Millard Falls San Gabriel Mountains Waterfall Hike Pasadena California trail

Millard Falls is just half a mile from the trailhead, up one of the most pleasant canyon in the San Gabriel Mountains. The 50-foot tall boulder-topped beauty makes a great destination for a short, sylvan hike.

To see Millard Falls, embark up a dirt road through Millard Campground. Just beyond the campground, the trail up the canyon turns off to the right. Millard Falls Trail is easy to spot, located along a creek that spills over the dirt road. If there is a strong flow of water, you are in luck; the falls above will be spectacular. If the water is so high that you would be afraid to cross the road in a sedan, use the same caution before heading to the falls (the trek may be wetter than you bargained for). On most days, you can make it to the falls with dry feet. Then again, you will have to cross over several slippery rocks, so be careful.

Millard Canyon
Millard Canyon

Millard Canyon is fairly narrow, measuring less than a hundred feet across in most areas. Getting to the waterfall requires numerous creek crossings as the trail searches for room up the canyon. Smooth-walking sections are interspersed between rock-hopping regions. Enjoy this calisthenics workout under the shade of tall California bays.

The clear creek waters glisten in patches of sunlight, creating a serene ambiance. Even the ubiquitous carvings that desecrate most of the bays on the trail cannot detract from the splendor of the journey. Let the fresh air fill your lungs while the soothing water sings in your ears. The creek is a delight, and the falls are a tremendous sight. Keep to the canyon, and no matter your path, you will reach the falls.

Millard Falls
Millard Falls

The boulders wedged atop this fifty-footer look like they could fall the next time the creek floods. They haven’t budged in years, and lets hope then never do.

If the first half mile of canyon leaves you yearning for more, the hike can be extended. The trail continues above the falls to Dawn Mine, a great excursion. Half a mile before the Millard Falls Trailhead, Chaney Trail passes Mount Lowe Road, which can be used to connect to Sunset Ridge Trail to ascend to Cape of Good Hope or access Dawn Mine more easily.

To get to the trailhead: Take the 210 Freeway to Pasadena. Exit Lake Avenue and head north. After 3.5 miles, turn left at the T onto Loma Alta Drive. After one mile, make a right on Chaney Trail. The 1.5 mile road winds up to Sunset Ridge and down to the parking lot for Millard Campground and the trail to Millard Falls.

Trailhead address: Chaney Trail, Angeles National Forest, Altadena, CA 91001
Trailhead coordinates: 34.2162, -118.1463 (34° 12′ 58.3″N 118° 08′ 46.7″W)

Trail Map
View Millard Canyon in a larger map
Elevation Profile
Click or hover over any spot on this elevation profile to see the distance from the start and elevation above sea level at that location, which will be highlighted on the map.

You may also view a regional map of surrounding Los Angeles trails and campgrounds.


Millard Falls
Millard CanyonMillard CanyonMillard CanyonMillard CanyonMillard CanyonMillard CanyonMillard CanyonMillard CanyonMillard CanyonMillard Canyon

Dawn Mine
Millard CanyonMillard CanyonMillard CanyonMillard CanyonMillard CanyonMillard CanyonMillard CanyonMillard CanyonMillard CanyonMillard CanyonMillard CanyonMillard CanyonMillard CanyonMillard Canyon

Millard Campground
Millard CanyonMillard CanyonMillard CanyonMillard CanyonMillard Canyon

