_03072010 - One of the smaller waterfalls en route to Rose Valley Falls during our March 2010 visit
Rose_Valley_Falls_044_03072010 - Last look at the Upper Falls in high flow while on our way back from Rose Valley Falls' base in March 2010
Rose_Valley_Falls_003_12282002 - Frontal look at Rose Valley Falls in December 2002, which was our first time here. This photo and the rest of the photos in this gallery came on this day
Rose_Valley_Falls_005_12282002 - Paying closer attention to Rose Valley Falls cutting through the moss wall in December 2002
Rose_Valley_Falls_015_12282002 - Closer look at some of the seepage over the moss-covered limestone at the base of Rose Valley Falls in December 2002
Rose_Valley_Falls_024_12282002 - Looking up towards the top of the seepage at Rose Valley Falls in December 2002
Rose_Valley_Falls_028_12282002 - A little more contextual look at Rose Valley Falls from back in December 2002
Rose_Valley_Falls_032_12282002 - The Upper Rose Valley Falls didn't really flow very well in December 2002
Rose_Valley_Falls_038_12282002 - Looking towards some of the neighboring mountains in the Sespe Wilderness around Rose Valley during our visit in December 2002

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To get to Rose Valley Falls from LA, we’d have to drive north on the 101 Freeway towards its junction with Hwy 33 near Oxnard (between Camarillo and Santa Barbara).

It would take us roughly 90 minutes of driving from Los Angeles to Ojai without traffic.

Rose_Valley_Falls_17_002_03192017 - Some of the parking spaces at the Rose Valley Campground near the Rose Valley Falls Trailhead
Some of the parking spaces at the Rose Valley Campground near the Rose Valley Falls Trailhead

Then, we’d have to drive north on Hwy 33, which starts off as a highway before becoming a mix of streets with traffic lights and rural roads (actually even coinciding with Hwy 150) en route to Ojai.

Once in the village, we would turn left at the traffic light junction with Maricopa Highway.

Then, we would drive the next 15 miles or so along the winding and rockfall-prone Maricopa Highway (Hwy 33) into Los Padres National Forest.

Along the way, we could purchase an Adventure Pass at the Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center.

Rose_Valley_Falls_17_023_03192017 - Looking back across the Rose Valley Campground from the trailhead to the Rose Valley Falls
Looking back across the Rose Valley Campground from the trailhead to the Rose Valley Falls

All parked vehicles are supposed to display this pass, and from what we could tell, this was the most obvious place to purchase it (we didn’t see a place to purchase one near the Rose Valley Campground).

After around 15 miles, we turned right at the signpost for the Rose Valley Campground and Piedras Blancas.

Then we continued along this road for the next 3-4 miles towards a 4-way stop sign intersection.

Had we missed this intersection and saw the Rose Valley Gun Club, then we went too far.

Rose_Valley_Falls_002_03072010 - Looking towards the Upper Rose Valley Falls from the road leading us closer to the Rose Valley Campground
Looking towards the Upper Rose Valley Falls from the road leading us closer to the Rose Valley Campground

Turning right at the 4-way intersection, we drove a little less than a mile further into the Rose Valley Campground area where there’s day-use parking area near Campsite 3.

The trail begins besides Campsite 4.

En route to the campsite area, we did manage to spot the Upper Falls assuming there was enough water in the creek to see it.

Up and down sweep of the main drop of the falls before moving to a different spot and showing the cave-like entrance before panning back up to the top


Long comprehensive sweep checking out both sides of the falls including both cave entrances


Checking out falls after emerging from the other side of the cave then scrambling along its base back to the main viewing area


Bottom up sweep from the base of the falls

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Tagged with: ojai, rose valley, ventura, los padres national forest, the valley, 101, oxnard, camarillo, southern california, california, waterfall



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Driving up to the snow March 1, 2011 4:49 pm by Adam Pardee - Me and a friend were driving up through the 33 to see some snow because snow level had dropped a lot and hadn't been in the snow for a few years so we went. He showed me a place where he got dropped off for a hike to go through Sespe Creek into Filmore, and… ...Read More

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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

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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