Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Central Park Invite in style. Saucony, A Snail’s Pace and Fountain Valley HS teamed up for one more day of XC action in Huntington Beach, CA.
After a few months of planning, hours of set-up and with over 4,000 runners competing it is pretty amazing that the Saucony crew was still able to sneak in the photo booth for some shots….Looking good guys! Another cross country season in the books for So Cal, thank you Snail’s Pace for partnering on such a great event
Distance (There and back): < 3 miles (First Water Trail = 1.2 miles one way. There is about a <.5 hike to this trail head via the Stutervant Falls trail.)
Level of difficulty: Intermediate to moderate
What you’ll need: -Car to get up the mountain -A backpack with snacks and water -Hiking shoes that can get wet -Adventure Pass sold in several locations in arcadia for $5 (the sign to the state park lists all the locations which sell passes locally.) OR you can bring a $5 bill, and there is a self serve parking pass by the general store in the parking lot. You are required to put your $5 in an envelope and write your license plate # on the outside of the envelope. Cute little honor system. (There are permit patrol, and you WILL get a ticket if you haven’t paid.)
When to go: Time of year - Spring Summer Fall Time of Day: AM-Evening (it gets extremely dark down there fast, even though the sun hasn’t “set” yet, because you’re so deep within the canyon. Once you emerge back up top, the sun will still be out if it hasn’t set yet for the day. Recommend beginning your trip back up about an hour before sunset.)
Isolation: There are people all through-out this hike. (We went on a Wednesday afternoon and all 3 parking lots were full.) Cell Phone Service: No. Pet Friendly: Yes. (Dogs on leashes required - $150 fine if not. some dogs had trouble on the rocks in the actual swimming pools. I saw several people helping their dogs.)
Bathroom Facilities: Yes, in the parking lot there are 2 bathrooms (and 3 parking lots.)
This hike is extremely downhill for the full 1.2 hike! It’s definitely intermediate-moderate depending on how well you can handle steep grades. It takes about 45 mins to hike down, and about an hour to hike back up.
This place has amazing natural swimming holes, but obviously attracts tons of people. There were probably between 30-45 other people there throughout the day (we were swimming for about 3 hours).
The cool thing about these pools is that there’s natural water slides that you can utilize from one pool to the next (for the top tier and middle tier. The third tier is hard to get to, and the only way in is to jump, about 65ft jump.)
The top tier is about waist deep and flows from the First Water Trail. It’s a nice little lax spot to sit with a dog, or kids. This is the first level to have a “slide” (approx 5ft) you can get to the middle tier (with a tiny in between tier I wouldn’t really count as a pool, but does contain a slightly bigger slide, approx 8-10ft.)
In the middle pool there are several different jumps you can do. The lowest being about 25, the top being 55ft. The pool itself is probably about 20ft at its deepest point. People were jumping from all different levels, including backflips.
The third pool I couldn’t get access to because I wasn’t going to jump 65ft to get into! It also is extremely hard to get back up to the top from here, other visitors were saying, because you basically have to rock climb out. No thanks!
The water is really cold! I normally don’t find water too cold, and I was shivering from it even in the sunlight. These pools are tucked away deep in the canyon so the sun starts to “set” on this location around 4:30pm. By 5:00, the entire top and middle tiers were shaded.
The only negatives about this place is there’s a lot of youths, so lots of garbage, day drinkers, and graffiti! The people that were up there were really nice though and helpful (a group of teens helped me to jump, even though I was really scared!) and lots of dogs!
I really want to go back here, as there were several other trails including one to the more popular Stutervant Falls. But I really want to go back to jump again, and do the rock slides again! They were AWESOME!
I say pack for a whole day of fun if you’re going up here. Eat well beforehand (protein), and bring snacks and water for the day!