Eaton Canyon Falls Trail
Date Hiked: May 29, 2010
Best Season: Autumn Spring Summer Winter
Check Trail Conditions: Eaton Canyon Nature Center 626-398-5420
- Distance: 3.84 miles round-trip
- Elevation Gain: 481 feet
- Route Type: Out-and-Back
- Trail Type: Mostly dirt
- Difficulty: Moderate
Last Memorial weekend (May 29), Jeff and I picked an easy scenic hike, that we hoped would appeal to our two kids and niece.
It turns out that most of L.A. had the same idea that hot sunny holiday weekend — because the hike was one of the most crowded we’ve done. All trail reviews warned of this, so we were not surprised, just hopeful — no luck.
Eaton Canyon Nature Area is “a 190-acre zoological, botanical, and geological nature preserve situated at the base of the beautiful San Gabriel Mountains.” One of the major, if not the biggest, highlights of the park is Eaton Canyon Falls, a 50-foot waterfall that flows all year into a big cool natural pool at its base. On a hot summer day, like the day of our hike, the pool is packed with people. To access the park, take the 210 Freeway eastbound to the Sierra Madre Boulevard/Altadena Drive exit and proceed north for 1.6 miles.
The trail itself is very easy to follow. It is well signed and well worn. The majority of the trail is a wide dirt fire road, but the final stretch does involve some scrambling across rocks. Be prepared for your shoes to get wet, because there are several water crossings on this trail (I wore my Tevas the entire hike). But, don’t let that dissuade you — while we advocate proper hiking footwear, to our horror, there were plenty of people sporting flip flops, crocs and street shoes.
The minimal distance and elevation gain, as well as the beautiful waterfall and natural pool, make this an excellent hike for kids. Be prepared for crowds, especially on a holiday weekend. Our hike was so crowded that we had to wait for people to traverse one or two of the creek crossings (made all the more difficult because of their poor choice of footwear), but, we certainly plan to visit this local gem of a hike again…just perhaps on a vacation day.
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