Hiking Eaton Canyon: Nearby and Relatively Easy -- Plus a Waterfall
Eaton Canyon can sometimes feel like the Runyon Canyon of the San Gabriel Valley (read: popular, busy). And if you go on a weekend Summer afternoon, you definitely won't be alone. But there's a reason for that as Eaton is one of those relatively easy hikes that any avid hiker in Southern California should do at least once and knock it off their to-hike list.
The well-marked easy to follow there-and-back trail into Eaton Canyon from the trailhead is about four miles (to be exact, Casey Schreiner at Modern Hiker measured it to be 3.76 miles). From the free (yet sometimes very crowded) parking lot in Altadena, the first mile or so along a dirt fire road that also connects to Henninger Flats (a more rigorous uphill climb). Soon the trail leans into the canyon along a stream where things get a little more scenic. From here on out there are a number of stream crossings where many hop rock to rock to avoid getting wet (or you can bring your hiking sandals, etc).
Soon enough, you've made it to a usually year-round 40-foot waterfall that marks the trail's turning around point. It's a good spot to take break, cool off, have a snack and maybe play in the water. Be warned, though, it can be like a day camp during the height of a weekend day. But all in all, a very satisfying hike that near the city and easy to access.
Previously: Approach Eaton Canyon from a fitness angle