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
- Adventure Pass for Parking
- Hiking Shoes
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
Are we missing something?Suggest an edit
ReviewsLeave a Review
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.
More Adventures Nearby
Run the Old Youth Camp Loop
Los Angeles / Stough Canyon Nature Center
The Old Youth Camp Loop is a 2.6-mile loop with over 700 feet of elevation gain that can be ran, hiked, or even mountain biked if you prefer.
Kayak the Marina Del Rey Harbor
Los Angeles / Marina Beach (Mother's Beach)
The Marina Del Rey harbor covers 1.5 square miles making it the world’s largest small-craft harbor.