Kitchen Creek Falls (via Kitchen Creek Road)


One of the best parts about writing this blog is hearing from readers who are just as big of hiking nerds as we are. We have learned considerable amounts of great information from people who take the time to email or leave comments discussing different trails and routes. After our post on the hike to Kitchen Creek Falls from Boulder Oaks Campground last year, we got an email from a reader who basically said, “That looks great, but wouldn’t it be easier to start at Kitchen Creek Road and go south on the PCT?” A quick look at the topo map confirmed that yes indeed, the southbound route would be a mile shorter and have less elevation gain, so another hike was added to our to-hike list!

A warm May weekend provided the perfect day to go chase a waterfall, so we made our way up Kitchen Creek Road and easily found the PCT trailhead and turnout on the side of the road. The trailhead was marked by a PCT blaze mounted on a metal post.

We set off down the narrow dirt path, admiring the green growth all around us. We could see the trail winding along the mountainside in the distance.

It wasn’t long before we could hear water running down hill on our right. Soon we caught a glimpse of Kitchen Creek running through the canyon below.

At .43 miles we passed a metal gate, the purpose of which mystified us.

As gorgeous as the creek was, we were also enamored with the rocky formations of the mountains around us.

Around .85 miles the trail began to bend southward, following the contours of the canyon below.

We enjoyed more views of the creek flowing below.

And being mid-May, we passed more than a few PCT thru-hikers heading in the opposite direction.

As we continued, we spotted Interstate 8 in the distance.

We did our best to ignore the existence of the freeway and focused on the falls area instead.

Finally, at just past the 1.5 mile point, we spotted a subtle use trail branching off on the right. Just past this point, there is a PCT trail marker and the trail bends sharply to the left, so if you reach that point you’ve gone too far.

We followed the use trail as it headed north, down towards the creek.

The final descent involved climbing down some steep rocks, but we took our time and managed not to break any ankles.

Finally, we reached the water and set about enjoying the falls.


View the full photo gallery

Directions:
Take I-8 east to the Cameron Station/Kitchen Creek Road exit and turn left onto Kitchen Creek Road. Follow Kitchen Creek Road for approximately 2.5 miles to a wide turnout on the left where you can park. map

Total Distance: 3.6 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Total Ascent: 620 feet
Dog Friendly?: Leashed dogs allowed
Bike Friendly?: Bikes not allowed
Facilities: None
Fees/Permits: None

For more information, visit:
Cleveland National Forest – Kitchen Creek Falls
View route or download GPX from CalTopo

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