Hike to Switzer Falls in Los Angeles County

{JANUARY 2023 NOTE: Stay safe. Wait until storms have passed before hiking any trails, and before heading out, be sure to check official websites for updates on trail status, closures, hazards, etc. Expect wet, muddy, and slippery trails, and exercise caution and good judgment, including with water crossings. Do not cross swift flowing waters. Proper hiking shoes are essential, and an extra pair of socks to change into is recommended. We also recommend waiting a week or so post-rains to let conditions calm down, and keeping up to date on trail conditions.}

Recent rains make the next several weeks a good time to visit Switzer land! Switzer Falls, that is. This 50-foot two-tiered tumbler is a beauty, and roars after rains. There are a few ways to reach the two-tiered waterfall, some more reliable than others.

We recommend the 3.6-mile (round-trip) trail through a fragrant, shaded canyon paralleling a year-round stream to Switzer’s lower falls. Starting on the popular Gabrielino Trail, follow signs to the falls while hiking alongside the swiftly flowing Arroyo Seco. Alders and oaks offer a cool canopy. Criss-cross the stream nearly a dozen times as a series of switchbacks lead to a dryer environment where yellow evening primrose flowers and yuccas flourish in soil. {JANUARY 2023 NOTE: Be very cautious with these crossings and do not cross if the flow is too swift, especially if rain has been recent. Expect wet conditions all-around after plentiful rains} The trail hugs the cliff before descending again to the canyon floor. Stay left, and it’s one last hop, skip, and jump over the water to lower Switzer Falls, a 15-foot tumbler pouring into a large green pool (the upper falls is taller, but there’s no official trail to reach it and the scramble is dangerous). Watery reflections and filters of sunlight play on the surrounding boulders, creating a calm oasis.

Switzer Falls is off the Angeles Crest Highway (SR-2). Starting in La Cañada Flintridge, take SR-2 approximately 10 miles north, then look for the sign-marked turnoff on your right. Follow the steep driveway down to the main parking area. A National Forest Adventure Pass is required for parking. Dog friendly!

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