Are you tired of the never-ending chaos and commotion of city life? Do you long to escape the concrete jungle and immerse yourself in a world of tranquility? Look no further than these stunning waterfall hikes in Los Angeles County. These hidden gems offer the perfect sanctuary for those seeking solace amidst the hustle and bustle. From the enchanting Placerita Canyon to the majestic San Antonio Falls on Mt. Baldy, each destination promises to transport you to a realm of serenity and natural beauty. Join us on a journey to uncover the hidden oasis that awaits you in Los Angeles County’s waterfall hikes.
Placerita Canyon: One of the Waterfall Hikes in Los Angeles with Historical Roots
Nestled within Los Angeles County, Placerita Canyon is a hidden oasis with ties to the past. Located near Highway 14, you can visit the nature center and walk through history before hiking to the waterfall. As you venture up this enchanting canyon, be prepared to leave behind the hustle and bustle and immerse yourself in a world of tranquility and natural wonders.
Relevant historical sites include the Oak of the Golden Dream, where gold was discovered in California in 1842, and Walker Cabin, built in the 1920s. You can also see and smell kerosene bubbling in the water and places just off the trail. Kerosene is so rich and pure in the area that people used to pipe it from the ground straight into their oil lamps.
One of the highlights of Placerita Canyon is the captivating waterfall that awaits you at the end of your journey. It’s worth noting that the flow of the falls varies depending on California’s ever-fluctuating water levels. This year, it received so much rain as to be inaccessible due to erosion and trail washout. The year before, it was almost dry due to severe drought.
Fun fact: my husband and I did this hike on our second date. We may have made out at the top while listening to the rushing water run over the rocks and carefully avoiding the poison ivy growing. Afterward, we headed to a Mexican restaurant for burritos and margaritas. Pretty great date, to be honest.
Beyond the beauty of the waterfall, Placerita Canyon also offers many trails and paths to explore. There is something for everyone, from leisurely strolls to more challenging hikes (the waterfall hike is moderately strenuous, according to AllTrails). You may encounter wildlife such as birds, deer, coyotes, and even the occasional bobcat (although we’ve never seen one) as you navigate the winding trails.
Whether you are seeking a peaceful retreat or a place to reconnect with nature, Placerita Canyon is the perfect destination. As you venture into this hidden oasis, embrace the tranquility that awaits. Let nature’s sights, sounds, and scents envelop you and take you on a walk through the past. Placerita Canyon beckons you to uncover its secrets and embark on an unforgettable journey to its waterfall hike (when it’s accessible).
Towsley Canyon: My Second Favorite of the Waterfall Hikes in Los Angeles County
Just a short distance from Placerita Canyon lies another hidden gem: Towsley Canyon, another moderately challenging hike. This tranquil paradise offers a nature lover’s playground with diverse trails and breathtaking sights that will leave you in awe. You can also rent a historic Spanish-style building on a hillside for weddings and other special events. You can learn more about the different trail options and amenities here.
There are a lot of switchbacks on this hike, and you gain a bit in elevation. So, make sure you prepare for more than just a long walk. Also, you have the best chance of a strong waterfall flow right after a rainstorm. But I do not recommend hiking this trail in the rain. It gets slippery and muddy, and because of the elevation climb, light rain at the bottom can turn into pelting hail at the top. Trust me. It sucks to hike in soaking-wet clothes while being pelted with frozen rain. 😂
I also don’t recommend this hike when it’s hot out unless you bring a lot of water. There are shady parts, but there are parts that are full sun. And that climb works up a sweat. So, in the summer, morning is best.
Don’t let me deter you from visiting, though! It’s on this list of my favorite waterfall hikes in Los Angeles County for a reason. A visit during a not rainy spring day will reward you with hillsides dotted with poppies and other wildflowers. As you traverse the well-maintained trails, you’re rewarded with panoramic views that showcase the beauty of rolling hills and picturesque valleys. The captivating vistas extend for miles, reminding you of the vastness and grandeur of the natural world. It’s impossible not to feel small and humbled in the presence of such breathtaking beauty. Try it for yourself. You can thank me later.
San Antonio Falls on Mt. Baldy: Where Majestic Beauty Meets Adventure
This hidden gem in the Angeles National Forest offers a perfect blend of majestic beauty and exhilarating adventure, providing a breathtaking escape from the chaos of everyday life.
You must purchase an adventure pass and display it on your parked vehicle unless you’re being dropped off and picked up. You can get more information about buying a pass here.
The trail toward San Antonio Falls is a feast for the senses. The scent of pine trees fills the air, awakening your senses and grounding you in the present moment. The paved trail is about a mile-and-a-half straight climb, testing your determination. Along the way, some trees grow out of the rocks with their root systems fully exposed to the elements. It’s a sight to behold. You may struggle to breathe, but with each step, the reward of witnessing the splendor of the falls grows closer. The rewards are captivating views of the valley below, peeking through the trees.
Finally, after navigating the twists and turns of the trail, you emerge into a viewing area. And there it is San Antonio Falls, a sight that takes your breath away. Water cascades down the rocky cliffs, creating a symphony of sound. The sheer power and beauty of the falls leave you in awe, reminding you of the majesty of the natural world.
