7 Best Pasadena Hiking Trails 2022: Peaks, Falls, & Mines

Best Pasadena Hiking Trails

Pasadena is a beautiful city nestled in the foothills of the LA forest with a hiking history that goes as far back as the 1800’s.

I grew up near the City of Roses, as it’s commonly referred to, and actually attended Pasadena City College. Therefore, I’m very familiar with the area.

I’m going to share with you the most beautiful hiking trails in and near Pasadena including a hike to 5 mines, which still remains a secret to this day.

Hikes Located In Pasadena

Eaton Canyon Falls

Eaton Canyon Falls

Total Distance 4.4 miles

Type: Out & Back

Elevation Gain: 520 ft

Restrooms Available: Yes

Parking Lot Available: Yes

Dogs Allowed: Yes On a Leash

Rating on All Trails: 4.3

Best Time to Visit: April – June

Eaton Falls resides in Northern Pasadena and is the most popular waterfall in the entire Los Angeles National Forest. Get there extra early!

Click here to read the full post for Eaton Canyon Falls!

Currently, due to COVID regulations, a permit is required to enter the canyon. You can find the permit here. The hike begins on a dry dirt road which quickly transitions into a much more amusing single track.

The trail closely follows the creek as you make your way through a beautiful gorge filled with white alders and precipitous cliffs on both sides. Because you’re hiking on the canyon floor you can expect plenty of vegetation and some shade.

There is a decent amount of water in the creek year round, so you can expect multiple creek crossings. Due to the minuscule amount of rainfall we get in Southern California, the falls are more of a trickle than a waterfall throughout the year.

If you want to see a full-flowing waterfall I highly suggest visiting during the months of April, May, and June. Here’s a fun fact that most people are completely unaware of: there’s a second hidden waterfall right above Eaton Falls.

However, getting to the second falls is extremely dangerous and illegal to attempt unless you’re rappelling your way down the canyon from Henninger Flats.

Ruins At Echo Mountain

Echo Mountain Ruins

Total Distance: 5.4 miles

Type: Out & Back

Elevation Gain: 1500 ft

Restrooms Available: No

Parking Lot Available: No

Dogs Allowed: Yes On a Leash

Rating on All Trails: 4.5

Best Time to Visit: October – April

In my opinion, the ruins of the resort located at Echo Mountain are the most fascinating part of Pasadena’s history, and a must see for everyone. In 1893 Professor Thaddeus S.C. Lowe built the Rubio Pavilion in Rubio Canyon.

From the pavilion, tourists had two options to get dropped off at the resort. They could either take a cable tram called the Great Incline straight up to Echo Mountain or a trolley named the Mount Lowe Railway, which weaved it’s way up the mountain and completed its course at Eaton Saddle near Mount Wilson.

Once at the resort the tourists would be housed at a hotel known as the Echo Mountain House. Unfortunately, due to fires and floods, all of it was destroyed.

Today we can hike up to the Echo Mountain ruins via the Sam Merril trail that begins at the Cobb Estate off of Lake Ave. With the exception of the remains of a cement road at the trailhead, the trail is a sunny single track consisting of multiple switchbacks.

Make sure to take plenty of water and a hat. Once you reach your destination you can enjoy views of Pasadena and explore the ruins of the hostelry, observatory, powerhouse, and the remains of the Great Incline tram.

Secret Mines of Las Flores Canyon

Las Floes Canyon Mines

Total Distance: 2.1 miles

Type: Out & Back

Elevation Gain: 620 ft

Restrooms Available: No

Parking Lot Available: No

Dogs Allowed: Yes On a Leash

Rating on All Trails: Not available

Best Time to Visit: All Year

During the Gold Rush of the 1800’s miners excavated roughly 300 mines throughout the San Gabriel Mountains. The mines at Las Flores Canyon were built from 1893-1894 by a man named Wiliam Twadell and his mining company.

Click here to get access to the secret Las Flores Mines!

He staked multiple mines in the area, some of which are known as the Golden Star, Monitor, and Bald Eagle, but shortly thereafter abandoned the operation due to water shortages, a common issue for miners at that time.

Today you can venture to the mines via a quick hike that begins at the Cobb Estate, just like the Echo Ruins. Instead of taking the single track which takes you across the canyon and leads up the mountain, you continue up the cement road and then switch onto a single track that leads you back down to the canyon floor.

It’s a very short and rewarding hike with a decent amount of shade and an abundance of vegetation. The hike has a few very narrow sections with steep ledges and requires climbing down a 10-foot rocky face wall.

