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Eaton Canyon to Idlehour Trail Camp

Altadena, California

based on 5 reviews



10.99 miles

Elevation Gain

3291 ft

Route Type



Added by Alan Leung

Idlehour Trail Camp is a secluded campground in the heart of Pasadena. See beautiful views of Downtown L.A. while you fall asleep to the sounds of a babbling brook and hooting owls.

Idlehour is nestled deep in the Angeles National Forest, so it feels like you're in the heart of some untapped wilderness instead of six miles away from a bustling metropolis. The trail camp is accessible by foot through a variety of locations, but the most popular route is through Eaton Canyon, and the best times to attempt this trip are in the Spring and Fall when the California sun isn't so brutal.

The route from Eaton Canyon starts off rough, with little shade and intense climbs for the first 3 miles. Be sure to carry plenty of water and sunscreen. The best way to tackle this section is to pack light and carry trekking poles. The first two miles are crowded with weekend day hikers, but taper off once you ascend past Henninger Flats. From there, you will encounter the occasional mountain biker, but that's about it.

After Henninger Flats, it is another 1.5 miles before you reach a small, barely noticeable sign that indicates the side trail that will take you to Idlehour Trail Camp. It veers sharply to the left, so keep your eyes peeled.

Here, the trail changes drastically. Instead of unshaded and dusty, the rest of the route is mercifully covered by coastal oak and manzanita bushes, pocked with brief breaks in the vegetation that allow you to see straight to Downtown LA and Catalina Island on clear days. You can hear the roar of the river long before you see it, and the last mile or so is a descent into a cool and damp valley.

By the time you reach Idlehour Trail Camp, you will have traveled six miles, most of which have been uphill. Reward yourself with a dip in the river and a good night's rest. There are three camping areas, each replete with their own wood-fired stove.

Please note, there is no overnight parking in the lot!


  • There are 3 walk-in campsites available, which are open year round 
  • Adventure Pass/America the Beautiful Pass required
  • Campsites are first come, first served
  • California campfire permits are required
  • No bathrooms
  • More details on fire restrictions and campsite updates at Fs.Usda.Gov
  • LA Gateway District Office can also be contracted for current conditions at (818) 899-1900

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Dog Friendly
Swimming Hole

Eaton Canyon to Idlehour Trail Camp Reviews

Very easy and accessible hike with stunning views.

Make sure to get an early start and bring lots of water. It can get pretty busy during the day, and as the day progresses, it can get a bit chilly, depending on what time of the year you are hiking. So bring layers you can pull on and off.

Make sure you start earlier with plenty of water. The fire road is steep at times and any less experienced backpackers may struggle through the ascent. Beautiful views of the skyline at night on the way up.

Once you reach the camping grounds tiny little bugs won't let you see the beauty of the place. Bug Spray was the only thing I needed to make it a 5 star!!!

Another fun way to do this is to hike past Echo Mountain and over Inspiration Point. This way, you'll reach Idlehour midway thru a nearly 9 mile descent.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


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