Hikers warned of danger near popular waterfall site in San Bernardino Mountains

Rob McMillan Image
Wednesday, August 31, 2022
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Southern Californians who are heading to the San Bernardino Mountains for relief from the heat wave are being warned to stay away from a dangerous spot at Forest Falls.

As a late summer heat wave rolls into Southern California, many residents are heading to the lakes and streams of the San Bernardino Mountains for relief.

But officials with the San Bernardino County fire department are reminding people to heed warnings posted by the U.S. Forest Service to stay out of the area known as Big Falls because of how dangerous the conditions can be near the waterfall.

"Especially in years where we have lower water flow, it exposes some rocks that are literally slick as glass," said firefighter Eric Sherwin, who said so far this year they've had nearly a dozen rescues.

Unfortunately, there have also been two fatalities this year.

"They're all coming from the exact same spot off of this trail," said Sherwin.

"Yesterday we had yet another for an adult female that went hiking into the closed area and slipped and fell. She sustained fortunately non-life-threatening head injuries, but still required helicopter hoist evacuation and transport to a local trauma center."

An observation area at the base of the waterfall, marked by wrought-iron hand railing, is the farthest the public is allowed to go given the current closure.

However, there is no signage at the location; the only notification to the public of the closure of Big Falls is on a sign near the parking lot for the trailhead.

A violation of the closure order is a federal offense and could mean a fine of up to $5,000 or up to six months in jail.