Hence, I don’t recommend this trail for individuals who are not in acceptable shape and have good balance. This is definitely not a hike for small children.

Once you get to the last mine you can venture inside and explore for about 100 feet before you reach a dead end. Depending on the season, you may have to trek through shin-deep water to reach the end.

Hikes Near Pasadena

It would be a shame not to share with you a few amazing hikes that are not in Pasadena but just around the corner. These hikes used to be in my “backyard,” so if your goal is to hike in or near Pasadena, I can assure you you won’t be dissatisfied.

Read Post  How Many Calories Do I Burn Backpacking?

Mount Lowe Peak

mount lowe peak

Total Distance: 3.2 miles

Type: Out & Back

Elevation Gain: 500 ft

Restrooms Available: No

Parking Lot Available: Yes

Dogs Allowed: Yes On a Leash

Rating on All Trails: 4.5

Best Time to Visit: All Year

Mount Lowe Peak, named after Professor Lowe who built the Rubion Pavilion, is famously known for the swing set located at the peak that allows you to literally “swing above the clouds,” as you enjoy the Pasadena views.

Click here to read the full post on Mount Lowe Hike!

In all other directions, you’ll find yourself surrounded by various peaks such as Mount Wilson, San Gabriel Peak, and Mount Disappointment.

You can reach the peak from the Cobb Estate (a 9+ mile hike) or you can begin from Eaton Saddle to shorten the hike to 3.2 miles. If you choose the Cobb Estate as your trailhead you can make a quick pit stop at the Echo Ruins and Inspiration Point further up the mountain.

If you decide to hike from Eaton Saddle you will be required to drive approximately 21 miles from Pasadena up the 2 hwy. The drive features multiple mountain ranges, so I don’t mind at all.

I prefer the route via Eaton Saddle, not only because it’s shorter, but also because the trailhead is at an elevation of 5110 ft, which means more pine trees, better views, and cooler temperatures.

You also get to walk through the super awesome Mueller Tunnel that used to be part of the Mount Lowe Railway. The trail is mostly exposed. However, if you decide to bag this peak in the winter months you may be surprised to see snow!

Millard Falls

Millard Canyon Falls

Total Distance: 1.2 miles

Type: Out & Back

Elevation Gain: 268 ft

Restrooms Available: Yes

Parking Lot Available: Yes

Dogs Allowed: Yes On a Leash

Rating on All Trails: 4.5

Best Time to Visit: April – June

Millard Falls is a very short hike located in Altadena, Pasadena’s neighboring city. The trail begins at Millard Campground and makes its way along the creek until you get to the 50-foot falls.

Click here to read the full post on Millard Falls Trail!

Almost the entirety of the trail is located under the forest canopy and requires multiple creek crossings. White alders and Western Sycamores crowd the narrow canyon and make you feel like you’ve genuinely left the city far behind. It’s the perfect hike for beginners.

Like most waterfall hikes in the San Gabriel’s, the creek contains a decent amount of water year-round, but the falls reduce to a trickle when summer begins.

Fun fact: Millard Falls used to be known as Church Canyon because the early settlers used the lumber from this canyon to build the Plaza Church in Los Angeles. It was later named after Henry W. Millard who resided in the canyon in 1862.

Dawn Mine

dawn mine

Total Distance: 6 miles

Type: Out & Back

Elevation Gain: 1600 ft

Restrooms Available: No

Parking Lot Available: Yes

Dogs Allowed: Yes On a Leash

Rating on All Trails: 4.6

Best Time to Visit: All Year

The Dawn Mine Trail is a moderately difficult-rated trail located in Altadena. The mine was founded in 1895 by a man named Bradford Peck who worked on it for 7 years before closing it down to a lack of success.

Click here to read the full post on Dawn Mine Trail!

The trail begins by leading you down into Millard Canyon above Millard Falls and through the canyon floor until you reach the Dawn Mine.

Bonus Tip: If you can’t find parking at the trailhead, you can begin the hike from the same parking lot intended for Millard Falls, and walk up the same road you came down on or, if you prefer a short faster route, you can hike up a single track that ends at the Dawn Mine trailhead.

Since the trail follows the creek for the majority of the hike be prepared for a few creek crossings. There is lots of vegetation inside the woodsy canyon and therefore a good amount of shade.

Unfortunately, the mine has been closed to the public for a few years now, but you can still peek inside or check out the super cool water pump that was used for the mine.

