Seven Falls Sierra Club Hike
By Robert Bernstein
As with Red Rock, Three Pools Above Seven Falls is a fun but challenging hike to lead and I was grateful to Sierra Club Outings Chair Alejandro for leading a Sierra Club hike there. Here are my videos and many photos.
There is a connection between Red Rock and Seven Falls. The 2005 floods wiped out access to Red Rock on Paradise Road for an extended period. Young people seeking daredevil adventures discovered the Seven Falls area as an alternative. As a result, it was rather "loved to death" after that.
Here I posed with my hiking and unicycling friend Danielle above the start of the Seven Falls. The overlook rock we were standing on marks a fork in the trail. One fork leads to Seven Falls. The other fork, in the direction we are facing, leads up to Arlington Peak.
Soon after that overlook comes the biggest challenge of this hike: What I call the Scary Rock. Back in the 1990s and earlier it was not too difficult to climb. But so many thousands of people came after 2005 that the hand and footholds were worn smooth. Some kind volunteers have chipped new hand and footholds into the rock, but it is still a challenge. It is best to have a companion to guide you.
Here our hike leader Alejandro led the way. Followed by fellow unicyclist Philip who is quite adventurous and fearless!
Here Danielle makes the scary climb up the Scary Rock, but she thought it was no big deal! She even gave me a hand as I followed her up.
Here was the view from above the Scary Rock, looking back down:
Of course, the "Seven Falls" were not really falls! More like this:
Lots of rock hopping and beautiful rock formations. Here was one similar to what we see at Lizard's Mouth.
This was cool, too.
And some of the rocks have fossils of sea shells from when this was under the ocean.
This is the first of the pools above Seven Falls. It is easy to mistake this for the "real one" that was our destination. Not much of a pool!
Above that pool is another Scary Rock. Fearless Hiromi was leading the way in this photo.
Is this rock mocking us?
After that it was just a bit further to the famous Water Slide Pool. So deep that you can jump from the top. But not now! There was enough water in the slide. But the pool had filled with gravel and silt. So, no way safely to slide or jump in. Argh!
Alejandro vowed that he would return and dig out the gravel and silt so that the pool can fill with water once again. It would mean moving multiple tons of material. Alejandro is a strong guy, so I am betting on him pulling it off! He led the hike a year earlier and said it was all good back then. I had not been there since 2013.
Here I posed at the pool above that pool.
Danielle and fellow hiker Michelle found four newts in those pools and carefully lifted them up for closer inspection.
On the way back down, fellow hiker Mike and I scouted another way down the Scary Rock. Still scary, but not as much of a drop if something goes wrong!
The total hike was only about four and a half miles, but we felt like we had hiked ten miles!
You can see the schedule of all of our local Sierra Club Santa Barbara Group hikes through Meetup here. Everyone is welcome! If you are a member of Meetup you can receive free notifications of future hikes!