Nojoqui Falls Park: Stop Here for Waterfalls and Playtime

Nojoqui Falls Park is a truly unique destination. Visitors enjoy the large park with grassy areas, barbeques, and playgrounds. But what truly makes the park stand out is the peaceful – and easy! – hiking trail that leads you through scenic woodland vistas to a stunning 70-foot waterfall. 

This hike alone makes Nojoqui Falls Park a great place to explore for anyone who loves the natural beauty California’s Central Coast has to offer, but the additional facilities make it the perfect setting for a fun-filled afternoon with family and friends.

We first visited Nojoqui Falls Park while driving to spend a couple of days in Santa Barbara. After a long cold stretch, the sun was finally shining and we were eager to enjoy the outdoors again. And we weren’t the only ones! When we pulled into the park area, I thought there must be a festival happening. But it was just families grilling and enjoying the beautiful day together. We had some company on the trail to the falls, but there was plenty of room for everyone and we all enjoyed the fresh air break.

Whether you’re enjoying a long weekend in the Solvang area or just looking for a great stretch break on a 101 road trip, Nojoqui Falls Park is a great spot to relax and explore.

Things are always changing! Make sure to double-check for schedule changes and closures before your trip.

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Nojoqui Falls Overview

Sign at the trailhead to Nojoqui Trail
  • Length of Hike to Nojoqui Falls: 0.8 miles, out and back.
  • Difficulty: Generally easy, though some loose gravel and dirt closer to the falls make the trail a bit slippery. Bring shoes with traction.
  • Address: 3250 Alisal Road, Goleta, CA 93117
  • Dog Friendly: Dogs are allowed on leash.
  • Bathrooms: Yes, there are park bathrooms near the playground and barbeque area
  • Know Before You Go: Winter storms damaged roads and trails this year. It’s always a good idea to check for closures before you go.

Nojoqui Falls Trail

The boys playing with the trees on the Nojoqui Falls Trail.

Before we walked to Nojoqui Falls, I knew to expect a fairly quick and easy out-and-back trail within a popular family-friendly county park. I had trouble reconciling this idea with the feeling of wilderness, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that the trail itself, though easy to find, was removed from the hustle and bustle of families grilling and playing.

Once you’re on the trail, you’ll find yourself on a well-marked, wide trail shaded by laurels, sycamores, and oak trees. Within minutes, the boys were in their element, scrambling up and sliding down them.

They were also enviously watching kids splash and play in Nojoqui Creek. We weren’t dressed for creek play that day, but I assured them we’d come better prepared next time. Tip: if your kids have river shoes, bring them with you!

Stairway up the incline on Nojoqui Creek Falls Trail.

The slight incline on the way to the falls is made even easier thanks to a rocky stairway. After a couple of bridged stream crossings, you can hear the water speed pick up.

The falls were likely at their fullest during our spring visit, as were the crowds! Many groups were angling to get up close to the water, and John and the boys went to join them. I was wearing a sundress and sandals (told you it was an easy trail!), so I took in the scene from further back. To me, the best views are looking up!

Spring is the best time for waterfalls across California, and we visited on a picture-perfect spring day. As the summer goes on, expect the flow of the waterfall to slow and the creek levels to lower. The falls may dry up by late fall depending on rain levels. But even with less water, I’d expect this hike to still be an enjoyable one.

Playing in Nojoqui Falls Park

In addition to the lovely shaded trail to the waterfall, Nojoqui Falls Park has many amenities shared by similar-sized county parks: green space, playgrounds, ball fields, and – of course – bathrooms.

Nojoqui Falls Park Playground

The playground at Nojoqui Falls Park.

The small shaded playground is conveniently located near grills, picnic tables, and bathrooms. 

When we were there, cows were grazing on the property next door to the park. Waterfalls, a playground, and animal-watching made for a pretty amazing stretch break in our book! 

And if you want more, there’s even a family-friendly winery and farmstead across the street. See below for details.

Nojoqui Falls Park Barbeque Areas

The grassy area at Nojoqui Falls Park.

During our visit, it seemed like every grill in the park was in use! Smaller grills were located across the street from the parking lot. There were also four large barbeque pits with reservable picnic areas.

If you know are going to host a large barbeque, be sure to reserve a picnic area in advance.

rests and your budget during the planning stage. 

