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Saturday April 27, 2013

Switzer Falls 2 Hikes

Hike 1: Switzer picnic area to Switzer Falls

Distance: 5 miles with 800' evaluation gain
Rated: Easy to Moderate
Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
Leader: Linda

Hike 1 Description: The hike starts at Switzer Picnic Area. From the parking lot the trail passes a few restrooms and heads down to Switzer Falls. Just pass the 50' water fall we climb down into the Arroyo Seco, a scenic treasure. Once inside the canyon the stream is lined with oaks and alder, with water cascading over granite into mirror-like pools. There will be stream crossings that could require easy boulder-hopping.

Just before Bear Canyon, Hike 1 and Hike 2 will separate. Linda will lead the Easy Hikers back to the parking lot. Dave will lead the more adventurous hikers into the rugged and very isolated Bear Canyon. (See Hike 2 description below)

Both Groups Meet at Towsley Cyn to carpool at 6:15 AM or Meet at trailhead by 07:30 AM, Adventure Parking Pass required at Switzers Picnic Area. Directions to Trailhead below.

Hike2: Switzer Picnic Area to Bear Canyon

Distance: 8-9 Miles with 1200' evaluation gain
Rated: Moderate+ with Difficulty factor
Hiking Time: 7-8 Hours
Leader: Dave

Hike 2 Description: Same as Hike 1, but in addition, we will continue up Bear Canyon to Bear Canyon Trail Camp. Rugged Bear Canyon is spectacularly wild, steep walled canyon, isolated and very peaceful. Wear lug-soled boots, the trail is in poor shape and you will need to scramble, cross the creek, and boulder-hop. There are two washouts on the trail we will need to cross that are about 75' above the canyon floor. Other than the occasional scramble up and down to the creek, the trail keeps a pretty level elevation. Bear Canyon Trail Camp is surprisingly remote and surprisingly large. Because of the isolation, this area is teaming with wildlife. On the trips we have taken on this trail we have seen deer, bear, and Dave once caught a fish! More tall tales to be told on the trip!
On our way out and if you are up to it we can check out the trail to the base of the falls. If you're careful, you can scramble up a use trail which will get you to a deep swimming hole. If you keep climbing up a bit farther, you can make it to an even more secluded and larger canyon swimming hole, with more water streaming down the side.

Bring water, snacks, lunch, camera, and good boots with lots of traction. Hiking poles are helpful.

Both Groups Meet at Towsley Cyn to carpool at 6:15 AM or Meet at trailhead by 07:30 AM, Adventure Parking Pass required at Switzer picnic area.

Directions to trailhead: Take 5 South to the 210 Frwy. Exit on the Angeles Crest Hwy (2 north). Take the Angeles Crest Hwy 10 1/2 miles to a turn off to the picnic area. The turn off is 1/2 mile past the intersection of the Angeles Crest Hwy and the Angeles Forest Hwy. There will be a sign indicating the Switzer Falls Picnic Area. Turn right and descend 1/4 mile to the parking area. Parking lot is almost always overcrowded, so carpooling is recommended.