If you hop back onto the single track after exploring the Dawn Mine, you’ll very shortly run into an exploratory dig on the left side of the trail which you can actually venture inside of and explore. It’s only about 50 feet long but totally worth the time!

Brown Mountain Dam Falls

Brown Mountain Dam Waterfall

Total Distance: 2 miles

Type: Out & Back

Elevation Gain: 651 ft

Restrooms Available: No

Parking Lot Available: Yes

Dogs Allowed: Yes On a Leash

Rating on All Trails: 4.6

Best Time to Visit: April – June

The 80 foot waterfall at Brown Mountain Dam may be man made, but it’s nothing short of exceptional. There are various trails you can hike to get to the falls, ranging from 2 – 8.4 miles.

Click here to read the full post on Brown Mountain Dam!

If you’re trying to avoid an 8-mile hike, I found a 2-mile shortcut that begins off of the 2 hwy. It’s very steep and slippery in a few sections, but nothing too crazy. Either way, I don’t recommend this route for small children.

The first half of the trail quickly descends onto the canyon floor where you’ll be surrounded by tons of greenery and the beautiful Arroyo Seco creek. The ruins at the Paul Little Picnic area give off an eerie vibe.

If you hike in the evening, the sun rays shine through the white alders and illuminate the creek water. It’s paradise.

The waterfall forms a shallow pool at its base, and the moss on the dam provides a feeling of nature taking control of man’s creation.

You’ll be surprised at how fast the setting changes on this short 2 mile hike. I highly recommend it.

Pasadena Hiking Guide

Nestled against the base of the San Gabriel Mountains, the city of Pasadena offers a variety of hiking and mountain biking trails suitable for all skill levels. Whether you’re looking for waterfalls, wildflowers, or just great views, there are many wonderful trails within easy distance of the city. Below, we will highlight some of the best Pasadena trails and provide links to additional information, where available.

El Prieto Trail

El Prieto Trail

View from El Prieto Trail.

El Prieto Trail is a moderate, 5.8 out-and-back trail in the Angeles National Forest. It climbs 912 feet and is a very popular destination for mountain bikers as well as hikers. Although the trail is well-traveled, there are plenty of opportunities for spotting wildlife and birdwatching.

Read Post  Ticket Machu Picchu

For a longer hike, check out Nick Winfrey’s detailed guide to El Prieto Trail.

Trailhead directions: From I-210 West, take exit 22B for Arroyo Boulevard/Windsor Avenue. Turn right onto N Windsor Ave, then continue for 0.8 miles before making a sharp left into the parking lot.

Eaton Canyon Trail

Easton Canyon waterfall

Waterfall in Eaton Canyon.

The Eaton Canyon Trail is an easy 4.4-mile out-and-back hike with views of the San Gabriel and Santa Monica Mountains. There are only 521 feet of elevation gain, and the trail becomes more rugged near the top. Seasonal streams criss-cross the trail, and your climb will be rewarded with a rocky 40-foot waterfall and a small pool.

Trailhead directions: From I-210, take the exit for North Altadena Drive. Continue north for 1.9 miles, and you’ll see the entrance to the Eaton Canyon Nature Area on your right. Parking is available in the lot by the nature center.

Inspiration Point via Sam Merrill Trail and Castle Canyon Trail

The 9.4-mile out-and-back hike up to Inspiration Point is intense, climbing a total of 2,795 feet. It begins on the Sam Merrill Trail, which takes you up to the ruins on Echo Mountain. From there, turn onto Castle Canyon Trail and continue until you reach the pavilion at Inspiration Point.

You’ll get great views of the canyon and surrounding mountains, and if you look through the available telescopes on a clear day you’ll be able to see Catalina Island. In addition to hikers, runners, mountain bikers, and dogs are all welcome on the trail.

Trailhead directions: From I-210, take exit 26 and head north on Lake Avenue for 3.8 miles until you reach the end of the road. The trailhead will be on your right, and there is street parking available on Lake Avenue and East Loma Alta Drive.

Gabrielino Trail

Switzer Falls

Switzer Falls

Located in the Angeles National Forest, the Gabrielino Trail to Switzer Falls is a moderately challenging 3.7-mile out-and-back trail. It gains a reasonable 695 feet in elevation, and at the end of your hike through the canyon, you’ll find the cascading 50-foot Switzer Falls.

Note that you will need to display an adventure pass in your vehicle when using the forest for recreational purposes. For more information on this trail, check out James Howley’s guide to hiking to Switzer Falls which includes instructions for getting to Upper Switzer Falls.

