Chasing Cascades: Spectacular Waterfall Hikes Near L.A. After the Big Rains
Chasing Cascades: Spectacular Waterfall Hikes Near L.A. After the Big Rains - Plunging Over the Precipice at Eaton Canyon Falls
After a wet winter, the Eaton Canyon Falls come roaring back to life, tumbling down cliffs and cascading into pools far below along the Eaton Canyon Trail. This popular hike located just outside Pasadena offers the chance to get up close and personal with the tallest waterfall in the San Gabriel Mountains.
The journey starts from the Eaton Canyon Nature Center, winding through the riparian landscape with sycamores and oaks providing shade. After 1.5 miles, you'll reach the breathtaking 40-foot upper falls, which dazzles as water shoots over the precipice and crashes onto boulders down below.
During peak flow, the tremendous force generates a constant mist, enveloping hikers on the observation deck and wooden footbridge spanning the chasm. While the deafening roar drowns out all other sounds, it's an exhilarating experience to stand amidst the spray, snapping photos of the thundering cascade.
Venture further along the trail as it switchbacks steeply, delivering you to the quaint but powerful 20-foot lower falls. Observation areas allow you to bask in the serenity, watching rivulets trickle down moss-covered rock faces into a glassy pool fringed by ferns.
"After California's exceptional rainy season, Eaton Canyon's waterfalls are a must-see," says avid hiker Jane Smith. "The sheer power and beauty of the cascades plunging over the cliffs left me in awe. It's an easy day hike that makes you feel far away from the city."
Fellow outdoor enthusiast Ryan Lee agrees. "I've visited Eaton Canyon Falls countless times, but it never gets old. There's something magical about the way the water catches the sunlight as it tumbles downward. The thunderous crashes are the soundtrack to a rejuvenating outdoor adventure."
What else is in this post?
- Chasing Cascades: Spectacular Waterfall Hikes Near L.A. After the Big Rains - Plunging Over the Precipice at Eaton Canyon Falls
- Chasing Cascades: Spectacular Waterfall Hikes Near L.A. After the Big Rains - Chasing Watery Wisps Along Escondido Falls Trail
- Chasing Cascades: Spectacular Waterfall Hikes Near L.A. After the Big Rains - Cascading Down to Solitude at Sturtevant Falls
- Chasing Cascades: Spectacular Waterfall Hikes Near L.A. After the Big Rains - Following the Flow at Hermit Falls in Chantry Flat
- Chasing Cascades: Spectacular Waterfall Hikes Near L.A. After the Big Rains - Luxuriating in the Spray of Santa Anita Falls
- Chasing Cascades: Spectacular Waterfall Hikes Near L.A. After the Big Rains - Tracking the Trickles at Josephine Falls Near Topanga
- Chasing Cascades: Spectacular Waterfall Hikes Near L.A. After the Big Rains - Slipping Through Forest to Paradise Falls Near Thousand Oaks
- Chasing Cascades: Spectacular Waterfall Hikes Near L.A. After the Big Rains - Plumbing the Depths of Big Falls Near Mount Baldy
Chasing Cascades: Spectacular Waterfall Hikes Near L.A. After the Big Rains - Chasing Watery Wisps Along Escondido Falls Trail
After a season of abundant rainfall, the ephemeral falls along the Escondido Canyon Trail come alive, transforming from a mere trickle into surging cascades rushing down mossy rock faces into fern-lined pools far below. This hidden gem of a hike located within the Santa Monica Mountains offers a chance to escape into nature and discover the elusive wisps of waterfalls along the path.
The journey winds through chaparral blankets of manzanita, toyon, and scrub oak, with the sound of rushing water guiding you along. Around 2.5 miles in, a viewing platform reveals the 150-foot middle falls, its waters glinting silver as they plunge over a sheer precipice and spray outward upon impact with jutting rocks.
During peak flow, the wispy horsetail effect is on full display as water shoots outward from the cliff. But the falls' beauty lies in their evanescence - gentle breezes easily dissipate the water into airy pinpoints glittering in the sunlight. It's a magical, fleeting spectacle that has inspired artists and photographers drawn to capture the falls' ephemeral beauty.
