San Antonio FallsACA Rating: 3BIII
Gain: 2000 ft.
3-9 rappels depending on downclimbing ability (probably 6)
San Antonio falls is an easy but fun canyon that is a great route for beginners. It involves several rappels many of which are through waterfalls. The route is in the sun most of the day and generally no wet suit is required. However, this does depend on conditions.
Getting There and Red TapeFrom the 210 freeway in Rancho Cucamonga exit mountain avenue and head north till you hit mount baldy road. Make a right turn toward the baldy ski area and follow mount baldy road through baldy village till you hit manker flat campground. Go about another hundred yards or so and you are at the manker flat trail head. Park on the side of the road here. A forest adventure pass is required to park in this area.
ApproachThis canyon can be done in part or in whole. This page is on the whole canyon if you want to do only part of it than you will have to figure out the approach on your own. There is supposedly a way to access just the bottom portion of this canyon, but I am unfamiliar with it. You can also drop in from several places along the ski hut trail.
Leave the trailhead by walking up the gated paved fire road on the west side of the parking area. Soon you will be able to see the falls to your left. Continue up the road about 200 more yards and you will see a trail cut up the hill to your left this is easy to miss. This is the trail to the ski hut you will know it is the correct trail when you see the trail register. Continue up this trail to the Ski Hut and then drop into the canyon to the left of the trail.
The Upper Canyon
The upper canyon is a fairly easy, but soon you hit the first rappel.
This is the only major obstacle in the upper canyon. There are other places where you may wish to rappel, but we decided to down climb them all. Be aware that much of the rock is wet and loose. If you are not comfortable downclimbing than rig a solid rappel anchor. The upper part of this canyon is much less traveled than the lower part. You will probably not see anyone here. Please be self sufficient and careful.
Lower CanyonAfter about a half hour or so the canyon starts to get interesting again with several more rappels. You will come up to a drop that appears to have no anchor. There is a set of bolts in the wall on your right side behind a bush. (There are also some on canyon left near the drop. I did not notice these on my previous trips through the canyon. The bolts appear to be newer and may have been added within the last year.)
Continue down canyon for a little while and you will come to a third drop. On this one the bolts are pretty obvious on a bulge just right of the stream a couple feet back from the lip. The anchor can be rigged for a dry or wet drop. While wet might be more fun the drier option will be an easier pull and will allow you to rappel a little farther down stream through a slick polished section. I would recomend the drier option.
Immediately afte the third drop you are at the top of the fourth. The anchors are located out around a corner at about chest height on the left side of the canyon.
This is the most interesting drop in the canyon and you are going to get wet. Make sure your ropes are not tangled before rappeling into the waterfall. A knot here would not be fun. (On a recent trip through this canyon I noticed more bolts canyon right. These may set you up for a slightly drier rappel.)
Immediatly down stream you wil see the next anchor. It is only a short low angle rappel to the top of the last rappel. The last rappel has two options
1)wet: rappel off the bolts in the boulder in the center of the stream.
2)dry: rappel off the bolts on the left side of the canyon.
On this last rappel you are almost guaranteed to rappel into the middle of a crowd. The lower falls is a popular tourist attraction.
-200 foot rope
-harness, belay device, self rescue gear
-40' of webbing rap rings
External LinksGood page on canyon Here
Beta for shorter version here
Although it is possible to do just the bottom portion of this canyon which contains most of the drops, the upper portion is well worth the extra effort.