Los Angeles Hikes

Hike Trail Canyon Falls in The San Gabriel Mountains

Located on the west end of the San Gabriel Mountain Range, Trail Canyon tends to surprise visitors with its gorgeous 40-foot cascading falls. Trail Canyon Falls is one of Los Angeles’ most scenic waterfalls and for good reason, the beautiful half-circle cutout of granite cut by the water over the years makes for some spectacular photos. Visit the falls while there is still plenty of flow, the recent L. A. storms have been a blessing. Visit before late June to ensure flow.Hike Directions:

Hike Stats:

Distance: 4 miles

Elevation Gain: 700 ft.

Difficulty: Moderate

Dogs Allowed: Yes

Parking: Free

Parking Edit: Because of the large amount of visitors, the small community has closed the gate to the road to the trailhead. Parking is now located off Big Tujunga Canyon Road at: 4100 Big Tujunga Canyon Rd.

Park off the highway on the dirt.

Directions:

  1. After Parking, find the trail sign and yellow gate
  2. Follow the road behind the gate next to a residential home
  3. Turn Right at the fork and climb to the falls

Parking & Trailhead:

Parking for this hike is in a small dirt lot a half mile from Big Tujunga Canyon Rd. Parking address is 19601 N Trail Canyon Rd. Please respect all residents and do not park in front of the gate.

Trailhead:

Hiking to the Falls:

This trail was burned out in 2009 by the Station Fire and reopened to the public in 2012. For years after, the trail was difficult to manage with downed trees and fire leftovers, but on this visit in 2017, the trail was easily passable. Sadly, because of the 2009 Station Fire most of the cabins in the canyon were burned up leaving only some foundations and the chimneys…

House burned from the 2009 Station Fire, located behind the parking area.

From the parking area, locate the trailhead sign and yellow gate. Walk around the yellow gate and continue.

Trailhead sign and Yellow Gate.

In .1 miles from the yellow gate there will be a stream to cross over. Cross it and follow the trail as it makes a left turn.

First stream crossing.

A building will be visible to the left as the trail passes by it.

A final fork in the road appear after passing the residential area, make a right and continue on the trail as it heads deeper in the canyon. From here you can follow the trail all the way to the falls.

On the way to the fork, watch for the fork right after. The left goes to a resident, right is the Trail Canyon Trail.

On this beautiful MLK day there were visitors we caught a conversation with saying the falls were quite full. We were looking forward to discovering the falls.

As the trail meanders through the bushes and downed trees it hikes up a slightly steep slope and back down. It seems this portion of the trail the road was once paved as asphalt sticks out like a sore thumb under our boots.

first uphill stretch.

As we left the once-paved trail, the first crossing appeared before us! Never in years has there been this much water to cross this early in the hike! We knew we were in for a treat.

After using the rocks to skip over the large stream, the trail continues up some beautiful pathways and a few more crossings.

After the last and main crossing the trail heads up the side of the mountain.


The real elevation gain begins here. It’s constantly upslope from here but not too harsh.

After hiking along the ridge of the mountain the visitor can take a peek behind them and gain grand vistas of Trail Canyon.

Continue along the ridge for a little longer as the trail wraps around the bends of the mountain.

The next photo is the last bend before the falls are in sight. From the last bend to the falls there is no elevation gain and the trail is very level.

After walking down the trail a bit more we were ecstatic to see the falls as full as they were. Because of the drought they haven’t been this full in years…

Important: If you wish to view the falls from the bottom there is a small use-trail (located as a right turn) which descends towards the falls. As a warning the trail is very steep coming down and roots of trees but be down-climbed along a very steep section of trail. We saw people struggling the most with this part.

But climbing down the trail does have its rewards. Enjoy these photos and have a safe trip to Trail Canyon Falls. Double back the way you came once the falls have been enjoyed.

Bonus: Trail Canon Falls when it is bone dry.

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