Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Switzer Falls

September 19,2011
10am -1pm


Coming from LA we took a different rout than Google tells you because there was a really bad traffic jam the morning of our hike and had to go around it; this is the way we went. The second return to this trail we took the same way even though there was no traffic jam because it proved to be much faster. Take the 405 North toward San Diego Fwy for 5 miles till you reach the CA-118 East. Continue on the 118 for 4 miles and merge onto the I-210 East toward Pasadena for 14.1 miles. Take the Ca-2/ Angeles Crest Hwy exit toward La Canada Flintridge 0.3 miles. Turn left onto Ca-2/ Angeles Crest Hwy (at the light)

If you still need to buy your adventure pass now is the time to do it. Turn right at the light instead of left and make the next left into the Shell Station you can buy them here or next door at the Sports Authority for $5.

After making a left at the light once you got off the freeway continue to follow the Ca-2/ Angeles Crest hwy up into the San Gabriel Mountains for 9.8 miles. You will see a small parking area with marked parking spaces to your right. Be careful if you choose to park at the top there have been tons of break ins and there's plenty of evidence of that all over the ground. Even parking in numbers wont save your window from being bashed in so keep an eye out for anyone looking suspicious before leaving your car. There are two more parking areas if you follow the small paved road past the gate down into the canyon. I sagest parking at the third parking area way down at the bottom. Its shady there and it further for the people who break into cars to travel BUT still not safe to leave your car. An Adventure pass is needed to park you can buy them online or at a store near you.

Sunrise to sunset

Easy/ Moderate

The trail in mostly flat with short bursts of a slight incline. If you decide yo take Bear Canyon to the base of the falls there is an incline for about a half a mile that winds up the mountain along a slowly eroding trail. (stay away from the edges even when there is fencing).

Elevation Gain:

3 seasons; the summer months can and will dry up the falls. If you are lucky and its been a wet year there will be water all through summer. I went in September and there was enough water but I was told the water was very low and the stream gets way bigger and deeper so I can't wait to go back when there's been a good rain storm or after the snow melts.

Cell Service:
T-Mobil - No service at the parking area or along the trail
AT&T - No service at the parking area or along the trail
(If you got something different then or findings or have a cell provider not of the list PLEASE feel free to message me with your information

Switzer Falls - 4.5 miles

Trail Conditions:
Other than a few fallen trees the trail is in excellent condition. This is still an area that was hit by a fire (2007 Station Fire) so please be careful when you are exploring. The trail leading to the base of the falls way of Bear Canyon is slightly eroding in some parts and the fencing that was placed along sections of the trail are very unsettling to see them hanging over the edge showing how much has fallen away.

Trail Directions: 
Once parked either follow the paved road down the the second set of stairs or if you parked at the bottom follow the trail over the small foot bridge and along the partly dirt partly paved trail into the canyon. The trail is well marked and very easy to follow and not get lost. After many stream crossings you will come to a fork in the trail. You can ether take the trail to the right over the stream and up some switchbacks up and out of the canyon (Stunning views) and then back down into the canyon to the base of the falls. Or you can take the trail to the left past what looked like small stoves on your left. You will pass a group of signs one being a map that's not very helpful or detailed in anyway. This trail will take you up and out of the canyon as well but it started to look a lot more burned than the rest of the trail so we decided not to continue. We instead went back to the fort int he trail and got in and followed the stream down a very short ways to the smaller waterfall above the largest one where we hung out and swam in the deep water at the base of the small waterfall.

Other Activities:
Mountain Bike

Adventure Pass

Jessie's Thoughts:
Was not one of my favorites mostly becasue I don't feel safe at all parking my car anywhere near here. The trail was easy to follow it however wasn't well marked and got a bit confusing for a short time. The first time we came here to hike this trail we ended up parking at the second parking area and had to walk resulting in us taking the wrong trail completely wondered through heavily burned areas exposed to the sun for hours until hitting a dead end and turning around. Once we hit the falls it was well worth it but I don't plan on doing this trail again for a long time. 


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