This is an out and back hike. You can shave off 3.6 miles by taking the tram. However, you'll have to pay and wait for the tram both ways. The parking lot tells the story. It's huge and crowded. Expected though as this is a great area attached to a city. Hiking this trail out of season "may" thin the crowds. If the signs along the way are confusing enough my distances below don't agree with the posted distances. Sorry, normally I'd just go with what's posted. However, they seem to be off by a quarter mile in places.
At the visitor center check out the maps. From the men's restroom head out on the trail. Shortly after at the wide three way intersection take a left onto the super wide trail. It's wide because it used to be the tram road. Be forewarned it gets rather muddy when it rains. Follow the old dirt road to the 0.5 mile point at which you encounter the paved tram road. Take a right onto the paved road. Follow for 1.3 miles to the 1.8 mile point. Along the way you have two questionable intersections. Take a right both times. The first is approaching some restrooms. The second comes shortly after crossing a bridge.
Now 1.8 miles into the hike you've reached the real trail. It's 2 miles to Seven Falls. You must cross the small-boulder lined creek bed numerous times. Each crossing is marked on both sides so you shouldn't have any problems finding your way. Old concrete dams or bridges (I'm not sure which) have been washed away by flooding.
The seventh crossing comes shortly after some big boulders. A switchback takes you up a bit. Soon you will look over to the left and Seven Falls is right before you. You come to a sign stating Bear Canyon Trail #29 continues on. A short side trail takes you to the falls. It goes down left from the sign. Be careful hiking around the pools. The lowest pool is the largest. I believe the second pool up is deeper as that's where the divers seem to be. Overall this is an easy hike. The obvious attraction is the falls. Personally I don't find the approach very photogenic without running water. Don't take that wrong I recommend the hike! - May 26 2000 joe bartels