Friday, March 13, 2015

Rattlesnake Falls

Rattlesnake Falls.
Here's a nice little overnight getaway, a trip into the Sisquoc to a remote waterfall called Rattlesnake. Spring is short and the greenery goes fast. In trying to make the most of it I was joined by Nick Bobroff and Jack Elliot. We took off out of Santa Barbara Canyon, climbed up to Sierra Madre Ridge, descended Judell Canyon to Heath Camp where we dumped most of our gear, and continued downstream a couple miles to this sweet little horsetail falls.

The falls, about 80ft in height, was tucked way back into a deep culdesac that receives very little sun. A large apron of calcific deposits covered in forest green moss fell beneath a twisting spout. A quiet cascade of aerated whitewater cut the apron in a single streamer which splashed into a dark, chest deep pool. We lazed in the shade on that warm afternoon. Nick, a former lifeguard, was the only one to test the waters, verdict: "cold". I've gotten a bit old for polar bear antics in shady alcoves. Had the sun been on the water I would have joined him, but since that was not the case Jack and I sat back and had a good chuckle at this demonstration of baptismal bravery.

In the evening we ate tasteless freeze-dried "delicacies" and burned an excessive amount of firewood while being serenaded by the local owl and what must have been the world's loneliest frog. The stars blazed bright in the crisp night air and as the fire burned low we wandered off to bed. 

In the frosted pre-dawn I crawled out of the bag just far enough to crank up the pocket rocket and boil some coffee. I lay on my side listening to silence while sipping a steaming cup. The others rose and we quickly threw our kits together and moved back up Judell, topping onto Sierra Madre Rd two hours later, another nice outing behind us.

Wide open desert. Judell Canyon.
Heading downstream from Heath Camp toward Rattlesnake Falls.

Two-tailed Swallowtail Papilio multicaudata
The Sisquoc.

Nick, admiring his new favorite oak.


  1. Sounds Like a great hike. I will have to put this on my list to do this spring. Thanks for the great blog.

  2. Fun trip. Glad to finally make it out to see Rattlesnake Falls; it's a beaut!
    Highlight of the trip for me still might be that amazing oak. I've resolved to hike back out there (maybe next winter/spring) to better photograph it.

  3. David,

    Enjoyed the pictures; does have the looks of a nice getaway.


    I'd be interested in joining you for your return visit next winter/spring.