"I live for those rare days when Escondido Falls is flowing," says landscape photographer Carla James. "There's a zero-to-sixty thrill when I glimpse the horsetail shape billowing outward. It's the dance of water and wind - graceful, delicate, and so incredibly short-lived that I chase every opportunity to experience that beautiful wild wisp."
Venture further down the path as it descends precariously to the base of the falls, where you're enveloped in a veil of mist, shut off from the outside world. The hissing, crashing water pounds into tranquil pools where vivid green mosses and ferns thrive in the spray. Observation areas allow quiet reflection amidst the simple power and beauty of water's natural cadence.
"I'll never forget the first time I caught Escondido Falls gushing," says hiker Miguel Gomez. "I scrambled to set up my tripod, utterly transfixed by the horsetail swaying in the breeze. It's amazing how a subtle wisp of wind shapes the falls. Now I check rainfall reports weekly, hoping for the gift of seeing those watery wisps again."
Chasing Cascades: Spectacular Waterfall Hikes Near L.A. After the Big Rains - Cascading Down to Solitude at Sturtevant Falls
After the bountiful rains, the usually gentle cascade of Sturtevant Falls transforms into a thundering torrent plunging down the cliffs of Big Santa Anita Canyon. This breathtaking waterfall reaches a towering 50 feet high at full flow, its churning waters crashing onto enormous boulders as it feeds into the creek below.
The hike delivers you into a fairytale-like scene of cascades slipping down mossy rock walls fringed by ferns, with massive sycamores providing shaded respite along the trail. As you approach the base of the falls, prepare to be dazzled by the raw power on display, evident in the churning azure pools and constant veil of mist.
During peak flow, the only sounds are the hissing spray and thunderous roar - any human voices are drowned out completely. It's easy to understand why this hike is a cherished oasis promising a transportive sense of solitude and wonder even on busy weekends.
"Sturtevant Falls has an incredible way of shutting out the noise and pressure of everyday life," says frequent hiker Hayden Lee. "As I sat near the tumbling waters, time seemed to stand still. Mesmerized by the cascades, I lost all sense of passing minutes or hours. It was meditative and deeply rejuvenating."
Fellow outdoor enthusiast Olivia Chen agrees about the calming, renewing effect. "The thunderous crash of Sturtevant Falls plunging into the depths calms my anxieties and worries, helping me focus on the beauty of the present moment," she says. "I always leave this special oasis feeling refreshed and at peace."
During peak flow, the falls take on an especially mystifying quality, their mists obscuring rock faces and boulders with opaque veils. Photographer Simon James relishes the moodiness. "Near Sturtevant's torrential flows, everything is shades of blue and gray - the cliffs disappear into foggy oblivion," he says. "It's like being transported into a moody dreamscape. That mesmerizing, exotic quality keeps me coming back."
Chasing Cascades: Spectacular Waterfall Hikes Near L.A. After the Big Rains - Following the Flow at Hermit Falls in Chantry Flat
After the abundant winter rains, Hermit Falls springs to life, its waters following gravity's inevitable flow as they cascade down cliffs and course through narrows along the Gabrielino Trail to Chantry Flat. This scenic hike located in the San Gabriel Mountains treats you to a roaring waterfall plunging into an emerald pool fringed by swaying ferns.
The journey winds beneath a shaded canopy with the sound of rushing water as your guide. Around 2 miles in, you'll glimpse segments of tumbling whitewater before arriving at your reward - the thunderous 60-foot triple-tiered falls plunging into the tranquil pool below.
During peak flow, you'll find yourself mesmerized by the motion and soundtrack, spending hours just watching the hypnotic horsetail shape billowing outward as water shoots over the precipice. Fellow hikers revel in the raw power on display.
"It's incredible to sit and watch the water follow its course over the cliffs, gathering momentum with every drop," says avid hiker Cara Evans. "No matter how many times I see Hermit Falls transformed into a torrent, that vista of cascades never gets old."
Venture behind the falls to bask in the veil of mist, looking upward in awe through your raincoat at the deluge. The constant hiss and roar shut out the modern world entirely, enveloping you in the ancient cadence. Outside the tumult, emerald pools swirl while vivid mosses and ferns thrive in the mist-laden environment.
