Adventures in Escondido Falls
Editor's Note: Only 2 pictures survived Brittany's trip to Escondido Falls. Per Brittany, the phone that had most of the pictures was destroyed during the trip.
Recently, I went to Escondido Falls with about 20 of my friends. And though our story from that trip may sound similar to the paring down of the Fellowship in LOTR, be assured that all of us had a blast, no matter which part of the Falls we reached.
The hike to Escondido Falls is 4 miles, round-trip. We carpooled to the trailhead because there’s very little parking there. The trail starts at the Winding Way Trail in Malibu, just off-of the PCH. The first mile of the hike is a dirt trail bordering a busy road. The trail is narrow and we had to hike in a single file line, like a Chinese Dragon, kicking up dust behind us.
We transitioned from the human world into mother nature’s as we headed deeper into Escondido Canyon, which was lush with verdant plants and expansive oak trees. This was my second visit to the canyon and it was nice to see the wilderness thriving, after witnessing the dull brown death they had sat in for years.
We walked through the canyon, selfies forgotten, as we enjoyed the land and navigated our way through and around streams. This is where we lost our first two adventurers. Mike, one of the tallest and lankiest guys in the group, bit it after he jumped across a particularly large stream. He slid in the mud and promptly landed on his butt, in mid-split form. The other victim, Erica, didn’t propel herself enough and landed in the middle of the stream. That stream ended up being much deeper than she thought it'd be. They lagged behind to clean up while we continued to Lower Escondido Falls.
Lower Escondido Falls is beautiful enough to stay at for hours. But we decided to venture forth towards the upper falls. This is where it gets more difficult. We hiked up a very steep trail and clung to ropes to as we pulled ourselves up to a chain-link fence. I made a mistake and didn’t plan ahead when I climbed up, and I ended up underneath a ledge below the fence. There was no way I was going to be able to parkour myself up and over that ledge, so I had to do a side shuffle to get where I needed to be. After a few minutes of heavy breathing and wondering how I was going to get back down, we crossed through the fence.
Next up in the obstacle course were huge boulders that we had to hop across to get to Upper Escondido Falls. It had been a tough hike already and the distance between rocks combined with my shaking legs made me a little worried. But my friend Jack offered to be my Legolas and catch me if I pulled a Gimli. Jack saved my life that day. He stopped me from falling on sharp rocks and bushes. After ten solid minutes of boulder hopping like in a Mario video game, we finally made it to the Upper Falls. And it was everything I thought it would be.
Besides the rushing sound of water, Escondido Falls is actually peacefully quiet. Like in an Elfin Kingdom, the intense stream of water poured down the tiered falls which were covered in thick carpets of moss. I tried to climb up higher to see if a fairy had taken up residence behind the falls, but I got soaked and abandoned my dream for a warmer day.
My friends Jack, Justin, and Lola decided to continue on to the top of the falls. According to them, they came across guide ropes that were even more difficult than the ones we experienced earlier. I was far too exhausted to go with them and just exchanged waves with them from the bottom. After some meditation, water splashing wars, and relaxing, we gathered our stuff and went to meet with the rest of the group at Lower Escondido Falls.
This was a difficult hike, but if you’re up for it, we highly recommend it! If you've been, tell us about it in the comments below.
Brittany Morgan Williams is a Voice Over Actress, Writer, and Editor. Brittany currently resides in LA and is from Redding, CA. She loves camping and hiking in the great outdoors. Brittany has a double Bachelors in English and Theater, Film, and Dance from Humboldt State. She has several years of experience editing written content, and for the past two years has been editing novels with the author Dana Burkey. Brittany also recently finished editing a money management book with Tom Monson. She has edited fifteen published books in total. Contact Brittany @ firstname.lastname@example.org