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.
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.
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.
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)
You may also view a regional map of surrounding Southern California trails and campgrounds.
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