Eaton Canyon Falls: LA’s Most Crowded Hike

After having heard over and over again about this hike, how dangerous it is and how many people go on it every day I figured I really needed to check it out for myself so I could see what all the fuss was about. I set out from Riverside and got there at about 9 in the morning only to find the main lot full and only about couple spots left in the overflow. This is never a good sign but I reserved judgement and got out of my car to start the hike.

Eaton Canyon Falls 21

Details

  • Free to park
  • 3-4 miles round trip (depending on where you park) with ~500 feet of elevation gain
  • Busy

The Hike

Eaton Canyon Falls 9

As I set out on the hike I saw lots of people starting the trail so I knew I would not be alone, however I had no idea that I would encounter as many people as I did. The trail itself starts out at a relatively easy grade on a big dirt fireroad so there is ample space for all the hikers.

Eaton Canyon Falls 12

Eaton Canyon Falls 13

It meanders along this path and goes in and out of shade for about a mile with some nice views of the trees, houses and wash to the left. I passed about 20 people during this mile.

Eaton Canyon Falls 14

Eaton Canyon Falls 11

When you go around a bend you will see the bridge off in the distance and as you get closer the path will split. From here you will want to go to the left on the path that will take you towards going under the bridge.

Eaton Canyon Falls 8

As you pass under the bridge the path gets a lot more pretty as you will be following and crossing a stream on your way up to the falls.

Eaton Canyon Falls 18

I really enjoyed this part of the trail, however there were so many people on the trail and with so many creek crossings it was pretty slow going. I passed about 30 people coming or going during this part of the trail.

Eaton Canyon Falls 20

Along the trail there are smaller waterfalls, a couple small abandoned buildings from the canyons past and a lot of lush trees, it really is a nice walk.

Eaton Canyon Falls 19

As I rounded the last bend I heard the sound of people and a faint sound of water so I knew I must be close to Eaton Canyon Falls.

Eaton Canyon Falls

Eaton Canyon Falls 2

What greeted me was a nice 40 foot waterfall that fell beautifully to a small pool below. It was beautiful and I am sure when it is flowing better and not dry like 2013 was, then it can push a decent amount of water.

Eaton Canyon Falls 4

This would have been a nice place to relax before starting back on the trail but there was over 150 people here and it was so crowded trying to even get close enough to take a decent picture of the falls.

Eaton Canyon Falls 1

Now I am all for people getting out on the trail and I am glad there were a lot of people enjoying it but for me it was not very relaxing with all the noise and the trash so I didn’t stay too long. It was a good call as I passed way more people on the way back then I did on the way there so the waterfall was only going to continue to get more crowded.

Eaton Canyon Falls 5

I also did not find the trail to be dangerous at all but after researching that is only when trying to get to the second falls, which I didn’t see much of a way to do and can imagine that being pretty sketchy as others have said if you are taking it out of the canyon walls.

Eaton Canyon Falls 7

All in all I liked being able to experience a new hike and Eaton Canyon was beautiful. That being said I would probably recommend Bonita Falls, Fish Canyon Falls, or even Sturtevant Falls as they seem to have a lot less people on the trail. Let me know what you think of the trek to Eaton Canyon in the comments.

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  • that’s crazy! I don’t think I can hang with that many people on the trail. 🙂

    • Ya it was a cool waterfall but so many people

  • That’s way too busy for me. Almost defeats the point of being on a hike. But the scenery is nice so I can see why it attracts so many hikers.

    • Ya me too, but I agree I like being a little more remote when I am hiking.

  • Karen Eckland

    YOu have to go in the middle of the week in the morning-ish. I have done that a couple times and there is no one there…..

    a fellow adventurer,
    karen

    • Karen, thanks for the tip that is a good idea as I have only gone on the weekends.

  • Brittany Rouille

    Did this hike this evening, it was absolutely beautiful! Also, because it was a week night it wasn’t crowded at all, I can only imagine it on the weekends though! Also, there was a guy sitting amongst the rocks, with his guitar, tambourine and an amazing voice – he songs echoed on the rocks for most of our hike – epic 🙂 Thank you for the helpful trail tips!

    • That sounds like a really cool experience! I am glad you didn’t have to fight all the crowds!

  • Christine

    can kids age from 8-11 hike to this fall?

    • This hike is not to hard so I would imagine if you take your time and your kids are in decent shape it should be fine.