Lush Life

Hike to Etiwanda Falls in the San Gabriel Mountains

Etiwanda Falls Trail in Rancho Cucamonga packs a lot of bang for your buck: waterfall, wildflowers, panoramic views of the Inland Empire, and lush green surroundings as you walk. Nestled in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, this 3.4-mile (round-trip) out-and-back trail is a favorite among locals, and you’ll quickly understand why.

The shadeless trail almost immediately begins with a moderate incline and continues uphill until you reach the waterfall. Frequent breaks to admire the stunning views of the Inland Empire below help give your legs a rest. Thanks to our winter rains, the trail is lush and green, with pretty purple wildflowers dotting the hillside. You’ll pass through areas of oak woodland, chaparral, and coastal sage scrub, as well as one of only three remaining areas of alluvial fan sage scrub in the whole state.

Shortly beyond an old irrigation system on your right, you’ll reach the falls. A small path to the right leads to an overlook viewpoint, while one to the left goes directly to the top of the falls. The 15-foot waterfall is particularly impressive right now, after all our recent rains, but is still fun to visit year-round. The views are always great. Bonus: Evening hikers will be rewarded with the sight of twinkling city lights set against the backdrop of a gorgeous sunset in front of them for the whole hike back to the parking lot.

The trailhead is in North Etiwanda Preserve at the end of Etiwanda Ave. in Rancho Cucamonga. From the 210 freeway, head north on Day Creek Blvd. until it dead-ends at Etiwanda Ave., then make a left. Follow Etiwanda Ave. until it turns into a dirt parking lot at the preserve. The preserve is open from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. March through October, and from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. November through February. Parking lot gates are locked promptly at closing time. Free parking. No dogs.

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. Up Umunhum

    Rising from the Santa Cruz Mountains, Mount Umunhum is one of the Bay Area’s highest points, reaching an impressive 3,486 feet. With the new 7.4-mile (round-trip) addition to the Bay Area Ridge Trail, locals can finally step up to its peak.

  2. Napa's Wild Side

    It’s wine country’s Amazon. Cutting 50 miles through the famous Napa Valley and emptying into San Pablo Bay, the gentle Napa River is an ecological—and recreational—delight. And Napa Valley Paddle helps you enjoy it.

  3. Strolling With Sam

    Most people come to Samuel P. Taylor State Park for the beautiful creekside campground and picnic areas. But the hiking here can be pleasantly peaceful on a short trail featuring old-growth redwood trees.

  4. Sponsored

    Four Ways to Fall for North Lake Tahoe

    As vivid autumn colors start to line the sky and crowds begin to dwindle, North Lake Tahoe’s breathtaking secret season takes over and is a favorite among locals. With turning leaves, crisp air, and 12 towns to explore, North Lake Tahoe is the place to disconnect.


Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Apple of Your Eye

    That fall feeling is definitely in the air and on display at the Oak Glen Preserve. Apple orchards and colorful leaves are a bonus, as are the apple cider donuts and slushies you can enjoy post-hike.

  2. Secluded Royale

    Panoramic coastal views and a killer leg workout combine on this 2.7-mile (round-trip) out-and-back hike to secluded Coast Royale Beach in Orange County

  3. Rock Star Hike

    The sandstone giants of Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park might be the coolest damn formations in SoCal. Explore the craggy slabs on a 2.5-mile hike.

  4. Clarity in Claremont

    The majority of Claremont Hills Wilderness Park is inaccessible, rugged terrain but there’s a 4.9-mile moderate loop that’s well-maintained and feels gloriously far away, despite being close to the city.