Los Angeles Hikes

Hiking Elsmere Canyon Waterfall

Elmsmere Canyon Falls, a seasonal So-cal waterfall can only be found after plentiful rains. If you end up looking for these falls as late as March, you may find a trickle over the rock wall. It won’t be as impressive as the photos below, so I urge you to check these out soon after this post. It’s located within the large area called Elsmere Canyon Open Space, which hosts a range of hiking trails but today we will be covering the 3 mile out-and-back hike to the falls.

Trail Directions: (click to view part of blog)

  1. Once parked look for a brown gate, climb through the gate
  2. Continue on the Fire Road and follow the arrows
  3. Take the small Creek trail upstream towards the falls

Hike Stats:

Distance: 3 miles

Elevation Gain: 900ft

Difficulty: Easy/Moderate

Parking Fee: None


The parking for this Open Space Park is located next to the “Newhall Ave. Park and Ride” off the 14 freeway, take the Newhall exit. Very easy to find, but you can also click this address link.

Parking Photo:

Parking for the hike and Park/Ride in the background.

Trail Report:

After the recent so-cal rains I had my sights on a waterfall that would show itself to be photographed. Today I was joined by @_damico and @kanibliss on Instagram. After the initial preparations we excited our vehicle and started along the path.

From the parking lot we walked to a brown gate that can be seen from parking.

Climb through the gate.

The ground was soft and muddy from the previous rains but we trucked on anyways. Continue up the fire road (it’s most of the hike).

The green is really brought out by the rains, there is such a change in the landscape. Usually you can expect this hike to be dry and brown, but during winter/spring the hills treat visitors with lush overlooking fields.

Follow the the fire road as it bends and turns.

It was pretty difficult to hike in the mud, but we had no idea the reward that was awaiting us. Chasing seasonal waterfalls can be tricky, but it’s exciting not knowing how it would look until getting there. All that was on my mind at this point was the shot I would be able to get.

Continue along the Fire Road until you spot this first sign, from here on you can follow the signs to lead you to the Creek Trail.

The views are surprisingly scenic.

There is a big section to hike (not difficult but long) between the photo above and below, it looks the same so we’ve jumped forward to where the fire road meets the Creek Trail.

After following the signs along the fire road, the road heads down to the canyon floor in the flattest part of the hike.

Fast forwarding to the end of the fire road.

Last sign before hitting the Creek Trail.

The fire road meets the Creek Trail, get ready for the exciting creek crossings.

From the canyon bottom head upstream (left) up the creek trail. Take the creek trail to the falls.

You’ll find more signs pointing along the creek trail, follow them into the creek crossings.

The hike directs itself.

When we were reading online saying to “prepare to get wet feet”, we didn’t believe it. Here in so-cal creeks are easy to cross to we laughed it off. Little did we know…

Continue along the single track trail to the destination, not much needs to be explained here. You should have to go through 4 or 5 creek crossings. Soon after you will hear the falls.

Follow the Creek Trail to the Falls.

The falls in sight.

Climbing to the top of the falls, beyond these falls lie two more waterfalls. We did capture them, but the blog will end here, see what they look like for yourself. Make your own adventures and head back the same way you came when finished.


    • Erika Barragan on 01/14/2017 at 22:13


    Hello LAHIKES!
    I was searching through your Instagram page for a great waterfall hike. Since is rained all week, I thought it would be a perfect weekend do do a waterfall hike. Upon, searching I found a waterfall I would like to hike to. The caption says to email you if I want to know the location. You only gave followers 24 hours to send an email. I was wondering if I could still get the location since it has been a while since you’ve posted that picture. It was posted March 23rd 2016. It’s a 40 feet tall waterfall. I would really appreciate the help. Thank you!!

      • dventura on 01/17/2017 at 16:33
      • Author


      Hey Erika, We’re actually going to be covering that waterfall this week on Instagram. But the waterfall you are talking about is called Millard Canyon Falls. Hope that helps!

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