Switzer Falls, La Canada Flintridge California

Lower Switzer Falls

Switzer Falls is one of my favorite hikes in the Los Angeles Area.  Most people just hike to the lower falls, but you can actually climb the lower falls and head upstream to the base of the upper falls which is among the best waterfalls in the Los Angeles area. The entire hike is around 7 miles round-trip to the upper falls, but it can feel tougher than that because the return trip is mostly uphill.


To reach the trailhead from the 210 in La Canada Flintridge, take the
Angeles Crest Highway (route 2) north for 10 miles. You will pass the intersection for the Angeles Forest Highway on the right and then drive ¼ of a mile further on Route 2 to the Switzer Falls parking area on the right.  

The Trail
Begin walking in the southwest part of the bottom parking lot, past the outhouses.  The path will be paved, but it'll transition to dirt. Within 5 minutes, you'll come across an unsigned fork with a small rock wall to your left, a paved path ahead, and a dirt path that drops to your right.  If you go straight, you'll reach the remnants of Perry Switzer's resort at a dead end.  Instead, take the dirt path to the right that'll drop you down to the Upper Arroyo Seco, which will be on your right as you head further south.

Above the Canyon Floor
  At about 25 minutes from the trailhead, you'll come across an unsigned campground area with a few metal stoves.  Look across the creek, and you'll see switchbacks (with reinforced metal walls) taking you above the canyon floor.  Cross the creek and ascend those switchbacks.  If you don't cross the creek and instead go straight, you'll be in a dangerous rocky area above the upper falls.
Head up the mostly unshaded switchbacks.  7-10 minutes later you'll hit a junction with some signs.  Avoid going straight, which leads you towards the (as of January 2013) closed Gabrielino Trail.  Instead, keep to the left to descend to the canyon floor again.

The Canyon Floor
 About 10 minutes later, you'll reach the canyon floor again.  A sign will tell you that if you head south downstream, you'll be entering Bear Canyon.  If you only want to see the lower Switzer falls, head north upstream.

(Trail Description via)

 Less than 10 minutes after arriving at the canyon bottom, you'll hit lower Switzer Falls. Proceed carefully on the right-hand trail to the top of the falls. The trail is usually muddy and partially hidden.
From the top of lower Switzer falls, continue upstream for another 20 minutes until you reach Upper Switzer Falls. This part of the hike requires some rock hopping and stream crossing. It might be impossible in the spring or when the water levels are too high, but its worth the extra effort. The Upper Falls are taller, more secluded, and way more impressive.
On the way out, just retrace your steps. Remember to bring plenty of water and a snack/lunch.

Angeles Crest Highway

Lower Switzer Falls

Upper Switzer Falls

1 comment:

  1. Amazing trail. Amazing waterfalls!

    ReplyDelete

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