River/Creek · Waterfall
This 3 mile round trip run follows Holy Jim Trail
up to Holy Jim Falls.
There may be fire restrictions in effect.
Need to Know
This trail is extremely popular and could be crowded on the weekends.
To reach the trailhead, off-road or four-wheel drive vehicles are recommended as Trabuco Creek Road is potholed and quite rough.
From the trailhead, head north on Holy Jim Trail
up the canyon road. On this well-shaded part of trail runners will pass numerous private cabins that are on land leased from the Forest Service. After about 0.5 miles the path becomes more trail-like and runners continue up the vine and oak covered canyon as it follows and crosses the creek several times. Stone check dams were built by the California Department of Fish and Game in the 1950s to create deep pools for fish. At the fork at about 1.4 miles, take a right onto Holy Jim Falls Trail
( a connector trail) towards Holy Jim Falls. After some boulder-hopping and creek-crossings, runners reach Holy Jim Falls, a 20 foot tall waterfall surrounded by lush flora including oak trees, ferns, and vines.
Thanks to John McKinney, The Trailmaster, for sharing this trail description. To learn more about trails in California, check out his guides at The Trailmaster Store
Flora & Fauna
Oak, sycamore and fir trees, vines, and ferns.
History & Background
This part of the canyon was popular among pioneers in the early 1800s. These "mountain men" tended to be woodcutters and professional beekeepers. The trail, falls, and canyon all take their names from "Cussin" Jim Smith, one of these early settlers who had a proclivity for using "unholy epithets" when displeased. Mappers in the earth 20th century changed his name to "Holy" Jim Smith, in an effort to not honor such a blasphemer with geographical landmarks.