San Antonio Creek

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San Antonio Creek Canyoneering Canyoning Caving
Also known as: San Antonio Falls. For other features with similar names, see San Antonio (disambiguation)
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San Antonio Creek Banner.jpg

Difficulty:3B III (v3a2 III)
Raps:‌6, max ↨90ft
Overall:1-7h ⟷4mi
Approach: ↑2000ft
Red Tape:No permit required
Condition Reports:
14 May 2023

"A lot of water, pretty darn chilly, but so hot in the wetsuit that it felt pretty refreshing. Water was pretty pushy, used final anchor DCL to avoid g

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Best season:


San Antonio Falls is an excellent local training ground for SoCal canyoneers. One can hike to the Ski Hut and complete the entire canyon, or simply hike up the approach gully east of the last falls. The second option is often the best, as the upper section of the canyon avoided by this approach has but a single 70ft or so rappel, and lots of walking down a creek.

The average descent time is about 3 hours, and the fastest time so far seems to be 27 minutes (short approach variation).

The final rappel is the checkpoint for this canyon, as it is visible from the approach trail.


For the whole canyon, hike up Baldy's Ski Hut trail to the Ski Hut. From here, hike to the stream and down the canyon. Your first rappel will appear within 10 minutes or so.

To reach the shorter, suggested approach, hike up Falls Road from Baldy Road. You'll come to the big turn with the wooden posts forming a wall, and a view of the canyon. The trail to the base of the falls is in front of you. If you follow it, turn right up the obvious gully before the trail makes its first turn left. Follow this up and keep an eye out for the eventual turn left. Follow the beaten path through the trees. It then crosses some steep slippery ground, bearing left, then making a sharp right turn up steeper ground. Follow this trail and drop in above the first rappel down some class 3 rock and scree.

Here are some pictures on the shortcut approach:


The descent from the Ski Hut involves an additional 70ft+/- rappel and some creek walking down to the next rappel. You might want to bring 10ft+ of webbing and a new link for this anchor if it hasn't been touched in awhile.

The following is from the shortcut route:

  • Rap 1: 2 options

1) 77' from bolts DCR

2) 67' from bolts DCL

  • Rap 2: 4 options

1) 64' from furthest pair of bolts DCR on big platform which drops you over a wall down to the lowest pool (level with Rap 3 DCL anchor).

2) 48' from nearer pair of bolts DCR on big platform which drops you over a wall directly in right of the 2 water spouts for 35ft into lower stepped pool, then down low angle slab in the water course to the lowest pool, needing a total of about 80 feet of rope from the anchor.

3) 45' from bolts just out of the water course DCL which drops you into the highest stepped pool. Continue to 59' under the 2 water spouts and into the lower stepped pool. Continue to rappel down the slab using a total of about 90 feet of rope from the anchor.

4) 90' from bolts on an exposure slab of rock DCL overlooking the stepped pools and water spouts. Be careful getting to this anchor as it's sketchy down-climbing to it.

From the lower stepped pool there is a single bolt DCR on a shelf that can be used to rappel 19 feet down the slab to the lowest pool. This allows Rap 2 to be split, because often the pulled rope gets caught in the stepped pools.

  • Rap 3: Two options

1) 95' from bolts high DCL will take you into a V trough and maximum water hammer directly in the waterfall. Often you can duck under the main flow and avoid be hammered.

2) 85' from either pair of bolts DCR. The right and higher bolts keep you mostly dry. There is a redirect bolt half way down to really stay out of the water except the last 10 to 20 feet. Down-climb or slide slowly down to opposite side of canyon to access this station, or rappel off the bolts in option 1.

  • Rap 4: Two options

1) 65' from bolts with mostly bent flat hangers on a boulder, low angle and can be slippery. The anchor is hit by debris during storms, so bring some extra webbing and links just in case.

2) 75' from bolts on 2 different boulder about 10 feet up stream from option 1 bolts. These generally do not have webbing on them.

  • Rap 5: Two options

1) 70' from bolts DCL down a dry chute with a Yucca growing into it.

2) 90' from bolts back and high DCR that puts you directly in the water course. The webbing and links are often stolen from these stations, as there is a class 3 scramble up canyon right that folks take all the time.

All anchors except the rappel by the Ski Hut are bolted.

San Antonio Creek Water Flow - Full route from Ski Hut


The exit is as easy as they get. Simply hike out onto San Antonio Falls Road, and back to your car.

Red tape

Beta sites

Trip reports and media

San Antonio Falls in the snow 01/09/16:
Facebook Photo Album
Video Suit Up Extravaganza


First known canyoneering descent on May 27, 2000, by Mark Duttweiler, David Wales and Chris Brennen.


Information provided by automated processes. KML map by (unknown). Main photo by (unknown). Authors are listed in chronological order.

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