Hiking to the Cooper Canyon Falls

Rate this Adventure Los Angeles Cooper Canyon Falls Via Burkhart Trail

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Distance: 3 mile out-and-back. Duration: 2 hours. Elevation Gain: 700-800 ft (upside-down hike). A pristine, seasonal waterfall with swimming holes. A rare Southern California old growth forest, southern Sierra-like feel.

Burkhart Trail is well-defined and easy to follow through an unbelievable old growth of Jeffrey pines, incense-cedars and surprisingly, redwoods! At 0.25 miles, there is a steep spur trail near a large pile of boulders that leads to a popular swimming area, often frequented by guests of the campground, that is worth a visit and mile marker 1 boasts outstanding views of Pleasantview Ridge and Cooper Canyon. At the PCT/Cooper Cyn Camp junction, do not make a left! Stay on the main trail paralleling the creek. After your first glimpse of Cooper Canyon Falls, a short trail on the left will take you down to the creek. A rope is tied to a tree to assist you on the slippery descent. A second route is located further up the main trail. Note: when traveling off-trail, exercise caution and know your own limits. Your safety is your priority and responsibility.

In wetter months, Cooper Canyon Falls hypnotically plunges 30 marvelous feet into a small pool beckoning you bask in its canyon for hours. In drier months, it is reduced to a mere trickle, making timing your adventure appropriately a special treat. Take some time to enjoy its serenity and charm. Approach the falls to feel their powerful mist, kick off your shoes for a soak or even go for a swim in the clear, refreshing water! When you're done, make the steep ascent back up to Burkhart Trail and return the way you came.

To get there: Take Hwy 2 from La Canada Flintridge, roughly 35 miles, to the well-known Buckhorn Campground (near mile marker 58.19). If the campground is open, follow signs for Burkhart Trail to a small lot at the northeast end. If the lot is full, or if the campground is closed, park in the Buckhorn Day Use area, about 750 ft west of the campground entrance. Walk cautiously along the highway to the campground and follow signs to the trailhead. Note: Parking in the day use area will add ~1 mile and 100 ft elevation gain roundtrip. Be sure to display your Adventure Pass.

Make this trip longer with a shuttle loop via Eagles Roost or an overnight to Cooper Cyn Camp.

Pack List

  • 10 essentials
  • Hiking shoes
  • Hiking clothes (check the weather)
  • Water
  • Food/Snacks
  • Map
  • Adventure Pass
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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

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Activities:

Chillin, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:

Beginner

Season:

Year Round

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

3 Miles

Elev. Gain:

700 Feet

Features:

Easy Parking
Food Nearby
Forest
Scenic
Swimming Hole
Waterfall

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