Places to Visit: Eaton Canyon Falls

January 5, 2010 § 3 Comments

Eaton Canyon Falls, above Pasadena

This new year’s day my friend Jen and I took a hike to Eaton Canyon Falls. There’s plenty of other Eaton Canyon documentation online (and good info in Jerry Schad’s book Afoot & Afield in Los Angeles County), but I figured I’d pass along directions and descriptions for this very easy, very accessible creek hike ending at a very nice 35-foot-tall waterfall.

Eaton Wash (also known as Eaton Canyon Creek or Eaton Creek) is a tributary to the Rio Hondo, which is a tributary to the Los Angeles River. Eaton Wash originates in the San Gabriel Montains, then runs along the eastern edge of the city of Pasadena, through Temple City, and then between Rosemead and El Monte before entering the Rio Hondo just upstream of the Whittier Narrows Recreation Area.

To get to the trailhead, I took my bicycle on the Metro Gold Line. I disembarked at Allen Station, biked north on Allen Avenue, then turned right (east) onto Mountain Street, then left (north) onto Altadena Drive. There’s a small nature center and a large parking lot with entrance on the east side of Altadena Drive, just north of New York Drive (at 1750 North Altadena Drive, Pasadena 91107.) It’s about a 1.5-mile ride from the Metro station – uphill, but not steep.

From the parking area, just head upstream – toward the mountains. Most of the hike is on a very wide very easy to follow path – below plenty of beautiful mature oak trees. As one gets into the canyon, the path narrows and crosses the creek a few times. The hike to the falls is about 1.7-miles one-way.

On new year’s day there were hundreds of people hiking along Eaton Wash. It’s a very easy hike – kid-friendly, dog-friendly.

People crossing Eaton Creek

Jen and I tried hiking up a small side-drainage. I don’t really recommend this. Very quickly the canyons get very steep, and the slopes very unstable; the San Gabriels are some of the fastest-growing and least-stable mountains on the planet. We thought we might be able to climb up to a ridgeline for views… but, after some struggle, we turned back and made our way down the creek.

I did get a little poison oak rash after the trip – though I think it was from the side-trip. Keep a look out for it if you hike off the beaten path at Eaton Creek.

Eaton Creek just downstream of the falls


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§ 3 Responses to Places to Visit: Eaton Canyon Falls

  • Jen Petersen says:

    i endorse the whole ‘stay on the trail’ suggestion. what Joe doesn’t report is that we both got pretty scraped up trying to mount the mountain, and in the end were sorta scared by our ability to so easily pull apart the rocks…

    • Joe Linton says:

      but I am a guy, so I don’t admit to being scared… at least not in writing. It was a valiant attempt to climb those canyon walls, but it was definitely scary to try to try to climb a rock slope as it crumbles beneath one’s feet.

  • Petrea says:

    Dog-friendly, yes, and keep your dog on the leash. Because this trail is so popular, rangers will ticket (or at least warn you) if they catch you with your unleashed dog. But your dog’s going to enjoy it anyway.

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