You can stop at the viewing area, or if you are more adventurous, you can continue. At this point, the trail is not paved. You have to navigate over and through the rocks to access the pool at the bottom of the lower fall. Quartz crystals vein the mountain and fill the shallow pond, trail, and creek. The energy is magical.
You pause to take it all in with the falls as your backdrop. The mist from the crashing water touches your skin, refreshing your spirit and rejuvenating your soul. At this moment, time stands still, and the worries of the modern world fade away. It’s just you and the falls, connected in a way that words can’t fully capture.
There is also an upper fall, but that climb is quite challenging, and I have not yet attempted it. If you make it to the upper fall, email me and let me know your thoughts!
Whitney Canyon Waterfalls: One of the Easier Waterfall Hikes in Los Angeles County
Whitney Canyon’s Waterfall Trail is off Highway 14 in Newhall, California. When you enter the parking lot, don’t go up the hill. Instead, venture off to the left as if you were going to go around the mountain. There you’ll find the easy-to-follow trail for this three-mile out-and-back hike. AllTrails rates it as easy, and I agree, unless you choose to climb the rocks next to the waterfalls like my husband, stepsons, and I do. Our little 15-pound chihuahua mix is capable of this one, so it can’t be that hard. Speaking of dogs, you will likely encounter a lot of them here, so be prepared.
The trail crosses back and forth over a stream, so water-resistant shoes are best. There can also be poison ivy in the area, so if you are sensitive to it, plan and apply this product pre-hike and this one post-hike.
What I love most about this waterfall hike is that you can continue past the main trail to see several falls in one walk.
This is also reportedly another waterfall that can disappear in times of drought, so keep that in mind. If that does happen, you will notice the dry bed early into the hike. You can then turn around and venture back toward the parking lot and up the hill/mountain, where there are additional trails. The trail that branches off to the right crosses a stream multiple times. If you go far enough, you may stumble across a witchy-looking wood structure in the woods. Part of me wants to sit and meditate and perform a ritual of some kind in it. Part of me thinks it could be a portal to another realm and is afraid to enter. What do you think?
Escaping the City Chaos With Waterfall Hikes in Los Angeles County
These four waterfall hikes in Los Angeles County offer a transformative experience that allows you to reconnect with nature and get grounded amidst the chaos of the city. These trails take you on a journey to some of the most enchanting waterfalls in the region, where time seems to stand still and worries fade away. Each step brings a sense of serenity and tranquility that is often hard to find in the bustling urban landscape.
As you wander up the winding paths, the gentle sound of rushing water fills the air, creating a soothing melody that drowns out the noise of city life. The vibrant greenery surrounding you provides a welcome respite from concrete and skyscrapers, reminding you of the beauty beyond the city’s boundaries.
But it’s not just the sights and sounds that make these waterfall hikes a magical experience. They have the power to transform your mindset and help you rediscover yourself. The peacefulness and stillness of nature can calm the mind, allowing you to let go of stress and worries. The rhythmic flow of water becomes a metaphor for the ebb and flow of life, teaching you to embrace change and find balance in chaos.
These hikes also offer an opportunity for self-reflection and personal growth. As you navigate the trails, you may ponder life’s big questions or gain a new perspective on your challenges. The solitude and beauty of nature create the perfect backdrop for introspection and self-discovery.
Whether seeking solace, a physical challenge, or simply a break from the city’s relentless pace, these waterfall hikes in Los Angeles County deliver an experience that transcends the ordinary. With every step, you’ll find yourself drawn deeper into the serenity and beauty of these natural wonders, leaving the chaos of daily life behind.
What is Your Favorite LA County Waterfall Hike?
From the hidden oasis of Placerita Canyon to the majestic quartz-filled beauty of San Antonio Falls on Mt. Baldy, each trail has its unique charm waiting to be explored. These enchanting hikes provide adventure, serenity, and a fairytale-like escape from reality.
We all know walking is good for you, but walking in nature is even better. In the words of John Muir, “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” So, lace up your hiking boots, pack a sense of curiosity, and chase some waterfalls. Uncover the tranquility, rediscover yourself, and experience the true power of nature. Your next adventure awaits.
Have you tried any of these waterfall hikes in Los Angeles County? Which one is your favorite? Are there others you know about that I should try out for myself? Please email me and let me know! And be sure to subscribe to my weekly emails so you never miss another phenomenal blog post by yours truly. 😘
See you next week!
P.S. – Do you love hiking, camping, and outdoorsy things? Me too! That’s why I’m so stoked to announce that my dear friend has launched a minimalist skincare and hygiene line perfect for bringing along on your outdoor adventures.
The Char Goals Everything Bar Cleanser is your all-in-one soap, face and beard wash, and shampoo. Use the Scuff Love Silk Exfoliating Glove to remove stuck-on debris and dead skin for the softest skin you’ve ever had. I have body piercings, and I love that this doesn’t get stuck on them. Then there’s the super concentrated face-to-toe Total Cranarchy Multi-Use Balm to keep you supple and moisturized in all weather conditions. And she’s formulating a hair and beard conditioner as I write this. The products are water-free, lightweight, compact, and fragrance-free to avoid attracting bears and critters to you or your campsite. If you check them out, tell her Dee Rowe sent you! (I did not earn $ for this shout-out. I am just a friend who is that excited!)