These photos were taken in March of 2009, prior to damage from the Station Fire. Click to enlarge.
Nearby Trails
Dawn Mine trail Dawn Mine
This 6-mile hike from Millard Campground leads past Millard Falls to an old gold mine.
Cape of Good Hope Sunset Ridge Trail Mount Lowe Road Mount Lowe Road & Sunset Ridge Trail to Cape of Good Hope
This pair of trails can be combined for a 5.2-mile round trip hike to a historic viewpoint called Cape of Good Hope. Follow the old route of Mount Lowe Railway to the ruins on Echo Mountain to extend the hike by two miles round trip or bring the distance up to 11.85 miles by visiting Echo Mountain, Inspiration Point, Mount Lowe Trail Camp, and other landmarks.
Castle Canyon Trail to Inspiration Point Castle Canyon Trail to Inspiration Point (and beyond)
This 2-mile long trail ascends from the ruins on Echo Mountain to a historic viewpoint that still offers hike-worthy panoramas. Form a loop back to Echo Mountain to visit Mount Lowe Trail Camp, Cape of Good Hope, and other landmarks on Mount Lowe Railway.
Echo Mountain hike Echo Mountain via Sam Merrill Trail
This 5.8-mile hike visits a historic railway and ruins from a century old resort overlooking Pasadena.
Gabrielino Trail Gabrielino Trail to Gould Mesa Trail Camp
This 5.1-mile hike venturing up an canyon along the Arroyo Seco is one of a couple routes to a 5-site trail camp in Angeles National Forest.
Rubio Canyon Trail Los Angeles Rubio Canyon Trail
This 1.3-mile round trip hike ventures into a rustic canyon to a double waterfall.
Angeles trail More trails in the San Gabriel Mountains
Explore other destinations in the range.
Similar Trail
fish canyon falls 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.
sturtevant Waterfall trail Sturtevant Falls
This 3.3-mile hike visits a 60-foot waterfall and a lush cottage-lined canyon.
pasadena Waterfall trail 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.
Waterfall trail San Antonio Falls
This 1.4-mile hike visits a multi-tier waterfall along the trail to Mount Baldy.
Waterfall trail Santa Ynez Falls
This 2.5-mile follows a shaded creek to a gorge containing a short waterfall.
waterfall trail Paradise Falls
This 40-foot waterfall is located within Wildwood Park in Thousand Oaks and is reachable via several trails.
escondido falls Escondido Falls
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.
los angeles waterfall More waterfalls around Los Angeles
Explore other waterfalls in the Santa Monica and San Gabriel Mountains.
Millard Campground Millard Campground
This is the place to camp at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains. Or, the place to start on a hike to Millard Falls or Dawn Mine.

30 Comments on Millard Falls in the San Gabriel Mountains

  1. Cali wrote:

    Could you please tell me as soon as possible if this information on Millard Trail being closed is correct? Plannning on taking a bunch of children on hike tomorrow July Tenth. Thankyou.

    • hikespeak wrote:

      Hi Cali-
      Millard Canyon is still within the closure area of the Station Fire. You may call a ranger to confirm, but I believe it is still closed.

  2. Audrey wrote:

    Called to check 8/21/2012: Still Closed.

  3. lonnie fehr wrote:

    as off sept 15 2012 , all of millard creek closed from millard campground all way past dawn gold mine . via taking sunset trail , once your in millard creek your in closure area also . dawn gold mine is also in closure area .

  4. B Mac wrote:

    As of 01/02/13, Millard falls trail is closed to hiking. It’s cr#ppy that the forest service hasn’t posted a sign saying this at vehicle entrance or parking lot. So you most likely bought a day pass to park, unloaded your gear, started walking up the road (past Chester’s double wide) to the water line, and up to a fence with a sign saying “trail closed due to fire damage”.
    The tiny Camp/ picnic area (non-potable water) is available. Camping there isn’t great since it’s right along the trail that goes up to the fenced off area of the Fall’s trail. So you are going to get alot of people walking past you, looking at you, and asking YOU about why the trail is closed.
    There is a camp ground chester that lives onsite to monitor the parking lot and “other activities”. So don’t try to park in the parking lot without a day pass. He will ride his ten speed down in a blaze of glory to your spot and call a tow on your vehicle.
    BTW:It is a felony to punch him in the face, so don’t do it. He has direct comms with the Sheriff’s down the road. It isn’t worth ruining your weekend.
    Day passes can be bought at any ranger stations or Big 5, sports chalet, etc. for a couple bucks. The campsite chester can be identified by the double wide trailer located at the right of the trail, next to the camp site. He has a hidden video camera (hidden by a tarp or pieces of wood) that looks onto the camp site. Did I mention that the camp site is mainly used by cub scouts?
    Thanks to the park rangers for looking out for us.

