• Activities:

    Chillin, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    5 Miles

Dog Friendly
Scenic
Waterfall

Enjoy this scenic 5-mile out and back hike to one of LA's most scenic waterfalls. On a warm day, go for a swim in one of the swimming holes just past the waterfall. 

Just off the Angeles Crest highway, you’ll find one of LA’s best waterfalls. There is a parking lot just next to the trailhead. If you go on the weekend and run into a crowd, there’s parking near the highway, adding a little distance to your trek.

Once you’ve walked through Switzer picnic area, and made it to the trailhead, start heading out on the Bear Canyon Trail. The beginning of the trail is paved, making it easy to get started, but converts to a rocky trail, where you may have to climb over a few boulders (make sure you bring a supportive pair of trail shoes or hiking boots). As you continue on Bear Canyon, you’ll come into close contact with Arroyo Seco, so be careful if there’s been big flood warnings.

About a mile into the hike, the trail will fork. Stay to the right if you’re headed to the falls. On the left, you’ll see Switzer’s Resort. After about a mile and a half on the trail, you’ll see a junction, continue taking the trail toward Switzer Falls. Stick to the right and you’ll get rewarded with a view of the falls. There’s a narrow trail that will take you to the base of the falls, but you’ll also see signs to proceed at your own risk. With that said, be careful if you’re going to down. If you do make it down to the base, you may want to grab a quick swim in the pool below.

As you continue on the trail, you’ll climb out of the valley (grab the sunscreen). On the left-hand side, you’ll get views of the 50ft. falls, but the trail is pretty narrow here, so it’s hard to stop and get amazing photos. You’ll come across a new trail junction, where Bear Canyon heads downhill, stay to the left and take this trail. After about a half mile, the trail rejoins the creek. Once you hit the creek, head upstream (to the left) for about 0.2 miles until you reach a pool with a smaller, 15ft. waterfall. On a weekend, you won’t be the only one here, but enjoy a swim in the pool and hang out until you’re ready to retrace your steps back.

If you didn't bring a lunch, head into La Canada, and reward yourself for the day's hard work at La Cabanita.

Photos:Steve Berardi

Pack List

Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Community Photos

+ Add Photos

Reviews

Overall rating: 

Leave a Review

Great hike. This trail has clearly seen the benefits of the recent so-cal rain. The stream is in full effect and the waterfall at the bottom doesn't disappoint.

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

It will come as no surprise to locals to find the falls are but a trickle and the pool at the bottom of them a mere puddle; but still, the hike out is mainly canopied by trees and the great views make this a worthy afternoon adventure. Lots of dogs running off leash, so be cautious if yours are aggressive.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

This hike is short and sweet, but the falls are totally dried up (barely a trickle), so it may be a bit of a disappointment. Good hike for families easy to moderate.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Bear Canyon is dry as a bone. The falls are a trickle.

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

Beautiful picnic area for the family and little ones. If you go with toddlers it's a perfect walk if you stay on the lower part of the hike. As you go up higher there will be little shade and it gets pretty narrow for a little bit until you get to the waterfall. There was at the lowest 1" of water and at the most about 8" of water at the bottom of the waterfall. The stream runs through each side of the picnic area at the bottom of the hike though. It was a beautiful hike. My boyfriend and I enjoyed it.

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

The water levels have been pretty low. I usually go early in the morning, and catch the sun at noon on the way back down. The cool air feels great on hot summer days.

almost 3 years ago
almost 3 years ago

If you are steady on your feet and adventurous it's worth the hike up past the 15' falls to the larger 50' falls base!

about 3 years ago
about 3 years ago

Unfortunately right now there isn't nearly as much water as in this photo due to the drought, but still a great place to explore, especially after the next rain.

over 3 years ago
over 3 years ago

Grant Nyquist Admin

I'm basically awesome, more basic though

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

Nearby Adventures

Hike the Sugar Bowl Loop in Kings Canyon NP

Tulare County, California

First and foremost, to get to this trailhead you need to drive down a 2-mile, one lane dirt road that is quite steep.

6 Saves

Hike to Ehukai Pillbox

59178 Ke Nui Road, Hawaii

This hike starts directly across from Banzai Pipeline, the famous barreling wave at Ehukai Beach.

7 Saves

Winter Hike to Calypso Cascades

1046 County Highway 115, Colorado

While most people go snowshoeing near the Bear Lake or Glacier Gorge area in RMNP, Wild Basin is a much less trafficked option.

5 Saves