Thursday, January 19, 2017

Hike 2017.003B -- Rubio Canyon Waterfalls

Hiked Friday, December 13. 2 miles. After getting back to my car at the trailhead for Millard Canyon falls, I drove back down Chaney Trail, headed east on Loma Alta Drive, then south on Lake, to Mount Curve. Left on Mount Curve Avenue, Left on Maiden Lane, then left on Rubio Canyon Road, left Rubio Crest Drive, and right on Rubio Vista Drive. I parked at the curve where Rubio Vista Drive turns into Pleasant Ridge Drive. The trailhead for this Rubio Canyon hike is at the corner. Google Maps labels this trail as Mount Lowe Railroad trail.

Not shown on Google Maps is that, at the site of where the pavilion for the incline trains would take up to Echo Mountain, a trail also continues upstream (and downstream) along the canyon floor. Most of the time, this canyon floor is dry. But on occasion, the sound of running water can be heard in this canyon.
Such was the case on Friday the 13th, when the sound was unusually loud. Heavy and extended rainfall had occurred several times during the month already. So, even though I had just headed up this canyon a few weeks previously, I was eager to check out this canyon, again (especially after having seen how high the water was in Millard Canyon).

So, happily, as I made my way upstream, I had to take some care on my many stream crossings. The water wasn't objectively high, but it was higher than it had been in years (at least not this high when rain was not actively falling).
The first waterfalls you hit are Ribbon Rock and Moss Grotto Falls. Moss Grotto is originally above Ribbon Rock. On most trips over the past few years, the falls were a dribble, at best. On this day, both were flowing, nicely. They were't roaring, by any means, but they were actually flowing, and describing both as "waterfalls" required no qualification. They looked great.

Both falls are somewhat overgrown from what they looked like when I first visited these falls (nor on my second visit), particularly Ribbon Rock.
Heading up the ravine to the east of these falls, I stayed to the right of the willow tree that grew a 150 or so yards up, then looped around it to take the easiest route up towards the overlook for Thalehaha Falls. It was not running quite as high as the first time I saw it, but it still left a nice bridal veil, falling towards the canyon bottom.

Thalehaha is a startlingly high waterfall. It's a really unexpected site, particularly when the water is flowing nicely. But its dimensions do not always translate well in photos. It's only when people are rappelling down the face of the falls that you really get a human dimension to the place.

BTW, my last link below also mentions Fish Canyon Falls. Sadly, Fish Canyon Falls is currently under a closure order, due to the Fish Complex fires of early last year.

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