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Hike to this Amazing Waterfall, right outside Los Angeles, CA

Updated: Nov 8, 2020

Top 7 Things You Need To Know About Switzer Falls Hike Trail to find the Waterfall

Plus my BONUS recommendations how to prepare for the BEST waterfall adventure

Check out the full video story, here.

Take a Road Trip to a Waterfall near Los Angeles

I've lived in Los Angeles for almost 10 years , I cannot believe I never knew about this sight!

Three months into quarantine lockdown with no travel has really got me antsy! Luckily I live in one of the most beautiful areas of the world, Los Angeles, CA.

With so much uncertainty on traveling, I jumped in my car for a road trip. Read on to learn about this quick day trip you can take to discover beautiful falls, less than an hour from central Los Angeles, CA.

Top 7 Things You Need to Know about Switzer Falls

1. Why should you go?

  • Who couldn't use an excuse to get outdoors today?

  • Not only will this road trip take you out into nature (what many say is a good way to cure the isolation blues and avoid depression), this hike beautiful!

  • And to top it off, the trail ends with a waterfall which flows into a pool that you can swim in... if you're adventurous.

I still cannot believe this beauty exists so close to my home and I'm just now see it!

  • It's also good exercise, especially the end (more details below).

  • Even the drive is pretty, with overlooks that offer an incredible view of the city!

  • All of this, and its only a short drive out of Los Angeles!

2. Location

  • In the city of Altadena, located here, it's an easy drive no matter what area you are coming from in Southern California.

  • Since traffic is still light right now, the drive time was only about 45 mins from the Mid City Los Angeles area.

  • As you drive up the mountain, you'll see signs for Angeles National Forests; where you are headed.

  • The drive is beautiful, the roads are windy so take your time and drive slow. You'll want to anyway because the views along the drive are beautiful.

  • Once you get higher into the mountains, you'll likely lose phone service, so make sure you're prepare for this.

  • As you approach the trail area, you'll see signs for "Switzer Picnic Area", this is where you want to go.

  • BONUS: Make sure to stop along the mountain at one of the many look out points, on your drive up. Stop to take a photo or just admire the view over the city.

3. Details

  • Right now the park is closed, so you can't park your car down the hill at the picnic area. However, there's parking at the top of this hill (they aren't charging, so its free to park).

  • Once you park, you can walk down the driveway into the picnic area and start your hike.

  • NOTE: the walk up this drive way is NO JOKE, its a steep incline for a good 10 mins (on pavement). So after you finished the hike, be prepared for a good workout that'll get your heart rate up.

  • As you start the trail, it begins in the picnic area which includes charcoal grills and restrooms (neither are being attended to due to quarantine). However, if you brought your own charcoal and fire, I don't see why you couldn't use the grills.

  • Once you pass the picnic area you'll walk over a creek/river with a mini waterfall.

  • From there, the trail begins as you hike along side this flowing creek (nearly the whole time).

  • The trail starts in a woodsy shaded area along this creek.

  • As you start to incline, there isn't much shade and won't see much of the creek anymore, but you can still hear it flowing since it is beneath you in the ravine.

  • The hike to the waterfall is about 4 miles.

  • And the total trek there and back can be about 3 hours, depending on whether you decide to hop in and go for a swim at the falls.

4. The Path is an Adventure

  • If you are looking for a hike with a defined dirt or paved pathway, this is not the trail for you. You'll have to be creative with this one.

  • There is a recognizable path but it's definitely not a smooth road. A lot of the path is lined with small rocks and uneven grounds, so you'll have to watch your step.

  • At points you will even cross over the small river. It's not hard but you'll need to step from rock to rock or over logs to avoid getting wet.

  • Make sure to test the rocks and logs before stepping to them completely. Some are slippery and others move, so if you're not careful you might land in the river.

  • I enjoy this hike because the undefined path made things more interesting and it was fun to maneuver across the river.

5. Not for the Fear of Heights

  • If you have a fear of heights, there are parts of this trail that can make your stomach sink.

  • Luckily, as you walk up the mountain side the path smooths out so it won't be as uneven as the start, however the path can get a bit narrow.

  • With this narrow trail going up a mountain side, you'll be eerily close to the edge of cliff at times and the fall to the ravine is pretty deep.

  • Some areas have a "slight" fence to protect you from a fall, however most areas do not.

  • Tip: Be very careful, honestly a slip in some areas could be traumatic.

6. The trail is GORGEOUS

  • Like I mentioned earlier this trail includes a flowing creek that leads to major falls.

  • But it's not only the creek and falls that make it beautiful.

  • It's dark and woodsy in areas, then green and bright in others.

  • There are areas of white granite stone outposts that pop against the contrast of the greens of the trees surrounding these areas.

  • At the waterfall the falls break off the white granite stone, into a pool that continues flowing through the creek.

It is absolutely stunning and so peaceful!

7. The Falls

  • To me this is the biggest selling feature, a waterfall near LA, I'm still impressed!

  • I definitely took a lot of time to admire the view here. You can even hop in to take a swim.

  • If you plan to swim, beware the water is FREEZING! I wasn't brave enough to jump in but others I was with were, and now I'm kinda bummed I didn't jump in.


Before you go, remember the following:

  • ONLY for Experienced Hikers - This hike requires a lot of maneuvering over rocks, rivers, and logs, so I wouldn't go if you may have trouble with this.

  • Pack Water - This trail can get hot, and you'll want to stay hydrated.

  • Wear Sunscreen - This trail has areas of sun and depending on what time you go the waterfall will have sunlight too. Make sure your skin is protected.

  • Wear Shoes with Grip - I've mentioned you'll have to hop from rocks or logs that can be wet, make sure your shoes have grip to minimize any injuries.

  • Beware of Steep Cliffs - I mentioned this path includes a lot of unprotected areas with sharp cliffs. Make sure to be careful in these areas.

  • Wildlife - We didn't see any wildlife and weren't bothered by bugs but this is nature so beware.

For more information on the details for this trail, visit the LA county trail site here.

So head out, be safe, have fun and enjoy all of California's beauty!!

Check out the full video, on YouTube Channel, here

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