Hike to Switzer Falls

Los Angeles Switzer Falls Trailhead

Added by Grant Nyquist

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

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Chillin, Hiking

Skill Level:



Year Round

Trail Type:



5 Miles



Dog Friendly

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1 day 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.

1 day ago

over 1 year ago

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

over 1 year ago

over 1 year 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 1 year ago

over 1 year 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.

over 1 year ago

over 1 year 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!

over 1 year ago

almost 2 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.

almost 2 years ago

Added by Grant Nyquist

I'm basically awesome, more basic though

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