Nick Carver Photography Blog

Photography Tips, Tutorials, & Videos


Escondido Canyon Falls

My brother and I took a hike yesterday in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area near Malibu, CA to see Escondido Canyon Falls.

Upper Escondido Canyon Falls - Malibu, CA

We'd never been here before and I've never even hiked in Los Angeles County before, but I read great things about this waterfall, so we decided to take a chance on it. There are an upper and lower falls that both consist of a long drop where water clings to the cliff in its descent. It's not a ton of water pouring off these crests, but the waterfalls are impressive nonetheless - especially for being tucked in this wealthy, densely populated area of the country. You really wouldn't expect to see waterfalls of this size here.

The lower falls is about 60' tall and is easy to get to. I didn't get any pictures of the lower falls because the light was ugly. But the second falls is an adventure to reach with very steep rock scrambling - part of which necessitated using some pre-tied ropes to assist your climb - and tight squeezes through brush. The reward, though, is worth it.

Most sources I find online say the upper falls is 120'-150'. I call foul on that. Can't be more than 80'. But still very impressive. Check the second picture below for scale (I'm on the left and I'm 6'2"), just keep in mind that the extreme wide angle I had to use for the shot distorts sizes and actually makes the falls look much smaller than it is.

Upper Escondido Canyon Falls - Malibu, CA

Upper Escondido Canyon Falls - Malibu, CA

Overall, we must have hiked about 6 miles. Great work out, but I was beat by the end of it.