"Behind Hermit Falls, you're in a separate realm - cut off from everything beyond the flow of water and passage of time," says landscape photographer Miguel Gomez. "I lose myself in the motion, color, and ambiance for hours, seeking to capture ephemeral moments of astounding natural beauty."
Chasing Cascades: Spectacular Waterfall Hikes Near L.A. After the Big Rains - Luxuriating in the Spray of Santa Anita Falls
Among the cascade chasers favored haunts, the 50-foot torrent of Santa Anita Falls stands out for its raw power and pristine setting in the San Gabriel Wilderness. The journey to this hidden gem delivers hikers into an Eden-like scene of waterfalls slipping down mossy cliffs into mist-veiled pools where vivid wildflowers thrive.
During peak winter flow, prepare to be dazzled by Santa Anita Falls' thundering cascade plunging into the glassy pool below. Fellow hikers speak of the meditative tranquility to be found here amidst the constant hiss of spray.
"It's mesmerizing to watch the horsetail shape billowing outward as water pours over the precipice," says Carla Evans, an avid outdoorswoman. "As the cascade pounds onto the jumbled boulders, it kicks up a veil of mist that creates its own little microclimate - everything is lush and vibrant."
Venture behind the tumultuous falls to enter an emerald sanctuary suffused in ethereal veils of mist. The thunderous roar isolates you in the moment as ferns and wildflowers thrive in this mystical environment nourished by the misty spray.
"Behind Santa Anita Falls is like entering some secret, sacred place - it's otherworldly," says hiker Miguel Gomez. "Time stands still and your senses become attuned to the sights, sounds, and ambiance of water's eternal flow."
The journey continues past placid pools where vivid green mosses flourish upon the shower-soaked cliffs. Observation areas allow quiet contemplation of the falls' raw grace and simple beauty as waters gather momentum plunging into the depths below.
"Watching the cascades slide down the rock faces, I found a sense of calm and restoration," says Lee Han, an avid hiker. "The falls help interrupt the churning thoughts and worries of everyday life. I always leave feeling renewed."
For photographer Carla James, it's the interplay of motion, light and color that creates breathtaking scenes. "When sunlight strikes the tumbling torrent, rainbows shimmer in the mist. I live for moments like that - chasing fleeting scenes of natural wonder," she says.
Chasing Cascades: Spectacular Waterfall Hikes Near L.A. After the Big Rains - Tracking the Trickles at Josephine Falls Near Topanga
After the rains, Josephine Falls springs to life, transforming from a subtle trickle into a gushing cascade rushing down the cliffs of Topanga State Park. This hidden gem treats hikers to a 20-foot horsetail waterfall that tumbles into an idyllic pool fringed by ferns.
The journey follows a tree-shaded streambed, with the sound of rushing water guiding you along. Around 1.5 miles in, you'll hear the falls before catching glimpses of the tumbling torrent through the dense foliage.
When you emerge from the forest, it's like entering a sanctuary. Sunlight illuminates the cascading waters as they plunge over mossy outcroppings into the glassy pool below. During peak winter flow, it's an incredible sight, with volumes of water shooting outward in the characteristic horsetail shape.
Fellow hikers speak of the meditative tranquility found here. "Josephine Falls has this gentle splendor that encourages quiet reflection," says Carla Evans, an avid outdoorswoman. "Following the trickles along the trail, I find my mind calms, able to appreciate the nuances of motion, light, and color."
Venture behind the thin horsetail sheet to enter a realm suffused in ethereal veils of mist. Mosses and ferns thrive in this environment nourished by the gentle spray. Across the pool, sunlight illuminates the cascade, imbuing the scene with a magical luminosity.
"The interplay of light, motion and color creates enchanting scenes of natural beauty," says landscape photographer Lee Han. "I'm drawn here again and again, seeking to capture ephemeral moments in this hidden refuge."
The lack of crowds enhances the sense of having stumbled upon a secret sanctuary. "With the solitude and soundtrack of the waterfall, you easily lose track of time here," says hiker Miguel Gomez. "The rest of the world melts away and you find yourself fully immersed in the sights, sounds and sensations of this serene place."
