The forty-foot tall Eaton Canyon Falls fills the amphitheater at the top of Eaton Canyon Trail, tumbling into a wide pool that you can rest alongside or wade in. The waist-deep water is so refreshing, you are likely to see hikers in bathing suits on a warm day. The trail to Eaton Canyon Falls can be summed up this way: One mile of wide flat dirt trail that can feel uneventful, followed by half a mile of single-track up a narrow canyon that is adventurous and fun (forming a 3 mile round trip hike with 375 feet of elevation gain).
The trail starts in Eaton Canyon Nature Area, a place you might go to walk your dog or push around one of those BOB strollers with the big rubber wheels. The easy path draws many visitors to the park for just that purpose. Follow the trail along a typically dry creek bed. There are a few shady thickets and plenty of sun along the way.
After a mile, Eaton Canyon Trail passes under a white concrete bridge and enters the San Gabriel Mountains. Atop the bridge is Mount Wilson Toll Road, a wide dirt trail running all the way to the summit of Mount Wilson. There is a junction with a connector trail up to Mount Wilson Toll Road just before the bridge. Mount Wilson Toll Road can be used to reach Henninger Flats, a scenic perch covered in pine trees with a visitor information center, campground, lookout tower, and tree nursery operated by the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
Once you pass beneath the bridge, the hike changes drastically. You are suddenly hiking up a canyon, crossing from bank to bank up a winding creek. Be especially careful on this section of the trail, which crosses rugged terrain. This enjoyable stretch is over far too quickly as the falls are just half a mile past the bridge.
Eaton Canyon Falls
The trail is well marked and easy to follow, ending at Eaton Canyon Falls. Along with a powerful waterfall, spring brings a bountiful bloom to the park. Fern leaf phacelia, chia, and other flowers are everywhere. No fee or permit is required to visit Eaton Canyon Falls, so get out and enjoy!
To get to the trailhead: Take the Altadena exit off the 210 Freeway in Pasadena. Head north on Altadena Drive. The Eaton Canyon Nature Area is a couple miles up the road on the right past New York Drive. Pull into the park, leave your vehicle in the lot by the nature center and start hiking north.
Trailhead address: 1750 North Altadena Drive, Pasadena, CA 91107
Trailhead coordinates: 34.177202, -118.096485
Use the map below to create your own directions to the trailhead:
View Los Angeles Hikes in a larger map
|Henninger Flats via Mount Wilson Toll Road|
This 6-mile round trip hike ascends 1,325 feet to a trail camp, tree nursery, lookout tower, and visitor center on a landing in the San Gabriel Mountains operated by the Los Angeles County Fire Department. The hike can easily be extended to 8.7 miles by exploring a loop above Henninger Flats.
|Santa Anita Canyon Loop|
This 9.5-mile loop visits two peaceful creeks in sylvan canyons, passing a 60-foot waterfall and plenty of beautiful wilderness.
|Sturtevant Falls in the San Gabriel Mountains|
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|Mount Waterman in the Angeles National Forest|
This 5.5-mile hike gradually ascends 1300 feet, passing through a pine forest to reach the round summit of Mount Waterman.
|Cooper Canyon Falls|
This 3-mile hike leaves from Buckhorn Campground and visits a short waterfall in an enchanting glen of tall pines.
This 6-mile hike from Millard Campground leads past Millard Falls to an old gold mine.
|Rubio Canyon Trail|
This 1.3-mile round trip hike ventures into a rustic canyon to a double waterfall.
|More trails in the San Gabriel Mountains|
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|Fish Canyon Falls|
This 4-mile hike starts at a rock quarry with restricted access and ends up at a multi-tiered 80-foot waterfall.
This one mile hike visits a 50-foot waterfall up one of the most scenic canyons in the range.
This 1.6-mile to 3-mile hike in Monrovia Canyon Park follows an enchanting canyon up to the base of the 30-foot waterfall.
|San Antonio Falls|
This 1.4-mile hike visits a multi-tier waterfall along the trail to Mount Baldy.
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|More waterfalls around Los Angeles|
Explore other waterfalls in the Santa Monica and San Gabriel Mountains.