Difficulty: 5/10 to Bat Cave; 7/10 to the waterfall
Overall Rating: 4/5
Time: 2hrs round trip to the bat cave; 3 to 4 hrs roundtrip to the waterfall (about 30 minutes past Bat Cave.
Elevation Gain: Approx. 300 feet to the Bat Cave; 500 to the waterfall
Gradual incline up a riverbed. Rock scrambling throughout. Expect the trail to be wet, even in the dry season. Not dog friendly; though a small/toy size dog would be okay.
Driving left out of the Ross main gate or clockwise traveling through the west farm region along island main road. 5 to 10 minutes from Ross Vet School, depending on rate of travel, you will see a long green cement wall belonging to the Challengers Day Care Center on your right running parallel to the road and on the left a basketball court. At the end of the cement wall, make a right turn onto the dirt road. Drive up the hill, bearing left and drive to the end of the road across an old railroad. Park here.
When standing in the parking lot, to your left you will see an old railroad bridge trestle. Do not go this way, instead proceed through the burned out cane field in front of you. Up ahead you will see a path headed into the woods, this path will take you down into the creek bed. Once you reach the creekbed, turn right.
The first section of creek bed is relatively easy to traverse, winding its way upwards towards the mountains. There is one section that is narrow and can completely flood out in the wet season and/or after a good soaking rain. If that section is flooded, you can bypass it by climbing onto the right wall and working your way along that wall until you make it past the flooded section.
The boulder as we so call it is a 15 foot tall rock that blocks the entire riverbed; it is reached within 20 minutes max. of starting this hike. There is a wooden ladder affixed to the face of the boulder with two new sturdy ropes. Be careful when climbing the ladder, the rungs are somewhat loose so try to step as near to the center as possible.
Once past the boulder continue to follow the creek bed upstream. At one point you will come to a fork in the riverbed, stay left. From that fork it is about another 10 to 20 minutes walk to reach the Bat Cave.
If you wish to continue on to the waterfall bear left around the bat cave and continue following the creekbed upstream. In about 200 feet you will encounter a short waterfall, the only way to get past this point is to actually climb the waterfall itself which is actually easier than it looks.
Once past this waterfall walk another 10 minutes or so till you encounter another small waterfall. Only after exceptionally dry spells will you be able to make it any further than this. If it has rained recently, there will be a large pool of water between you and the ropes you need to climb leaving you with no way to get to them.
If you make it up those ropes, follow the streambed for another 10 minutes or so to reach the waterfall. Waterfall is roughly 30 feet though it barely runs.
- Trail conditions change frequently and drastically; do not assume that the trail will be the same from one day to the next.
- If it has rained in the previous week, expect to get wet and too likely make it no further than the bat cave.
- Ropes and ladders on the boulder are not always present and how they are configured frequently changes; thus keep in mind that the ropes may be configured very differently than how it is described above.
- Parking is minimal at this hike; room for 2 maybe 3 cars max so carpooling to the trailhead is a must.
- Rocks are exceptionally slippery so exercise caution at all times
- River bed has tested positive for lepto in the past so it would be wise to leave the dog at home.
Map and GPS Points of Interest
Google Maps Engine: https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zPhxi0e6Ldgs.ktc8zv1kIGto