The 6 Best Waterfall Hikes in Spitting Distance of LA

Rain = waterfalls. Here’s where to find ‘em.

By Reuben Brody

The 6 Best Waterfall Hikes in Spitting Distance of LA
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27 March 2018

The rains came late this year.

And while they didn’t pay any favors to your commute, there is a silver lining: the region’s waterfalls are all ripping at full bore right now.

Best way to view ‘em? On a hike of course, six of which we’ve rounded up for your weekending convenience.

Five are in the Angeles Forest, with the remaining one just outside of Malibu.

And we’ve categorized each by skill level, length and driving distance, so don’t blame us if you end up fording your way out.

Cooper Canyon

Angeles National Forest

What: You have to hike downhill to reach Cooper Canyon Falls. That means the hike out is the hard part, but it’s worth it given that the winding trail is redolent of sage and evergreen.

Skill level: 2 out of 5

Reasons to go: The trail is far enough away that it doesn’t get hammered with traffic, and you can swim in the pool at the base provided you can stand the cold. You can keep a dog on a leash here, and kids over the age of five should be fine.

Length: 3 miles

Distance from city: 50 miles

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Condor Peak/Trail Canyon Falls

Angeles National Forest

What: An arduous hike with one of the tallest waterfalls in the area.

Skill level: 4 out of 5

Reasons to go: It’s a four-mile hike to the waterfall, and you can add a more rigorous hike to that by going up to Condor Peak, beyond the falls. When the water level is high, you’ll have to hop some streams, making it difficult for pets or children.

Length: 8-16 miles

Distance from city: 40 miles

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Switzer Falls and Bear Canyon

Angeles National Forest

What: A 3.5-hour hike to a very popular waterfall that runs reliably.

Skill level: 3 out of 5

Reasons to go: It’s a great workout but a popular hike, so it’s a good option for world-weary solo hikers. Pets are okay, but children may struggle.

Length: 6.8 miles

Distance from city: 30 miles

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Eaton Canyon Falls

Angeles National Forest

What: A short, easy hike with from some novice creek hopping.

Skill level: 2 out of 5

Reasons to go: There are also lots of wildflowers along this short hike. Children over the age of five should be fine.

Length: 4 miles

Distance from city: 30 miles

Escondido Falls

Santa Monica Mountains

What: A quick, jaunty hike for anyone chasing the wildflower blooms.

Skill level: 2 out of 5

Reasons to go: It’s wildflower season. And the trail is very child- and pet-friendly.

Length: 4 miles

Distance from city: 20 miles

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Monrovia Canyon Falls

Angeles National Forest

What: A leisurely patht to a quiet waterfall.

Skill level: 2 out of 5

Reasons to go: Tons of shade, and it’s short enough for kids and pets.

Length: 4 miles

Distance from city: 30 miles

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