About Sycamore Canyon Falls
Sycamore Canyon Falls (also called Rancho Sierra Vista Falls) sits in Point Mugu State Park, which itself resides in the Santa Monica Mountains on the Thousand Oaks side.
Both times we’ve visited this falls, it was a very popular (read: crowded) attraction. I’d speculate that the reason for the popularity of this 2.4- or 2.6-mile trail (depending on where you start from) was due to the inclusion of other attractions.
Such attractions included the Satwiwa Native American Natural Area, nice panoramic views at the Hidden Valley basin, views of exposed rocks atop the neighboring mountaintops, and the overall surroundings allowed to thrive in a protected wilderness area.
The falls cascaded in multiple tiers for a cumulative height of around 50ft to 75ft (which are figures I just pulled out of my gut). We saw numerous groups scramble further along the slippery rocks to the top of this cascade.
We also reckoned this might be more of a morning waterfall if the sun came out because we were looking right against it on our last visit in late January at around midday.
The first time we visited the falls was during New Years Day during a dry winter so obviously we were disappointed that it was hardly flowing. I guess given this experience, we speculate that the falls would be at its most impressive after sustained rainfall.
Still, I’d imagine the flow wouldn’t last for a very long time afterwards (maybe give it a couple of weeks or so of dry spells following rain depending on how heavy the rainfall was).
I recalled that the trail had numerous other trails that cross-crossed the waterfall trail. So this could definitely create confusion as it did for us. In fact, each time we did this waterfall, we inadvertently hiked on different trails.
Nonetheless, the key landmark to pay attention to (as we were looking for the correct spur trail to get to the falls) was the water tank just beyond the Point Mugu sign on the paved fire road.
There were actually two trails (on either side of the creek responsible for Sycamore Canyon Falls) leading from the Water Tank to the falls.
The first one followed the Danielson Road climbing up to the Old Boney Trail before dropping down to the creek.
The second one branched a little further on the fire road and more or less followed the creek all the way to the falls (eventually intersecting with the first trail mentioned above shortly before the falls).
Sycamore Canyon Falls resides in Pt Mugu State Park, but it’s also within the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. For information or inquiries about this area as well as current conditions, visit the NPS website.
Sycamore Canyon Falls sat on the western side of the Santa Monica Mountains near the cities of Thousand Oaks, Malibu, Oxnard, and Camarillo. It’s roughly an hours drive (without traffic) west of downtown Los Angeles along the US101 Freeway. We accessed the trailhead by taking US101 west towards Newbury Park.
From there, look for the Wendy Drive exit south towards Potrero Road. Then, take this road into the park entrance on your left (on Sycamore Canyon Drive), where you’ll find the car park near the Satwiwa Natural Area.
However, if the lot’s full or you don’t want to risk calling any bluffs regarding any signage discouraging parking there, then there’s a large pullout area by the Wendy Drive and Potrero Road intersection right across the road from the church. This path may increase your hiking length by 0.2 miles, but I doubt you’ll notice that much of a difference (as we certainly didn’t).
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