Cooper Canyon Falls, July 30, 2017: Buckhorn Campground, Pleasant View Ridge Wilderness, Burkhart Trail to Cooper Canyon Falls, Little Rock Creek (776 ft. +/-) 3.7 miles RT

This is a very pretty, very green trail that starts at Buckhorn Campground and leads you into the Pleasant View Ridge Wilderness via Burkhart trail down to Cooper Canyon Falls. This is an upside down trail, so if you do it as an out and back you'll gain your elevation on the way back going all uphill. The falls were just a trickle, but it was a beautiful hike and fun to explore the creek at the bottom of the canyon. 

We started our hike around 07:25 AM from Buckhorn Campground on the Burkhart Trail leading into Pleasant View Ridge Wilderness, 26,752 acres of protected land.  You do not need a permit to enter this wilderness.  The moment you step onto the trail, you are engrossed in a forest of lush green.  Oak, Douglas Fir, Jeffrey Pine and Incense Cedar offer a canopy of shade along almost the entire journey.  As you walk, you can see and hear Little Rock Creek far below.  It’s very peaceful with only the sounds of flowing water and morning songbirds.  Aside from the campground which was very full, the trail itself was quiet and we had it mostly to ourselves the entire hike.  The trail makes a steady descent downward into the canyon.  It’s an easy grade and not too steep, although as you get closer to the falls, it can get a little rocky with some loose gravel.  It's nothing too difficult, just watch your step.  Along the way we crossed over two creek beds which were nice for photography.  We took our time to explore the area and did a little boulder hopping along the creek.  

It seemed we’d traveled a bit further then we should have to get to the falls, and we still hadn’t seen them.  I got out my map to take a look to see where we were.  As suspected, we had actually passed the area where they were supposed to be.  At this point we headed back the way we came, and I found the use trail which is a short, but steep scramble to get to the bottom of the canyon where the falls would normally be had it not been summer.  At this time of year, however, they were just a trickle of running water on mossy rock which is why they were so easily missed.

Although there wasn’t a rushing waterfall to see, we were not at all disappointed.  This hike was beautiful.  Satisfied that we’d reached our destination, we now continued our ascent all uphill now back to the trailhead at Buckhorn Campground.  We took our time to enjoy the scenery and peaceful splendor of the wilderness.  

 The sign for Pleasant View Ridge Wilderness at the beginning of Burkhart trail at Buckhorn Campground.

The sign for Pleasant View Ridge Wilderness at the beginning of Burkhart trail at Buckhorn Campground.

 We were immediately submerged in a forest of green.

We were immediately submerged in a forest of green.

 Gorgeous pine in the morning sun.

Gorgeous pine in the morning sun.

 Scarlet Monkeyflower.

Scarlet Monkeyflower.

 Morning starburst through towering trees.

Morning starburst through towering trees.

 Incense Cedar

Incense Cedar

 A beautiful canopy of shade along the journey.  I saw two California Sister butterflies flying under the oaks and up and down the canyon.

A beautiful canopy of shade along the journey.  I saw two California Sister butterflies flying under the oaks and up and down the canyon.

 More gorgeous sunshine!

More gorgeous sunshine!

 One of the two creek beds we crossed.

One of the two creek beds we crossed.

 Scarlet Monkeyflower at the creek bed crossing.

Scarlet Monkeyflower at the creek bed crossing.

 Little mini-pinecones nestled in a spider's web.

Little mini-pinecones nestled in a spider's web.

 At this junction, follow the Burkhart Trail to the falls (not Cooper Canyon).

At this junction, follow the Burkhart Trail to the falls (not Cooper Canyon).

 This is a wider view of the junction.  Stay on the Burkhart trail.

This is a wider view of the junction.  Stay on the Burkhart trail.

 You are also on a section of the PCT and Silver Moccasin trail.

You are also on a section of the PCT and Silver Moccasin trail.

 Interesting tree roots that look like faces.

Interesting tree roots that look like faces.

 Another creek bed that we crossed and soon realized we'd missed the barely trickling falls.

Another creek bed that we crossed and soon realized we'd missed the barely trickling falls.

 This is a use trail I found that you can scramble down to get to the falls... if they are falling!  :)

This is a use trail I found that you can scramble down to get to the falls... if they are falling!  :)

 Lots of ferns along the way.

Lots of ferns along the way.

 On the way back we took our time and I got some beautiful photographs.

On the way back we took our time and I got some beautiful photographs.

 Going up the trail heading back I took this photo of part of the rocky slope.  

Going up the trail heading back I took this photo of part of the rocky slope.  

 More rocky terrain.  Easy to negotiate.

More rocky terrain.  Easy to negotiate.

 Taking in the view on the way back.

Taking in the view on the way back.

 So much green!

So much green!

 California Aster

California Aster

 Almost back to the car at this point.  It was a beautiful hike.

Almost back to the car at this point.  It was a beautiful hike.