Whether you live in Los Angeles or are visiting from out of town, if you love the outdoors and haven’t been to Eaton Canyon Falls yet, it’s a must-do hike that will make you feel like you’re not in L.A.
As of this post, California is just getting out of a 5-year drought. Southern California is still recovering, but with all the rain it’s gotten in the last couple of months, there’s been a vibrancy outdoors that hasn’t been seen in quite some time. The mountains are green, flowers are blooming, and at Eaton Canyon, the waterfall is roaring.
Eaton Canyon is a very popular hiking trail and can get pretty crowded. There’s ample parking near the trailhead, and you can park both in designated spots and parallel park on the curb opposite of the marked parking spaces. There’s also an overflow lot, but parking can still fill up. A friend and I went on the hike on a Friday morning and the main lot was nearly full. Fortunately, we found a spot to parallel park in.
The trail round trip is somewhere between 3.5 to 4 miles round trip, and overall it’s pretty easy. If you hike it when it’s hot outside, then I’d bump the difficulty level up to easy/moderate. But for the most part, the terrain isn’t crazy. There’s some incline and decline here and there, and you’ll have to cross streams a couple of times. If you don’t want to get wet, there are rocks and logs you can step on to get across. If getting your shoes wet doesn’t bother you, then you can just step into the stream and walk to the other side.
Figuring out where to go wasn’t too hard because there were signs and we just followed the marked path, although there are some forks along the way that could be confusing. If you’d like more detailed information about how to get to the falls, check out my go-to hiking resource, Modern Hiker.
Since my friend and I went on a Friday, there weren’t as many people as I’ve read there are on weekends, but we were almost always running into at least a few people for most of the trail.
Once you arrive at the falls, it’s nice to make yourself comfortable and admire the beautiful waterfall nestled in the San Gabriel Mountains. There were a few dozen people when we got there, but we were still able to take photos with the waterfall in the background and had no trouble finding a place to sit.
We also grabbed some snacks from our packs to replenish our energy before hiking back to the parking lot.
If you decide to eat, please, please, pleeeeeeease don’t be someone who leaves plastic water bottles, orange peels, plastic gloves – I’m specifically citing these because I saw them littered at the falls – and other trash behind. There’s nowhere there to throw your trash, so bring something that you can put it in and carry with you on the way back until you can find a place to dispose it. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to do that, and it keeps the scene clean for visitors.
After hiking to Eaton Canyon Falls, it’s easy to see why it’s such a popular trail. It’s a great outdoor activity to do with family and friends. I saw adults, teenagers, children, and dogs completing the hike – so it’s perfect for a wide variety of people and fitness levels.
If you haven’t been here yet, now is a good time to go 😀 While you can do the hike all year round, I’d strongly recommend doing it after Southern California has experienced some rainfall. And, if you can, go on a weekday so it’s not super crowded.
To get to the trailhead, plug this address into your GPS:
1750 N Altadena Dr.
Pasadena, CA 91107