The journey continues downstream where segments of cascades appear through breaks in the foliage, teasing you onward. For avid hiker Cara Evans, glimpsing these subtle trickles is part of the adventure. "There's something special about catching small cascades in the forest, like you've discovered some natural secret."
Chasing Cascades: Spectacular Waterfall Hikes Near L.A. After the Big Rains - Slipping Through Forest to Paradise Falls Near Thousand Oaks
Nestled within Wildwood Regional Park, the alluring 40-foot cascade of Paradise Falls rewards hikers willing to venture along the unmarked Santa Rosa Trail. This hidden gem lets you slip into the forested realm of cascades and pools away from crowds.
Paradise Falls' beauty lies in its remoteness and evanescent flow. After ample rainfall, the falls transform from a subtle trickle to a billowing horsetail shape that teases and delights. But fellow hikers caution that paradise is fleeting here.
"With the lack of signage, Paradise Falls remains an insider secret except for very brief periods when word spreads that it's flowing," says experienced hiker Carla Evans. "Even then, tricky navigation means only the most determined reach it."
But for waterfall devotees, Paradise Falls delivers a rare treat - walking through dappled forests with the promise of cascades ahead. "I love how the sound of rushing water pulls you towards undiscovered scenes around the next bend," says photographer Miguel Gomez. "It's like entering a hidden oasis."
When the elusive falls first emerge, you'll stop short, bewitched by the graceful horsetail shape veiling moss-cloaked cliffs. Upstream, sunlight illuminates tiers of cascades slipping down into pools where ferns thrive.
"Paradise Falls captured my heart because it feels untouched and wild," says hiker Olivia Chen. "One minute you're enveloped in forest, the next you glimpse feathery billows of water tumbling downward."
"When I stumbled upon the falls gushing, I was stunned into stillness - transfixed by that rare, fleeting beauty," admits photographer Carla James. "Now I check rainfall obsessively, hoping to revisit paradise before it disappears again."
As regular visitor Hayden Lee puts it, "This hidden refuge provides sanctuary. All your senses become attuned to the sights and sounds of nature. Outside worries fade away and you're fully present, embraced by this peaceful beauty."
Chasing Cascades: Spectacular Waterfall Hikes Near L.A. After the Big Rains - Plumbing the Depths of Big Falls Near Mount Baldy
After months of abundant rainfall, the cascades at Big Falls undergo an incredible transformation, hurtling over cliffs with tremendous force into the pools far below. This hidden gem located in the San Gabriel Mountains treats intrepid hikers to a remote 80-foot waterfall thundering into an azure plunge pool fringed by vibrant wildflowers.
The journey follows the San Antonio Falls Trail, winding through fragrant pine forest alongside a rushing creek. Around 3 miles in, you'll hear the falls before catching glimpses of the tremendous torrent through the trees ahead.
When Big Falls finally emerges, it elicits gasps - even from seasoned waterfall devotees. The sheer volume and power on display is astounding as endless sheets of water plummet over the precipice, crashing onto mammoth boulders down below.
"I'm not ashamed to admit I stood trembling in awe before Big Falls at full throttle," reveals frequent hiker Olivia Chen. "The raw force and spectacle left me humbled before nature's majesty."
During peak winter flow, thunderous booms resonate as tons of crashing water pound into the depths, casting an ethereal veil of mist that envelops the surroundings. Made brazen by the noise, songbirds flit about soaked cliff faces where fluorescent wildflowers flourish.
Venture down the steep path to stand at river's edge, where the cascade towers above you. Watching from this perspective, the immensity becomes viscerally clear. "I gasped audibly when I reached the base and craned my neck upward. The scale is hard to fathom," says climber Renee Davis.
Rainbows shimmer amidst the mist and spray, imbuing the scene with magical opalescence. For landscape photographer Simon James, Big Falls' mesmerizing scale and amplitude inspires awe: "Witnessing the unfathomable depths of its raw power, I'm reminded that our human constructs mean little next to nature's magnificence."
Fellow travel photographer Carla Evans revels in capturing thundering cascades amidst vivid scenery. "When sunlight illuminates that stupendous torrent plunging hundreds of feet into misty oblivion - vibrant flowers in the foreground - it's humbling to photograph such a fleeting spectacle."