The forty-foot waterfall in Eaton Canyon fills an 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 hike to Eaton Canyon Falls can be summed up this way: 1.1 miles of wide flat, relatively uneventful dirt trail, followed by 0.65 miles of single track up a narrow canyon that is adventurous and fun (forming a 3.5 mile round trip hike with 375 feet of elevation change).
- Eaton Canyon Falls is one of the Los Angeles waterfall hikes.
Begin up Eaton Canyon Trail from Eaton Canyon Natural Area Park and Nature Center, which is located just off Altadena Drive and is a place you might go to walk a dog or push around a stroller with big serious wheels. The easy paths draw many visitors to the park for just that purpose.
Follow Eaton Canyon Trail north along a typically dry creek bed, Eaton Wash. Pass a few shaded thickets and plenty of sun along the way. In front of you, rise the San Gabriel Mountains. The trail will take you right to the foot of these mountains.
Eaton Canyon Trail crosses Eaton Wash after 0.2 miles and then turns left below a canopy of trees.
At 0.55 miles from the start, come to a junction with Horse Trail. Stay to the left to continue up Eaton Canyon Trail. Horse Trail (also known as Walnut Canyon Trail) heads up the side of the canyon to the east, reaching Mount Wilson Toll Road (a toll-free hiking trail) after 0.6 miles.
Come to another marked junction, 1.1 miles up Eaton Canyon Trail. The split appears as the trail approaches a white concrete bridge on Mount Wilson Toll Road, crossing over the top of Eaton Canyon Trail. The trail to the right connects to Mount Wilson Toll Road, which runs all the way to the summit of Mount Wilson. The trail also reaches 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. To continue to Eaton Canyon Falls, stay to the left, following an arrow for the waterfall. Pass below the bridge to enter the San Gabriel Mountains.
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 because the falls are just 0.6 miles past the bridge.
Eaton Canyon Trail comes around a bend to the left and hits the back of the canyon, where Eaton Falls makes a 40-foot single drop into a wide shallow pool. Have a seat on a boulder or a log and admire the waterfall. You can also pop off your boots and wade into the water to get a little closer.
Continuing above Eaton Canyon Falls is dangerous and not advised, so turn around at the waterfall for 3.5 mile round trip hike with 375 feet of elevation change.
Eaton Canyon Trail is well marked and easy to follow. Along with a powerful waterfall, spring brings a bountiful bloom to the park, filling the sides of the trail with fern leaf phacelia, chia, and other flowers.
Dogs are welcome in Eaton Canyon Park and on Eaton Canyon Trail to the waterfall. 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: 34.17832, -118.09663 (34° 10′ 42″N 118° 05′ 47.9″W)
You may also view a regional map of surrounding Los Angeles trails and campgrounds.
|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
This 3.3-mile hike visits a 60-foot waterfall and a lush cottage-lined canyon.
The 5.5 to 6 miler can be completed as an out and back hike or a loop, traveling through a pine forest to a round summit. Add six miles to the hike by dropping across a saddle and climbing to the summit of Twin Peaks.
|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
Explore other destinations in the range.
|Fish Canyon Falls
This 4.8-mile round trip hike leaves from an active rock quarry and progresses up a beautiful canyon to a mesmerizing multi-tiered 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.
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.
This 40-foot waterfall is located within Wildwood Park in Thousand Oaks and is reachable via several trails.
|More waterfalls around Los Angeles
Explore other waterfalls in the Santa Monica and San Gabriel Mountains.