Heart Rock Trail San Bernardino Mountains hike Crestline California Seeley Creek Falls

How is it possible? How is it possible that a perfectly heart-shaped hole could form in the rock wall flanking Seeley Creek Falls? This amazing formation does exist and can be reached via a short, relatively easy one-mile round trip hike in the San Bernardino Mountains near the town of Crestline.

The dirt trail to Heart Rock descends 200 feet, following Seeley Creek on a gradual northward descent through a mountain forest of black oaks and Jeffrey pines. At 0.3 miles from the trailhead, the trail drops close to the creek at a junction with a path breaking off to the right down to babbling water shaded by tall alders. Stay to the left to continue toward Heart Rock. There are blue hearts and arrows painted onto rocks along the trail to keep you on course.

Heart Rock Trail
Heart Rock Trail along Seeley Creek
Heart Rock Trail
The trail passes a hallow tree above Heart Rock Overlook

After half a mile of hiking along the sylvan stream, the trail climbs to a landing where a large dead pine will attract your attention. Heart Rock Overlook is near! If you find yourself going down a steep narrow path, you missed the trail to the overlook. Beyond the landing, the steep path drops to the creek where you can find a natural water slide (when the water is flowing) just below Seeley Creek Falls. Venture upstream to the base of the 20-foot waterfall for a non-optimal perspective of Heart Rock.

Heart Rock Trail
Standing at Heart Rock Overlook

The best view of Heart Rock comes from the overlook. When you reach the landing by the big hallow tree trunk, stay to the right, following the painted signs down to an outcropping above the waterfall. Be cautious as you peer over the ledge’s edge at the perfectly carved and completely natural heart-shaped hole in the granite wall alongside the waterfall. The heart is a few feet wide, a couple feet deep, and surprisingly symmetrical.

Heart Rock Trail
Heart Rock

Spring and summer are a popular time to visit Heart Rock when Seeley Creek flows and the waterfall gushes. The trail remains enjoyable even when the creek dries out in late fall as autumn colors appear, brightening the black oaks along the trail. This short trail is good for children who can spend hours playing in the creek (but watch them closely on the overlook above Seeley Creek Falls). No permit is required to hike to Heart Rock, and it is free to park at the trailhead (a National Forest Adventure Pass is no longer required). Dogs are welcome, so get out and enjoy!

To get to the trailhead: From the 210 Freeway in San Bernardino, take exit 76 for Waterman Avenue (Highway 18). Drive north on Waterman Avenue, which leaves the city after 2 miles and becomes Rim of the World Highway. At 11.3 miles from the 210 Freeway, take the exit ramp onto Route 138 West. Drive 2.6 miles through Crestline and the Valley of Enchantment to the entrance of Camp Seeley. Turn left on Forest Service Road 2N03, pass the camp and follow the dirt road across Seeley Creek and over a rise to the trailhead, 0.4 miles from Route 138 where the dirt road becomes gated. The trail to Heart Rock begins next to a marker labeled 4W07.

Trailhead address: Route 138, San Bernardino National Forest, Crestline, CA 92325
Trailhead coordinates: 34.257, -117.305862 (34° 15′ 25.2″N 117° 18′ 21.1″W)

Trail Map
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Elevation Profile
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You may also view a regional map of surrounding Southern California trails and campgrounds.


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These photos were taken in November of 2012. Click to enlarge.
Nearby Trails
Marshall Peak Marshall Peak
This 3.25-mile round trip hike reaches a panoramic summit above the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains.
Heaps Peak Arboretum Heaps Peak Arboretum
Take a short hike on Sequoia Trail and Footprint Trail to learn about the plants, animals, and natural history of the San Bernardino Mountains.
Towne Trail Towne Trail
This 2 2/3-mile round trip hike takes a gradual course across the mountains on the south side of Big Bear Lake.
Southern California Trails More hikes in Southern California
Explore more trails in Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego counties.

28 Comments on Heart Rock in the San Bernardino Mountains

  1. Chad wrote:

    Does anyone know if a pass is required for this area?

  2. Karen wrote:

    Approximately how long is the hike?

  3. Julie wrote:

    Our family is thinking about taking a fall outing to this area & just confirming – at this time, was wondering if you still don’t need an Adventure Pass for this location? I see you mentioned there is free parking at the trail head. I would imagine there aren’t spots, just parking on the side near the trail head? Thanks so much for your time.

  4. Christina wrote:

    Just wanted to say ‘thank you’ for the awesome post about the hike. I found it online yesterday morning and we went hiking to the heart yesterday afternoon. It was spectacular :)

    The hike was exactly what I read. Of course, I did not tell my husband at first, so he thought it was a lucky find. I came clean when we reached the waterfall and saw the heart. We took lots of photos and had a fabulous day.

    p.s. to Julie, we found parking at the trail head for several cars. There was only one other car when we parked and we saw three parties of hikers along the way,

  5. rhiannon rathwell wrote:

    You see a heart, but when I look at the entire rock formation surrounding the “heart” (image 21) – all I can see is a skull.

  6. Zeke wrote:

    Do not park in camp seely you will be towed

  7. Nic wrote:

    I’m nervous about visiting waterfalls in Southern California during such a drought as we’re having – is this water fall currently running or is it mostly dried up? I can’t seem to find any current photos of it since 2010.

  8. crystal wrote:

    Can I take a stroller on the trail?

  9. Jennifer wrote:

    Can you park an RV near heart rock if wanting to attempt this hike on our road trip through California?

  10. JrLafaele wrote:

    been there just last week and it looked liked a Tsunami rushed in there. Went hiking there in Feburary and it looked fairly nice. The second time wasn’t too bad still looked the same, the water levels weren’t too bad. The third time we went to hike it looked like a Tsunami washed Big boulders, Rocks, and even ripped trees off its roots laying just about everywhere throughout the whole trail. The water levels the third time around were lowered big time compared to the first two times i hiked there this year. Its a good hike for the family and friends as you don’t have to climb anything drastic.

  11. […] sister-in-law asked us if we wanted to go for a hike to a place called “Heart Rock.”  Just the name itself got me very interested and when I saw photos on the internet of this […]

  12. Garry wrote:

    did the fires affect this area, my lady and i want to hike here tomorrow

  13. Annie wrote:

    Can you tent camp there?

    • Lissa wrote:

      I don’t think so. There really isn’t a place for that there

  14. Lissa wrote:

    Just went here today it was so beautiful & peaceful. Waterfalls everywhere it was nice and cool fresh air, but I do recommend wearing a bug repellent lots of mosquitoes, flies etc.

  15. criselda wrote:

    do you need a photography permit here?

  16. Michael Asper wrote:

    My name is Michael asper I grew up going to heart rock in voe I miss the mountains

  17. Christine Wiebe wrote:

    Are dogs allowed on the trail?

  18. Alex wrote:

    Curious about the drive up there. I know the roads can be icy sometimes. How can i be aware if i need chains on my wheels or when to avoid the icy roads ?

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