Trailhead directions: From La Cañada Flintridge, take the CA-2/Angeles Crest Highway north for 10 miles until you reach the Switzer Truck Trail. Turn right onto Switzer Truck Trail, and park in the designated lot by the trailhead.

Rose Bowl Loop Trail

The Rose Bowl Loop Trail is an easy, 3.1-mile hike that’s great for families. It only gains 118 feet in elevation as it circles the iconic Rose Bowl, and the wide, paved trail makes it good for all skill levels. Cyclists and leashed dogs are also welcome on the trail.

Trailhead directions: From CA-134 E, take exit 12 for San Rafael Ave. Turn left onto W Colorado Boulevard before making a slight right onto N Linda Vista Avenue. Continue for 0.7 miles, then make a slight right onto Seco Street, where you can find street parking.

Descanso Loop Trail

The 3-mile Descanso Loop trail is an easy to moderate hike with excellent views of Descanso Gardens, Glendale and Downtown LA, the San Gabriel Valley, and the Angeles National Forest. The loop connects the Descanso Trail to the Forest Hill Fire Trail and Descanso Drive for a multi-terrain hike.

Trailhead directions: From CA-2/Angeles Crest Highway, turn onto Foothill Boulevard. Continue for 0.3 miles before turning left onto Verdugo Boulevard. Drive for 0.4 miles, then turn left onto Descanso Drive. Park in the lot at Descanso Gardens, then walk back to the entrance, turn left, and walk until you see the trailhead entrance, marked by three yellow posts.

La Tuna Canyon Trail

La Tuna Canyon Trail

La Tuna Canyon Trail is a 5.9-mile loop that winds through the undulating peaks and valleys of the Verdugo Mountains northwest of Pasadena.

The desert landscape is painted in a variety of golds, greens, browns, and reds, which make for a visual tour de force that screams to be admired as you hike, bike, run or walk your dog. Total elevation gain crests at 1,427 feet and is challenging enough for even experienced hikers, taking just over three hours to complete at a modest pace. See our full guide for more details.

Mount Wilson Toll Road Climb

The Mount Wilson Toll Road Climb is a challenging 16.9 out-and-back trail that climbs 4,222 feet through the San Gabriel Mountains. There is a great variety of wildflowers in the spring, and you’ll get impressive views of the forest and city as you hike along the ridge. If you plan on hiking this trail, make sure to make an entry reservation with the Eaton Canyon Nature Center.

Trailhead directions: From I-210 E, take the exit for N Altadena Drive and continue for 2.8 miles. Turn right onto Crescent Drive, then turn right onto Pinecrest Drive, where you’ll see the trail entrance behind a gate.

North Arroyo Loop

The North Arroyo Loop is a short and sweet 2.1-mile trail that gains 114 feet in elevation and is suitable for all skill levels. The low incline and wide trail make it perfect for families and dog walkers. It is accessible year-round, but October through May is the best time to visit for temperate weather and wildflowers.

Trailhead directions: From I-210 West, take exit 22B for Arroyo Boulevard/Windsor Avenue. Turn left onto N Arroyo Boulevard, then turn right onto Rosemont Avenue. Continue for 0.5 miles, and the trailhead will be on your left. There is a parking lot on W Washington Boulevard if you make a right just after the trailhead.

Eagle Rock Canyon Trail

Eagle Rock is one of the most iconic sights in Pasadena, and this easy 1-mile loop trail is a wonderful way to see the formation from a different angle. Even over such a short distance, it climbs 249 feet, so you’ll get your heart rate up. At the peak, you’ll get sweeping city views as well as a great vantage point to watch the sunset if you go towards dusk. For more information on the hike, check out the Los Angeles County trail guide.

Trailhead directions: From CA-134 E, take exit 11 toward Figueroa Street. Turn right onto N Figueroa Street, then continue straight until it turns into Scholl Canyon Road. The trailhead will be on your right, inside Richard Alatorre Park.

Read Post  Chautauqua Hikes

Sturtevant Falls Trail

Set in the Angeles National Forest, Sturtevant Falls Trail is a moderate hike that gains 708 feet in elevation over 3.3-miles. After winding through the lush San Gabriel Mountains past old resort cabins, you’ll reach the impressive 50-foot Sturtevant Falls. You will need to display an adventure pass in your vehicle when using the forest for recreational purposes.

