March 16, 2013 · 10:30 AM
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A relatively easy, >4 mile hike up a canyon in the lower San Gabriels to a 40-foot waterfall. This popular trail can get crowded on the weekends, but is still worth a visit – especially in the spring when wildflowers take over the lower portions of the canyon floor. Suitable for adventurous beginners, this trail has several stream crossings, and optional, MUCH more strenuous trails to the top of the falls, as well as another moderate trail on fire roads and single tracks through some of the eastern nature preserve outside the canyon. A must-see for waterfall lovers, even if you have to fight for a good view. The Basics: - Distance: 3.76 miles - Elevation Gain: About 400 feet - Time: About 90 minutes, depending on how long you want to linger at the falls or explore the meadows - Trail Condition: Very good. Trails are heavily traveled and easily spotted. The major junction with the trail that heads toward the waterfall is clearly marked, and the official Eaton Canyon Trail has signs, but there are several use trails that spur off the main path that are unmarked. Stick to the main path for this hike, or explore the surrounding meadows and natural areas. - How To get There: From the 210, take the Sierra Madre Blvd / Altadena Dr exit and head north. The park’s entrance will be on your right in 1.7 miles. - Map Trailhead The Notables: - A 40-foot, mostly year-round flowing waterfall - Large swaths of wildflowers near the canyon’s mouth in spring - Multiple stream crossings - Relatively close to “civilization” - Nature Center with docent-led hikes, open from 9AM to 5PM daily More Pictures: - on Flickr No profile image for this hike — my GPS receiver got a little freaked out by the canyon walls, so the elevation readings are not very accurate Eaton Canyon is one of those must-see hiking areas of L.A., both because the waterfall is actually impressive by San Gabriel standards, and that it’s so darn close to the city that you really don’t have any excuses not to go. The trail is easy to follow, and as long as you can hop across some boulders in a river (or have some hiking sandals to wade through), you’ll be just fine getting through the hike. If you’re lucky enough to hike this area during the springtime, you may also get to see some great blooms near the trailhead. The lower stretches of this trail are pretty level, and wind through some brush and chaparral on the way to Eaton Canyon Creek.