Getting to Nojoqui Falls Park

There are two ways to get to Nojoqui Falls Park. The most common is via 101. The second is through Solvang. Winter storms can damage the road from Solvang, so it’s a good idea to check for closures before you go. 

Once you arrive near the park entrance, you might notice people parked along the roadside. I recommend giving the parking lot a try first. People come and go, and we were able to find a spot even though it was a busy day. 

The parking lot is conveniently located between the trail and the playground. Directions from the parking lot to the trailhead are well-marked.

Directions from 101

From 101, take the Old Coast Road turnoff. This isn’t a clear exit. You’ll be making a right off the freeway if you’re heading north. If you’re headed south, you’ll turn left across northbound traffic.

You’ll drive down a long country road past the Folded Hills Winery and Farmstead. Turn left onto Alisal Road, and then right into the park.

It’s about a 5-minute drive to Nojoqui Falls Park from 101.

Directions from Solvang

From downtown Solvang, you’ll turn right on Alisal Road, which is one block east of Solvang Park and one block west of the Mission. 

You’ll follow the road out of town, past three golf courses, and the Alisal Ranch, an all-inclusive family resort that’s been on my list for some time!

The park is a 15-minute drive from downtown Solvang via Alisal Road.

All smiles as a family at the Nojoqui Park Playground

Folded Hills Winery and Farmstead

As we were driving to Nojoqui Falls Park, the Folded Hills Winery and Farmstead caught my eye. I’m including information here because I probably would have made time to check it out had I known about it before driving by.

There are picnic tables at the Tasting Room and Farmstead. They are available on a first-come, first-served basis. If you’re like us and like to bring your snacks and meals on the road, this would make an excellent picnic stop followed by a waterfall hike and playground break at Nojoqui Falls Park!

Folded Hills Winery

You’ll notice the lovely tasting area for Folded Hills Winery on your way to the park along Old Coast Highway. The Tasting Room is open daily from 11 am to 4 pm. 

Walk-ins are welcome or you can book ahead here

Children are always welcome at the Tasting Rooms and the Farmstead. You can also bring the family dog if they are well-behaved and kept on a leash while at the property. 

In addition to tasting, you can order wine by the glass, bottles of wine, and a cheese and charcuterie Provisions Box. You can also reserve a dedicated wine and cheese pairing experience.

In addition to wine tasting, visitors can enjoy bocce ball, cornhole, and other yard games on-site. 

Folded Hills Farmstead

When our kids were playing at the Nojoqui Falls Park playground, we were excited to see some cows grazing nearby. We didn’t realize that we could head over to the Folded Hills Farmstead and meet the resident goats, sheep, peacocks, Kunekune pigs, llama, and donkeys!  

At the Farmstead, families can enjoy a picnic lunch and harvest fruits and vegetables in the farm’s U-Pick fields. You can also stock up on organic produce and other goodies at the farm stand and help feed the beloved resident farm animals. 

At the time of wiring, the Farmstead public hours are Friday – Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm. 

If you are planning a visit, email the team ahead of time to learn how you can meet the animals that live on the private ranch: George the camel, Zazu the zebra, and the farm’s Clydesdales, Gus and Dolph.

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Nojoqui Falls Park FAQs

The Nojoqui Falls Trail is 0.8 miles, out and back. Generally considered to be an easy trail, the average time it takes to walk to the waterfall is 10 minutes (20 minutes round trip). 

Once you arrive near the park entrance, you may notice people parked along the roadside. Drive into the park and give the main parking lot a try first. People come and go, and we were able to find a spot even though it was a busy day. 

The parking lot is conveniently located between the trail and the playground. Walking directions from the parking lot to the trailhead are well-marked. 

No, Nojoqui Falls Park does not have entry or parking fees. The park has four picnic areas that can be reserved for a fee.

Yes! Leashed dogs are allowed on the trail to Nojoqui Falls. Folded Hills Winery and Farmstead down the street also allow well-behaved leashed dogs. 

From 101, the drive to Nojoqui Falls Park is about 5 minutes (just under 2 miles). Once parked, it’s about a 10-minute walk to Nojoqui Falls from the trailhead. 

All in all, Nojoqui Falls Park is an easy and worthwhile break from a Highway 101 drive. If you prefer picnic lunches to fast food, I highly recommend stopping here instead of a fast-casual restaurant along the way. 

Enjoy your visit to Nojoqui Falls Park! And check out more of our California road trip favorites:

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