    • E wrote:

      B Mac – I’m planning a scout camping trip to Millard. Is there any hiking available from Millard or are you pretty much trapped in confines of the camp?

      • hikespeak wrote:

        Millard Canyon is still closed following the Station Fire. I spoke to a ranger last week who said that the campground was still closed as well, although it is not listed as closed on the Angeles NF website. You will probably have a better trip camping elsewhere…

        • James wrote:

          We just camped there and not a cub scout in sight :) Actually pretty quiet. The trails up to Mt. Lowe Road (Lower Sunset Ridge Trail) and beyond that up to the Saddle and Sunset Ridge Trail were all open. Lots of mountain bikers but they were all very respectful, carefull and polite. Every one said thank you when we stood aside. We camped and hiked mid week-though it was a Spring Break- and less than half the sites were occupied. It will probably be busier at weekends and now that it’s warmer. The high country sites were due to open April 1st. Sulphur Springs was supposed to be open year round but the roads were all closed even though it was dry as a bone and not a speck of snow so you can’t go by what it says on the Forest Service site as noted above.

    • lion wrote:

      caretaker at millard has no 10 speed bike or a double wide trailer lol and they do not tow away vehicles if not have a pass ,and there is no camera on the campers in campgrounds . and yes waterfall area is closed yet as so is all area in millard creek from campground even dawn gold mine closed , , but the campgrounds are open to camp . hiking can hike on fire road /campground for miles brown mnt fire road , . another close campground is gould mesa hike in , , yes b mac altadena LA sheriffs dept is closeby , and USFS law enforcement also patrol area ,,,,,

  5. steve wrote:

    UPDATE Dawn Gold Mine and Millard Falls are still in the closure area – no hiking, etc. – update as of June 1st, 2013. Area will remain closed for up to 1 more year.

  6. John wrote:

    Hi I’m a local that camps here 14 days out of every year.The falls are closed and will not open again from what the ranger tells me every year, but the campgrounds hiking and bike trails are still one

  7. As of May 5, 2014, trail to Millard Falls and Dawn Mine still closed, 5 years after the Station Fire. I think this is disgraceful. Somebody should force the issue.

  8. Terry wrote:

    Any update on the re-opening of the trail? This is a great time of the year for hiking…let’s get it open!

  9. Helene wrote:

    Is the trail to Millard Falls reopened yet ?

  10. […] More information: Trip descriptions here […]

  11. Samantha wrote:

    Is the waterfall still flowing now in Augest???

  12. SIlvia Tenorio wrote:

    does any body know if the water waterfall is flowing im planning to go next week

  13. LazyHiker007 wrote:

    We enjoy hiking Millard falls the most. Beautiful tall waterfall with decent amount of water (5/27/17). SAT was crowded @7am but SUN @6am was empty. Hike has plenty of beautiful scenery to enjoy along the way especially creek crossings.

  14. Brenda Moya wrote:

    Any recent visitors that can update the waterfall.

  15. Eddie Tsai wrote:

    Waterfall is flowing :)

  16. Glenda wrote:

    Does anyone know if the Millard Falls are open now and if there is water? I plan to go this week, probably 7/5/18.

  17. Hiking Lady wrote:

    I’ve hiked many times in Malibu, above Pasadena, near JPL, etc. I’ve NEVER needed a day pass. Why is it stated (in Hikespeak re waterfalls near LA) that we need a day pass to go to Millard Falls?

  18. Kat LA wrote:

    Is Millard trail and surrounding areas open after the October 2019 fires? Does anyone know what trails are still closed?

  19. Angie Chang wrote:

    Millard Canyon never open on time. Sign states 6am to 8 pm. It is 7am, and the gate is still lock.

  20. Michelle wrote:

    Tried calling for info on hike to falls but mailbox full, was hoping to go tomorrow. Is it still opn to the public?

  21. Maria wrote:

    I was wondering if anyone know if we can get sick if we drink the water from the falls?

Ask a question or share your experience

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Go the extra miles...
Submit a rating of this hike to go with your comment. Contribute to the average trail rating.