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Sparkie is visiting Nojoqui Falls Park, at 3250 Alisal Road, about 6 miles southwest of Solvang and about 2 miles from Highway 101 at Old Coast Highway. Santa Barbara County owns and operates the park, but leases access to the waterfall.

It’s a pleasant and easy 10-minute walk to the waterfall from the trailhead, however, the last segment of the trail right before the waterfall has been closed since a landslide on Dec. 3, 2014. It is still possible to see part of the falls from the barrier, but it isn’t as exciting as seeing the 100-foot falls.

The falls are fed by a natural spring, so there is a trickle of water year-round, however, the falls are more impressive after a heavy rain. The trail runs beside and crosses over Nojoqui Creek.

The small creek is a rare and wonderful sight in northern Santa Barbara County. It originates in the Santa Ynez Mountains above the falls and joins the Santa Ynez River just south of Buellton.

The name Nojoqui is a Chumash word, pronounced naw-hoo-wee. The falls and creek were named after the Chumash village Naxuwi, meaning meadow, according to James Wapotich, who has researched the area. Apparently, the village was located downstream from the falls.

The park is open daily from 8 a.m. to sunset. Dogs are allowed on leash. Group areas can be reserved, and there are many individual areas with barbecues, tables and benches. There are also restrooms, ball fields and a playground.

Check back here next Friday for another “Where’s Sparkie?” contest.

Keep up with Sparkie’s adventures and see all his posts on by liking his Facebook page: www.facebook.com/wheressparkie. To see additional photos, visit Sparkie online at www.santamariatimes.com and search for “Sparkie.”

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