Hiking Trails

Popular hiking trail in the San Bernardino Mountains with more wounds at Forest Falls

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

But San Bernardino County Fire Department officials are reminding people to heed warnings issued by the US Forest Service to stay out of the area known as Big Falls due to dangerous conditions near the waterfall.

“Especially in years when we have lower water flow, it exposes rocks that are literally smooth as glass,” said firefighter Eric Sherwin, who said so far this year he has completed nearly a dozen rescues.

Unfortunately, there have also been two deaths this year.

“They all come from the exact same spot on this track,” Sherwin said.

“Yesterday we had another one for a grown woman who went hiking in the enclosed area and slipped and fell. Thankfully she suffered non-life threatening head injuries but still had to be evacuated by helicopter and transported to a local trauma centre.”

A viewing area at the base of the waterfall, marked by a wrought iron handrail, is the farthest the public is allowed to go given the current closure.

However, there is no signage at the location; the only public notification that Big Falls is closed is on a sign near the trailhead parking lot.

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

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