Note: The Sturtevant Falls Trail was closed in 2020 due to the Bobcat fire, and it is set to reopen to visitors on April 1, 2022.

Trailhead directions: From I-210 E, take exit 32 for Santa Anita Avenue toward Arcadia. Turn left onto N Santa Anita Avenue and drive for 1.7 miles. Continue onto Chantry Flat Road, drive for 3.3 miles, and turn left into the Chantry Flat parking lot.

How Long Should You Wait Before Hiking After Rain? (7 Tips)

Sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate with us, but does that mean we shouldn’t be able to hike? One of my favorite activities to do is to go hiking right after it rains and I’d like to share why.

How long until you can hike after it rains? Most trails are safe to hike after receiving a small amount of rain. If you decide to hike after it rains, use waterproof gear and choose a short trail that you are comfortable with to limit the risks.

If you’re still not convinced, keep reading to see why I don’t let the rain stop me from hiking as well as some general tips for hiking in the rain!

Man hiking in the rain

Benefits of Hiking After it Rains

1. Beautiful & Different Views

One reason hiking is such an enjoyable activity is because of the views that you can see from the trail or from the top of the mountain. I think we’ve all had those breathtaking moments once we overlook some nice mountains or paths.

The great thing about rain is that it makes those views you’re used to seeing completely change. There are sights that can be found after a storm that most people will never encounter. Make sure to take some photos to share with others once you see how the rain affects the trees, mountains, and lakes.

2. Less Crowded Trails

When it’s raining or just after it rains there won’t be nearly as many people out hiking as normal. Because of this, you’ll have every option available and can pick your first choice of places to go.

This could be the perfect time to try out that popular trail that you always avoid because it’s crowded. You will most likely be out there by yourself unless of course, you run into another hiker with the same idea!

3. Cooler Temperatures

Most of the time hiking happens in hot temperatures, which means you have to deal with the sun, sweat, and extra water while on the trail. Right after it rains can be the perfect hiking time if you want to get out without the worry about being drenched in sweat.

A fair warning is that it may get colder than you’re used to or expecting, so having some extra clothing is a good idea. Pack a sweatshirt or extra pair of socks to keep you dry and warm if it starts raining again.

Risks of Hiking After it Rains

1. It’s Muddy & Wet

Most places that are good for hiking will get soaked and muddy while it rains. Without the correct equipment, it can be a bad experience trying to move around our there without losing your traction.

There’s also the additional work that you’ll have to do once you return from the hike. Wet and muddy boots that need to be cleaned, clothes that need to be washed, and gear that needs to be dried.

If you do decide to hike while it’s wet out make sure to read through my tips for staying dry no matter how wet it is out!

2. Slippery Terrain

With wet and muddy ground it becomes much tougher to keep your footing while walking around. It’s important to have boots or shoes with a good amount of traction to limit the chance of slipping or falling.

You might encounter any of the following which could be difficult to navigate over:

  • Wet grass
  • Slick rocks
  • Branches and trees on the ground

Tips For Hiking In The Rain

In order to be completely safe hiking after a storm, make sure to follow these tips below to have the best experience.

1. Choose A Safe Trail

If you do go hiking after it rains, the first thing you should do is choose a hike that you know really well and feel comfortable being out on. This should be a place that can withstand whatever amount of rain you just received without it being unsafe.

Since some terrains break down after a large amount of rain or wind, limit the risks by choosing a trail that is designed to handle rain. There might be trees or branches that fall on the trail, and should be avoided as it’ll be more dangerous without proper footing and a clear path to follow.

2. Wear Correct Clothing

I would avoid clothing with materials like cotton that will absorb excess raindrops while outside. It’s best to have a waterproof jacket and a good pair of waterproof hiking boots or shoes that work well in the mud or puddles. Make sure to bring a nice cold drink of water with you on the trail as well!

Here’s what you should bring when hiking in the rain:

  • Waterproof jacket
  • Waterproof hiking boots
  • Extra socks
  • Hiking poles

3. Limit Your Distance

If you head out to the trails right after the rain, there’s always the chance the storm will return. It’s recommended to choose a trail that is relatively short in case the weather gets bad during your hike.

Stay close enough to your car in case the storm returns and the trail becomes too dangerous to continue. It should be easy for you to easily turn back and wait for another day before continuing the hike.

Source https://cahikingadventures.com/hiking-trails-in-near-pasadena/

Source https://www.outdoorsocal.com/posts/pasadena-hiking/

Source https://hikingsoul.com/hiking-after-rain/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *