Our Bonita Falls hike started as part of our goal to hit all of the great Inland Empire waterfalls in the spring of 2010 (we had all of that great rain and snow and knew that the water levels would be unusually high, which means spectacular waterfalls). We had heard about a great waterfall in the Lytle Creek area that we wanted to see so we set out. Thus far we had hiked Sapphire Falls and Etiwanda Falls and after Bonita Falls we had plans to hike Big Falls hitting the major water falls in the IE that we had heard about. Traveling north on the 15 freeway and exiting the Sierra Ave exit we headed for Lytle Creek via Lytle Creek Road, remember to bring your adventure pass. Here is the place where you turn out to start the falls hike, good to note as it is easy to miss.
The hike begins with a water crossing then a 3/4ths of a mile walking across the rock quarry.
The biggest mistake we made is we didn’t know exactly where we were going, so we asked a couple of people for directions, they apparently did not know where they going either as we took a 5 mile detour past the falls up another stream before realizing our error. This is one of those reasons why it is important to know what you are getting yourself into. We should have know that a 2 mile hike should never be 5 miles one way and turned around but we were not paying attention and ended up just continuing on. That being said it was a beautiful area that we were walking in.
After following that stream and the seemly helpful pink ribbons, we realized that this easy hike was becoming increasingly difficult and turned around to go back the way we came. If you are wonder what is up to the right following the water, it really is a beautiful area with streams and foliage but there is not a lot more to see then that. We continued into the canyon for about 3 miles.
On our way back to where the waterfall was we enjoyed the amazing scenery, high water levels and an Zac’s unplanned dip in the cool water. When we got back to where the waterfall was supposed to be, if you are going into the rock quarry from where you parked your car it would be on the left not on the right up into the canyon, we finally found it hidden in a valley behind some trees and ventured up to take a closer look.
It’s truly an amazing water fall, tall and wide for Southern California standards and highly enjoyable on the warm day we visited.
We enjoyed the nice relaxing area below the falls and only saw a few people, so it was not very crowded which made for a relaxing trip. I highly recommend anyone in the area take the trip to see it, it’s probably best early spring, as according to wikipedia it dries up in the summer, it’s a short maybe 1 mile each way hike from the road and it’s south west from the campground in a small valley behind some trees.
Update – 4-12-2013
Mike, another adventure team member, made the hike last weekend and had this to report as well as some of the pictures below.
I had a Friday off from work, so I decided to head up to Lytle Creek and check out the Bonita Falls that I had heard so much about. We parked in the turnout area, put up our Adventure Pass and headed down the “trail.” There is a pleasant creek that you have to cross before you start your way through the rocky path. I was told to stay to the left while walking down the dry rocky creek so we did not miss the trail to the falls, so that is what we did. That route made for an adventure in itself as we were trekking our way through rocks of all shapes and sizes. I did happen to see a gopher snake slither away from me, but I kept that to myself because my girlfriend is petrified of snakes and I don’t know if she would have finished if she knew there were snakes where we were walking. On our way back we did find an easier route on the middle/Northern side of the rocky creek. But any way you go that won’t get you hurt will work!
You’ll walk for about a mile, then you will notice an area on your left that has more vegetation than the rest of that area on the trail. There is an old sign covered in graffiti and that is your cue to turn left and head through the trees. There are multiple small trails into the brush, but follow your ears and they all should lead you towards the right path. At this point you are almost there and you can hear water falling down the creek so your anticipation builds with excitement. A little ways up the winding path you will find multiple little pools. At the end of this, there is the high, exquisite waterfall.
When we reached our destination, there were some people playing in the pool. But they left shortly after so we were able to enjoy the water. We made it the opposite side of the waterfall to where you hike up and you can feel the breeze that the water creates as it falls from the top. We took some pictures, rested and headed back the way we came. This is an awesome short hike. The only thing about this hike that makes it remotely difficult is trekking your way through the rocks on your way in and out, but it is still really enjoyable.
Get directions below and let us know if you have been there.