Sunday, February 16, 2014

Switzer Falls and Bear Canyon

Switzer Falls and Bear Canyon,
San Gabriel Mountains,
Angeles National Forest, 
Los Angeles Co, California

Total Time: 2:15 hour
Estimated Distance: 4.17 miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended
Points of Interest: Beautiful views, scenic brook and canyon, waterfall
Pros: Incredible scenery and large mountains
Cons: The beginning part of the trail is busy and parking can be a challenge

Hiking Trails:
Switzer Falls Trail

Hiking Partner:
Michael Wander

This hike is near the beginning of the San Gabriel Mountains, and hikes into a very scenic and forested section of the Angeles National Forest. It took us about 45 minutes to get here from Los Angeles. Being that it was a beautiful Sunday in the low 70's, the trailhead was full and there was just one spot for us to park. The hike meanders back and forth along the pretty Arroyo Seco stream as it descends into the canyon.

There had not been rain here in a long time, and this was one of the driest winters in a long time. Yet the stream was still consistently flowing throughout. The trail goes along the stream for the first part of the hike, then ascends up toward the side of the ridge before going sharply down deep into the canyon and looping back to the waterfall. On the ridge part, there is a very steep wall below, so caution should be exercised.

There is an intersection at the bottom of the canyon that takes you further down the Bear Canyon but we were running out of time so opted to head back instead of further exploring the canyon. At the waterfalls we climbed up and went up the brook for a little bit before returning back the same way we came. The waterfall is not so impressive as far as waterfalls go, but it is a very scenic area and for southern California where water is scarce it is significant.

Map of the Route

View from the Parking Area Facing North

Michael Crossing the Brook at the Beginning of the Hike

View from Inside the Canyon with the Denser Tree Cover

Starting the Ascent, Looking East

Me on the Trail at the Ascent

Beautiful View of the San Gabriel Mountains

Michael at the Above View

Michael Looking At the View at the Lookout

Me at the Viewpoint

Beautiful Flower in Bloom

Looking Into the Canyon from the Side Where we Came

Me at the Switzer Waterfall and Pool Below

View from Above Switzer Falls

Michael Standing Right Above the Falls

Michael on the Return Route

Canyon View from the Return Route

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