Past Meetup

El Nino Is Coming and Let's Hike Fish Canyon Waterfalls

This Meetup is past

18 people went

Fish Canyon Waterfalls

3901 Fish Canyon Road, · Azusa, CA

How to find us

3901 Fish Canyon Road, Azusa, CA 91702

Location image of event venue


Organizer: James

Location: 3901 Fish Canyon Road, Azusa, CA 91702

Hike Difficulty: Level 3/10

Distance: Approx 5miles

Elevation Gain: 900’ - 1,000'

Time: 3 hours

Trail condition: Single file trail with 40% shade

Water: Minimum 2 liters

Guest: 1 or more adults only

Dog: Yes

Liability Waiver: Required. This is the link. (

Toilette: Unknown

This is an easy hike of about 5.2 miles (round trip) with an elevation gain of about 900 ft. Please be advised - There is poison oak along the trail, so long pants are recommended. No fee or permit is required to hike to Fish Canyon Falls, so get out and enjoy!

Fish Canyon Falls Trail: At 0.7 miles from the start, you will reach another trail kiosk at the site of the former trailhead and the boundary of San Gabriel Mountains National Monument (Angeles National Forest). Pass through the fence and cross a metal bridge over Fish Canyon Creek to enter the beautiful part of the canyon and continue onto the real trail.

Fish Canyon Falls Trail wraps around a bend and leaves the sound of the quarry behind. Walk right along the creek for a short stretch before the trail climbs to the left up a few short switchbacks to come to the first of several panels along the trail with information about Fish Canyon (a tenth of a mile from Fish Canyon Falls Bridge). As the trail progresses along the side of the canyon, you will pass patches of beaming wildflowers in the springtime, like sunflowers, wishbone bush, blue dicks, and larkspur.

On the right side of the trail, there are steep drops down to Fish Canyon Creek. Hike carefully as the trail makes its way back toward the floor of the canyon. A reflective pool of water has built up in one section of the creek behind a landslide caused by heavy rains in December of 2014. At 0.3 miles from the start of Fish Canyon Falls Trail (and 1 mile from the start of the hike), pass through the ruins of several cabins that were built along the creek. A panel here explains how Fish Canyon once hosted a lot more than hikers:

At one time there were over 100 cabins in Fish Canyon. Many had permanent occupants, while others were sanctuaries for city dwellers. In October 1958, a devastating fire destroyed many of the cabins. The following winter, floods wiped out many more. By 1971, there were only a few cabins left in Fish Canyon. Remnants of some of the cabins are still visible today.

Continue up the trail through beautiful scenery along Fish Canyon Creek. Boulders in the creek create small rapids and pools while sycamores, bays, and alders providing relaxing shade. Enjoy soothing scenes as the trail weaves up the canyon.

At 0.7 miles from the start of Fish Canyon Falls Trail (and 1.4 miles from the start of the hike), there is a sharp switchback to the left as the trail climbs higher above the canyon floor. Your legs might get a little tired over this stretch of the trail, but it leads to nice views up and down Fish Canyon. After another half mile, the trail heads downhill and uses a unique flight of wooden steps to pass through a bay laurel and come down closer to Fish Canyon Creek. Enjoy a shaded stroll down by the creek before the final ascent to the waterfall.

With 0.35 miles to go, the trail crosses Fish Canyon Creek and switches to the east side of the canyon to approach Fish Canyon Falls. The waterfall is quite a sight! Water springs from the lip of the canyon into an upper pool, slides down a short drop, and tumbles down the third and longest tier. There is a decent sized pool at the base of the falls and plenty of room to stretch out and enjoy a snack.

The small elevated pool beneath the upper falls is not accessible to hikers, but could make for an adventurous climb for those with proper gear. Below the large pool at the base of the third tier, there is actually another short waterfall as the creek takes one last leap before flowing down the canyon. The main three tiers are said to be 80 feet tall, although the total distance from the top of the falls to the base may be closer to 130 feet. Fish Canyon Falls Trail ends at the waterfall, so return the way you came for a 4.8-mile round trip hike with 650 feet of elevation change.

To get to the quarry and trailhead: Make your way to the intersection of the 210 and 605 freeways in Azusa (east of Pasadena). Exit to Huntington Drive and head east. After a few blocks, make a left on Encanto Parkway. The quarry is about one mile up the road (which becomes Fish Canyon Road). Drive north on Encanto Parkway. You will see Fish Canyon Rd. entering from your left at a stop sign - DO NOT TURN LEFT - continue straight ahead. At 1.3 miles you'll pass the entrance to Encanto Equestrian Center (marked with a yellow sign), a dirt road going off to the left. Fish Canyon Rd. continues to the right. In another 0.2 mile there will be a dirt parking lot on the left side of the road. continue another 0.25 mile past this trailhead parking lot to the Vulcan gate. There is a sign to the right of the gate that says "Trail" - follow the parking lot access road to the right. Find a place to park and meet us at the entrance to the trail near the handicapped parking.

Trailhead address: 3901 Fish Canyon Road, Azusa, CA 91702
Trailhead coordinates:[masked], [masked] (34° 09′ 24.33″N 117° 55′ 25.24″W)

Our Policy:

All volunteers: Your hike leaders receive no compensation for organizing this event or any other event.

Profile photo: Anyone interested in joining US Hiking must have a profile photo showing his/her face. This is a requirement of our group. Without it, you will not be allowed to sign up for an event.

Waiting list priority: People who hike with with US Hiking regularly will be given priority when they are on the waiting list.

Advanced hikes: Anyone interested in participating in advanced hikes (>3,000' elevation gain or distance > 10 miles or Difficulty Level > = 7) will be subject to prescreening before his/her name will be added to the list. Therefore, interested hiker must share with the event host his/her recent hiking background to establish proficiency before his/her name will be added to the list. Guests are not allowed on advanced hikes.

Early departure: If a hiker needs to be separated from the group for any reason, he/she must inform the event host. Not knowing a hiker's where about may prompt the event host to report a hiker's missing to proper authority for further actions.

No show: If you sign up for an event but did not show up, you will be removed from the next event you sign up.



If you have prior medical condition or a family history of illnesses pertaining to heart, lungs, brain, etc. that can be aggravated by heat and physical exertion, this is not the hike for you.If you have never done a hike of this distance or difficulty before, this hike will be very difficult for you.

It may well be your death march. The mountain is not going anywhere. We will schedule this event again in the future. Do it when your mind and body are ready.

Hiking is a recreation, not a suicide mission.

Release of Liability:

The organizer (me) of this trip is a volunteer and is not a professional guide. The function of the organizer is only to organize this trip. Each person who signs up for a trip/hike/or outing is responsible for his or her own safety and the safety of his or her guests.

By signing up for this trip, or any other event organized by me, you are acknowledging that you are aware and have made your guests aware of the risks, dangers and hazards associated with any outdoor activity and freely accept and fully assume all such risks, dangers and hazards, and further agree to release and discharge the organizer (me) of this hike from and against any and all liability arising from your and your guest's participation in the group activities.

US Hiking, its organizer, assistant organizers, event organizers are not responsible for any injuries or accidents that may occur carpooling to and from this event, or for any injuries or accidents incurred before, during, and after this event. If you sign up or participate in an event you acknowledge that you freely and voluntarily agree to assume all risks of injuries and damages arising from, as a result of and associated with this event.

In addition, you and your guests are acknowledging that you agree to the Meetup terms of service especially paragraph 6.2: