This trail was damaged by the 2009 Station Fire
The west side of the San Gabriel Mountains offers less trails than the rest of the range, but it is home to one terrific waterfall. This four-mile round trip hike on Trail Canyon Trail tackles 700 feet of elevation gain to reach a sublime 30-foot waterfall. NOTE: While the Trail Canyon area of the Angeles National Forest reopened to the public in 2012, there is a large wash-out along the trail and other damaged from the 2009 Station Fire that has made it difficult to reach the waterfall.
Approach this waterfall via Trail Canyon Trail (a trail so good they named it twice). After 3/4 of a mile walking past cabins along a dirt road, a single track will emerge on the left. Take this trail and follow Golden Creek up a canyon shaded with alders and sycamores.
The trail crosses the stream a few times before climbing the wall of Big Tujunga Canyon. Glimpses of the falls can be seen ahead. The trail makes its way around the canyon and opens up on a large granite landing above the falls. This is a great spot to stop for a snack and enjoy the creek. Ahead, the trail continues up to Tom Lucas Trail Camp.
For a real view of the falls, backtrack along the trail to a footpath leading down into the canyon. The path descends a steep bank of dirt through brush, and should only be attempted by able hikers wearing shoes with good traction.
After dropping to the canyon floor, you will be greeted with an outstanding view of Trail Canyon Falls. The 30-foot waterfall spills over a smooth wall into a shallow pool. In winter or early spring, when rain water fills the creek, the waterfall is quite impressive.
Trail Canyon Falls
Considering the effort it will take to get back up the trail, break for a moment and enjoy. An alternative return route is to bushwhack and rock-hop down the creek to get back to the trail. Dogs are welcome on this hike, and it is free to park at the trailhead (a National Forest Adventure Pass is no longer required).
To get to the trailhead: From the 210 Freeway in Sunland, between Pasadena and the junction of the 5 and 405 Freeways, head north on Sunland Boulevard until it becomes Foothill Boulevard. After another mile, turn left on Mount Gleason Avenue. One and a third miles later, make a right on Big Tujunga Canyon Road. After 3.4 miles, turn left up a hard-to-spot road (a sign for Trail Canyon Trail is visible from the opposite direction). Follow this road for half a mile to a large parking lot.
Trailhead address: 19600 North Trail Canyon Road, Angeles National Forest, Tujunga, CA 91042
Trailhead coordinates: 34.305323, -118.255444 (34° 18′ 19.16″N 118° 15′ 19.59″W)
Use the map below to create your own directions to the trailhead:
View Los Angeles Hikes in a larger map
|Hostetter Fire Road to Verdugo Peak|
This 7.5-mile round trip hike on the north side of the Verdugo Mountains ascends from La Tuna Canyon to the highest summit in the range.
|La Tuna Canyon Trail|
This 4.5-mile round trip hike ascends a ridge and a pair of canyons in La Tuna Canyon Park on the northwest side of the Verdugo Mountains.
|Los Pinetos Waterfall|
This 5.33-mile round trip hike in Placerita Canyon Natural Area follows Canyon Trail to the ruins of Walker Ranch and Waterfall Trail to an elusive falls in a sylvan canyon.
This 4.5-mile hike starts out above and finishes below a 50-foot tall waterfall.
|More trails in the San Gabriel Mountains|
Explore other destinations in the range.
This one mile hike visits a 50-foot waterfall up one of the most scenic canyons in the range.
|Eaton Canyon Falls|
This 3.5-mile hike goes up Eaton Wash to a narrow stretch of Eaton Canyon containing a pleasant 40-foot waterfall.
This 40-foot waterfall is located within Wildwood Park in Thousand Oaks and is reachable via several trails.
This 3.8-mile out and back hike visits a 200 foot waterfall that is split into two tiers. The upper tier is 150 feet tall and stunning after a rainstorm.
|More waterfalls around Los Angeles|
Explore other waterfalls in the Santa Monica and San Gabriel Mountains.