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Holy Jim Trail in Trabuco Canyon

Holy Jim Waterfall Hike


Is your family ready for the adventure of a lifetime? Then the Holy Jim Trail in Trabuco Canyon is just what you were looking for. Located in the hidden hills of the canyon is a trail that your family will create unforgettable memories together while hiking along the lush green path. The best part of this trail is that there is a beautiful waterfall waiting for your family at the end of the trail!


When you know that you have arrived


The drive into the Holy Jim Trail

Where is it located?
This can be a bit tricky. I’ll admit that even though we have been here multiple times that we still often drive right past it. Here are the directions provided by the State of California:

Head east on Chapman Ave towards the foothills. This turns into Santiago Canyon Rd (S18). Turn left at Live Oak Canyon Rd. At Trabuco Canyon turn left into a dry creekbed (Trabuco Canyon Rd). Park at the end of the road.


When you first turn off of Live Oak Canyon Road into the gravel parking lot – this is not where your park. You will need to drive quite a ways, and still continue when the road get “extremely bumpy.” You will not arrive until you see a giant green building, and this is where you park to start the hike.




What to bring
This hike is pretty easy for young kids, but it will take you at least 45 minutes to drive to the trail head, and then a couple of hours exploring the hiking trail. We arrived about 10:30 and did not get back until 3:30. Bring plenty of water, and a good size picnic lunch. Our family had lunch at the waterfall while the kids splashed in the water to cool down.


I recommend bringing an SUV if you have one. The drive into the trail gets very bumpy, and you’ll have to drive quite slow with little kids in the car. Plan on your car coming back covered in a blanket of dirt – but it will be worth it.

We found the Holy Jim Trail

At the opening of the trail are some homes (some recently burned down). Although some of them look vacant, there are people living in them. It is recommended to keep the kids of their properties and continue along the trail.


One of the homes at the opening of the Holy Jim Trail


Bring your kids with hats and good tennis shoes (hiking shoes if they have them). There is a lot of poison oak along this trail, so point out what it looks like to your children when it is first spotted on the hike.


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