Leor’s Devils Falls and Hellhole Falls Loop
After last weekend at Canogas Falls, Leor carefully studied the satellite imagery and he discovered several previously unreported waterfalls. The official approach to Canogas Falls is only open one day per year, and that was last week. Canogas falls is on public, National Forest property, but the standard way of getting to Canogas requires going through Big Creek Preserve, which is private property, and can only be visited on their open house or with special permission. His route avoided the private property, so Leor’s new route is a fully legal access to Canogas (and other falls). Here you can find Leor’s account of this journey and Route that he designed. Below, I account the journey with some details about the challenges and vistas that you might encounter.
After looking at the satellite pictures, I knew I HAD to join him in spite of my groin injury. Sure enough, when we arrived at the first big falls, Leor was right: he had found a real gem via satellite! I think he’s going to name them “Devil’s falls.”
There are 3 cascades, the lower 2 are the biggest and most magnificent.
We reveled in the beauty of these falls for a long time, but we knew we needed to get out of there. We debated turning back or making the full (much longer) loop. Eventually we flipped a digital coin, and it said to turn back. Leor said, “man!” I said, “sounds like you wanted to keep going…” So, we ventured off into the unknown – worrying that at any point we could encounter a cliff/waterfall that would be too big to scale, and we’d have to turn back – perhaps late in the day). We kept going down Middle Fork, and it was as pleasant as creek walking can be. At the confluence of South and Middle, we headed up South Fork, and immediately things changed. It was quite a bit steeper, and we were frequently greeted with waterfalls. This would have been great, but we had to get back on a trail before sunset. After passing Canogas falls (the falls from last week), we kept climbing, encountering difficult falls after difficult falls. Suddenly, I saw something… “We’re F****ed!” I exclaimed! Leor thought I was joking until he saw the cliff that was spitting water through a notch. It was a super looking falls, so we got up close for a look and pictures – but we knew that we would have to go around it or turn back (turning back now would mean doing hours of off trail travel in the dark; getting to the cars by maybe 2am). The terrain was very steep on the walls of the canyon, and we were worried that we were running out of time. We climbed the delicate, loose rock, finally making it to easier terrain.
The relentless South Fork hit us with just one more surprise falls that we had to climb around the long way. Eventually, we made it to some cleared trail. Even though it was a difficult trail, it felt so easy after all that climbing over rocks and blown down trees! At the springs, Leor went ahead, and we ran into the darkness with our headlamps. It was a genuinely epic day!