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Hike to Black Star Canyon Falls

Silverado, California

based on 8 reviews



7.5 miles

Elevation Gain

913 ft

Route Type



Added by Douglas Hall

Looking to find Orange County's best preserved gem? I have uncovered an amazing adventure for you waterfall loving fiends. Be sure to add this to your to do list, if you don't, you'll be bummed!

Waterfalls in Orange County are far and few between, with the best lying near and inside the Cleveland National Forest. Black Star Canyon Falls are some of the best just after a rain if you are heading out during a dry time of the season you should still expect to see some water. Free parking, easy directions and a WATERFALL you can't pass up this much beauty. The only limitation for some is that there are some tricky boulder areas for the last mile roughly leading up to the waterfall and back down. Make sure you know your limits! 

Hiking Trail Directions to the Waterfall

  1. Beginning at the white gate hike roughly 2.5 miles up an easy fire road until you come across an old rusted sign that has the words Black Star Falls cut out of it. (I have it pictured above). It is roughly a fast paced part of the hike and will take anywhere around 40 minutes to an hour.
  2. Stay on this trail for roughly a mile, distances will slightly change from person to person because you can hike in the riverbed or above on a trail parallel to the river. This trail will take a while due to climbing over boulders or walking on steep and slippery river banks up a canyon.
  3. This will dead end at the waterfall. Be careful to not stay too close to dark because it's a long hike down the riverbed. Also be sure to bring slightly warm clothing for the way down if you are at night and it's not summer out, the canyons can drop in temperature fast.

Make sure when doing this hike that you are prepared for climbing over boulders for nearly a mile. It is not just a basic hiking trail that is steep.  There is not much elevation gain but you are going to be crossing the water many times and you need to be able to climb over human-sized boulders. 

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Easy Parking
Family Friendly


The roundtrip from the parking area to the waterfall and back is about a seven Mile roundtrip. Doing this hike in the spring when the stream is full is the most enjoyable way to go. You might get your boots wet depending on the level. The downside to spring is Poison Ivy growth. Definitely where pants if you're doing this one while plants are growing and blooming. The only time I did this in shorts, I ended up with it all over my legs. It sucks so be careful. Otherwise, it's an awesome Hike.

Definitely one of the funniest hikes in a while

We loved this hike. We had our dog with us, but she's pretty good at climbing and getting dirty, though sometimes we did have to put her on or off boulders. So if you have a large one, make sure you're ready to carry your pup. Other than than that it was a full body workout. Make sure to bring hiking shoes, since once you wet your sneakers there's a big chance you'll keep sliding on the ricks. Just prepare yourself and enjoy!

Started this hike about 7:45 am, glad we did because the canyons gets very hot after the sun is really up. Bring layers!! I highly recommend wearing pants, there was a ton of poison ivy along the trails. Be aware of snakes. Saw a couple garter snakes and heard rumors of a rattlesnake from other hikers. The riverbed is pretty much your trail so as long as you stay with it, you will reach the waterfall. Some rocks are very slippery. You can make your trail as difficult or as simple as you like. The waterfalls at the end are definitely worth climbing over tons of rocks for. The beginning of the trail is just flat and paved for the first two or three miles and then difficulty increases as you get closer to the falls. Bring lots of water and maybe leave furry friends at home for this one!

I frequent this area and it's worth the trek. Definitely recommend getting their early, now that there is water it's a super popular spot! I've hiked up to the top of the falls and down. Sketchy, but rad!

I honestly love this hike. I would suggest waterproof shoes and some chalk if you want to climb some rocks. The trail is in the "riverbed" most years it is pretty dry, but this year with all the rain it is wet. This is also a supposed haunted hikes. I haven't seen anything to suggest that and I have been on this trail several times.

Blackstar Canyon was honestly a workout! The first 1-2 miles of the trail is quite flat, but once you see the "Blackstar Falls" sign, that's when the fun begins. As you walk through, you'll come across a river; follow the river to lead you to the falls. We got a lot of water because of the previous rainy weather, but I heard from other returning visitors it's usually all just rocks and dry. There are a lot of boulders to climb over. I read other reviews that said to be ready to "boulder and climb," I assumed rock climbing/bouldering so I took my climbing shoes, not necessary.But do wear shoes with good grip and ones you don't mind getting wet and dirty. This hike is a definite workout with upper body strength, core and legs. Expect to use every muscle if you plan to hike through the boulders. There are also alternative paths if you cannot climb through the rocks, but be aware of the loose dirt/gravel. After you hike 4 miles over boulders, you'll find yourself in front of the beautiful Blackstar Falls. You can climb into the little cave at top if you commit to getting wet from the waterfalls. To the far right of the falls closer to the trees, there's a rope you can climb up, I didn't go up there but visitors told me it goes up pretty high and sometimes the rope isn't necessary. This hike was 7-8 mi round trip. With leisurely climbing and taking pictures, it took my friend and I about 5-6 hrs, but if you drill through it, you could probably cut 2 hrs. Anyways, overall an awesome fun hike that I will definitely coming back to with more friends!

This is an AWESOME hike! Start off slow and it gradually goes into switching side to side across the stream, scrambling over boulders and walking on fallen trees and slippery rocks.... getting muddy and sliding on your bottom down loose muddy gravel, BUT landing at an amazing waterfall. You have to start early because it does get crowded. I don't know why I wouldn't think this would be a popular trail was on Super Bowl Sunday!

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


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