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

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RT Distance 5 Miles
Activities Chillin, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Dog Friendly
Scenic
Waterfall

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Beautiful Hike. Flowing Water!

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.

Dry But Still Beautiful

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.

Ok

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.


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