Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Seek out a melodious waterfall in Eaton Canyon, at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains.

On October 27, 1993, the floor of lower Eaton Canyon (along with 118 homes in surrounding neighborhoods) was reduced to white ash and black cinders by the fast-moving Altadena Fire. By the following spring, which came on the heels of a wetter-than-average rainy season, visitors to the 184-acre Eaton Canyon Natural Area could only gasp in wonder as they beheld millions of wildflowers, swaying in the breeze, on the canyon floor. It is a California truism that from what seems the worst possible disaster, new life -- and hope -- can emerge triumphantly.

The oaks and chaparral shrubbery on the canyon rim have fully regenerated by now. Fire-following wildflowers have diminished with the passing seasons, though this late-winter and spring season promises to be one of particular lushness and color due solely to the tremendous amount of rainfall that's fallen on the L.A. area over the past several months.

Upstream from the park, where the waters of Eaton Canyon have carved a raw groove in the San Gabriel Mountains, you'll discover Eaton Canyon Falls. Impressive only during the wetter half of the year, the falls possess, as John Muir once put it, "a low sweet voice, singing like a bird." The falls are well worth visiting, especially now so as to witness the power of large (by Southern California standards) volumes of falling water.

Find the entrance to Eaton Canyon Natural Area on Altadena Drive just north of New York Drive in Altadena (near Pasadena). Park near the nature center building, rebuilt and completed by 1998 to replace an earlier structure that burned. Three short, looping trails can be found near the nature center: the Junior Nature Trail, Fire Ecology Trail, and Oak Terrace Trail.

Our way to the falls, though, follows the Eaton Canyon Trail upstream along the canyon's cobbled floodplain or stream. The trail gains a higher stream terrace, passing some beautiful live-oak woods. At 1.1 miles you rise to meet the Mount Wilson Toll Road bridge over Eaton Canyon. Cross to the west end of the bridge, descend on the upstream side, and make your way up the trailless canyon (don't do this if the stream is too lively and dangerous to ford). You'll skip across rocks in the stream several times, or perhaps resort to wading. After one-half mile of canyon-bottom travel, you come to the falls, where the water slides and then free-falls a total of about 35 vertical feet down a narrow chute in the bedrock.

If you prefer, you can shorten the walk to the falls by starting from the lower gate of Mt. Wilson Toll Road on Pinecrest Drive in Altadena. Be sure to observe any signs about parking restrictions in that neighborhood.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

"We had to get canning quickly"

In response to covid, these small brewers now offer beer in cans for the first time
Next Article

Dress up with cork wedges from Aerosoles and a necklace from Pier 1

“For three months, I existed only on yoga pants and sweatpants.”

On October 27, 1993, the floor of lower Eaton Canyon (along with 118 homes in surrounding neighborhoods) was reduced to white ash and black cinders by the fast-moving Altadena Fire. By the following spring, which came on the heels of a wetter-than-average rainy season, visitors to the 184-acre Eaton Canyon Natural Area could only gasp in wonder as they beheld millions of wildflowers, swaying in the breeze, on the canyon floor. It is a California truism that from what seems the worst possible disaster, new life -- and hope -- can emerge triumphantly.

The oaks and chaparral shrubbery on the canyon rim have fully regenerated by now. Fire-following wildflowers have diminished with the passing seasons, though this late-winter and spring season promises to be one of particular lushness and color due solely to the tremendous amount of rainfall that's fallen on the L.A. area over the past several months.

Upstream from the park, where the waters of Eaton Canyon have carved a raw groove in the San Gabriel Mountains, you'll discover Eaton Canyon Falls. Impressive only during the wetter half of the year, the falls possess, as John Muir once put it, "a low sweet voice, singing like a bird." The falls are well worth visiting, especially now so as to witness the power of large (by Southern California standards) volumes of falling water.

Find the entrance to Eaton Canyon Natural Area on Altadena Drive just north of New York Drive in Altadena (near Pasadena). Park near the nature center building, rebuilt and completed by 1998 to replace an earlier structure that burned. Three short, looping trails can be found near the nature center: the Junior Nature Trail, Fire Ecology Trail, and Oak Terrace Trail.

Our way to the falls, though, follows the Eaton Canyon Trail upstream along the canyon's cobbled floodplain or stream. The trail gains a higher stream terrace, passing some beautiful live-oak woods. At 1.1 miles you rise to meet the Mount Wilson Toll Road bridge over Eaton Canyon. Cross to the west end of the bridge, descend on the upstream side, and make your way up the trailless canyon (don't do this if the stream is too lively and dangerous to ford). You'll skip across rocks in the stream several times, or perhaps resort to wading. After one-half mile of canyon-bottom travel, you come to the falls, where the water slides and then free-falls a total of about 35 vertical feet down a narrow chute in the bedrock.

If you prefer, you can shorten the walk to the falls by starting from the lower gate of Mt. Wilson Toll Road on Pinecrest Drive in Altadena. Be sure to observe any signs about parking restrictions in that neighborhood.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Dead Cross cover Black Flag’s “Rise Above” in solidarity with Black Lives Matter

Jonny Tarr, Dead Cross, Electric Mud, Howard Blank’s Outsiders, Trees
Next Article

Dead Cross cover Black Flag’s “Rise Above” in solidarity with Black Lives Matter

Jonny Tarr, Dead Cross, Electric Mud, Howard Blank’s Outsiders, Trees
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close