This article describes how to reach the Eaton Canyon Falls in Los Angeles County.
On more than one occasion, I have said Los Angeles has a little bit of everything.
The county has beaches, mountains, deserts, lakes, rivers, flower fields, and many other natural features. There is so much to do and see. Even after living in the area for a long time, I keep making discoveries.
However, there is something I wish Los Angeles has more of. That particular “something” I am referring to is waterfalls. We have some but they are either seasonal or hard to get to.
That is why I felt a happiness rush when I found out about the Eaton Canyon Falls, a year-round, 40-foot waterfall reached through a relatively easy trail.
Let me give you all the details about this refreshing spot located near Pasadena.
About Eaton Canyon Falls
The Eaton Canyon Falls are accessed through the Eaton Canyon Nature Center (1750 N. Altadena Drive). The entrance to the trail and parking are free. There are signs pointing to the trailhead. If in doubt, follow other hikers (or ask somebody).
The trail leading to the falls has 1.65 miles of length. The total round trip distance is 3.5 miles. The trail is considered easy because the elevation gain is minimal. Therefore, this is a hike suitable for all levels and ages. Dogs on-leash are permitted on the trail.
Even though the trail is considered easy, I recommend wearing the appropriate gear and footwear. You may want to wear shoes that can get wet (you will see why on my personal account below).
On the same line, it is a good idea to bring water and snacks. Bring back with you all trash generated during the hike.
People like to take a dip at the waterfall pool. Go prepared if you want to do this but keep in mind there are no facilities in the canyon.
This trail is not a secret. The area can get crowded during the weekends. If you want to avoid crowds, go on weekdays or early during the weekends.
Eaton Canyon Falls: My Experience
Dusty trail. Blistering sun. A shortage of trees and a dry riverbed. How I ended up in here?
The trail is only 1.6 miles, one way, but for some reason the walk has felt like a marathon. I keep up the pace. Somewhere around here, maybe behind those harsh walls, there is a waterfall.
A maroon sign indicates we are half-mile from the Eaton Canyon. In a matter of seconds, the scenery starts to change. We enter a narrow space between tall walls. The river starts to move with more force. The shadow provided by the mountains and a light breeze diminish our fatigue.
Not everything is untouched in this fresh pocket. We saw concrete remains and rusty rods. The river has low dams at some points. What mystery holds this space where nature seems to rule?
The trail disappears over and over again. The only way to follow it is by crossing the stream. Initially, I start to make my way over rocks. My husband uses a fallen tree as a natural bridge. We decided not to hop over the rocks anymore. We just walked through the stream and allowed the icy water to caress our feet.
The canyon starts to get narrower and big boulders block the way. Our bodies react in contortionist ways in order to avoid the obstacles. This time the walls are painted with reddish and yellow designs.
Finally, a sliver of water started to be visible among the trees. I was able to hear the roar as I got closer. We made it to the base of the waterfall!
We took pictures, got into the pool, and enjoyed the cool breeze. Everybody around us seemed happy. After all, we all made it to our end goal. Nature delivered what we were looking for.
Eaton Canyon Falls: Security
The area above the waterfalls is closed to the public. Even with this restriction, you are going to notice people climbing to see the waterfall from above and to scramble to another waterfall.
This is a highly dangerous activity. I encourage you not to follow the lead of others in this case. There have been deaths and awful accidents because of people who have decided not to follow the rules.
Hiking to the Eaton Canyon Falls is a half-day activity. If you are looking for options to fill an entire day, here are some suggestions:
If you want to hike, even more, check out other scenic trails that can be completed in the vicinity.
The Los Angeles County Arboretum (5 miles) and Descanso Gardens (11 miles) are great options for those who want to stay closer to nature.
Nearby parks such as the Monrovia Canyon and Azusa River offer amenities such as hiking trails, camping sites, drinking fountains, and restrooms.
The city of Sierra Madre exudes small-town charm at the foothills of the mountains. In the city, you will find restaurants, coffee shops, a brewery, a tea room, and a renowned creamery.
The city of Pasadena is a world into itself and has so much to do and see. You can spend hours exploring the architecture, museums, historic sites, and gastronomic offerings. If you do not know where to start, I recommend checking out Old Town and the Playhouse District.
More of Los Angeles
If you are interested in checking more of Los Angeles, I got you covered too!
You can check the best of Los Angeles in one day.
Or, follow this itinerary if you have 2 days in Los Angeles.
Guess what? I have an article describing how to spend 3 days in Los Angeles too!
If you are interested in mixing and matching popular attractions with more local ones. If that syncs with your vibe check this Los Angeles itinerary.
Have you visited the Eaton Canyon Falls?