Trail Canyon Falls Hike
Summary for Trail Canyon Falls Hike
Moderate – good trail, easy to follow
4.0 Miles Round Trip
Dramatic canyon culminating in lovely 30′ waterfall
Trail Canyon Falls is a remarkably beautiful 30′ waterfall in a majestic canyon that does not require strenuous effort or much time to reach. Trail Canyon Creek is a tributary of Big Tujunga Canyon, which drains a huge area of the San Gabriels, and interestingly is one of the major tributaries the Los Angeles River.
So after you do this hike you can look at the LA River and contemplate the interconnectedness of things. Note that the stream is seasonal, and may be dry in summer and fall, but runs strongly in normal to wet winters and after heavy rains. The trailhead is only about 1/3 mile off Big Tujunga Road up a dirt road which is in good condition, so passenger vehicles are fine if you drive with a little caution. Park in the dirt parking area at the end of the road. You will see the trailhead at the far end of the parking area.
Directions to Trailhead for Trail Canyon Falls Hike
Map of Trail Canyon Falls Hike with Downloadable GPX File
Detailed Description for Trail Canyon Falls Hike
Walk through the gate and follow the road past some cabins and you will soon encounter a stream crossing, then pass by a couple more cabins. Soon the road goes up to follow a tributary creek to the east for a short distance, then doubles back up and over a ridge, and drops back down into Trail Canyon. After you drop back in make sure to continue upstream.
Now you are next to the delightful melodious creek for a while on good trail. Some of the older trees were burned in the Station Fire and now serve as reminders of the cyclical nature of the forest and its dependence on periodic fires for renewal. But there are also survivors, and the remainder of the flora has recovered nicely. You will hug the stream now for about 1/2 mile and encounter several crossings. This is a beautiful part of the hike and the canyon, particularly when the water is flowing nicely and the creek sings its song of life.
Soon the trail moves away from the stream, and then begins climb the west wall of the canyon to bypass a dramatic gorge about 1/2 miles ahead, that you will see from above. The trail now climbs rather steeply, and the view becomes quite majestic as you look down into the gorge from above.
The trail now climbs rather steeply, and the view becomes quite majestic as you look down into the gorge from above.
Soon you will see the dramatic falls ahead as you round a sharp bend in the trail approximately 1.5 miles from the trail head. You can take the trail past the rocky outcrop next to the falls, and then drop down on top of the falls. There is also a steep, rocky, use trail a short distance before the falls by which you can descend to the base of the falls, but only use this if you are comfortable with this type of hazardous off-trail scrambling.
Now simply retrace your steps back down the trail to your car. Make sure to enjoy the dramatic views to the south, which are quite majestic especially if you hike on a day with some cloud cover, which lends a mysterious aura to the distant mountain ridges.
Video of Trail Canyon Falls Hike
Trail Canyon Falls on 2/7/2014. Note that the 2013-2014 rainy season was exceptionally dry, and the preceding weekend had produced only a small series of thunderstorms, but the falls were flowing rather nicely.