Buckhart Trail to Cooper Canyon Falls

MODERATE 80 reviews
#19 of 146 trails in

Buckhart Trail to Cooper Canyon Falls is a 4.7 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Mt Wilson, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
4.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
974 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

Directions from La Canada, CA: Drive 34 miles up Angeles Crest Highway from Interstate 210. Turn left into Buckhorn Campground and continue to the Burkhart Trail parking lot on the far side.

hiking
1 month ago

Awesome trail for October/November

1 month ago

Fun hike. Rope climb down to the falls was tricky but not terrible. Probably even better after a good rain. Definitely will be going again with my kids.

hiking
2 months ago

Very scenic views of the mountain range, would recommend to all ages!

hiking
2 months ago

Very beautiful views. I wish I came a month earlier because the falls are more like "the trickles" haha. Anyways, forget the cooper canyon part! My boyfriend and I turned right at the junction, where the arrow designated the location of cooper canyon, and ended up hiking three miles to a campsite! Once you arrive to where the junction is by the river, my advice is to continue straight. In 300 feet, there will be a sharp turn off to your left with some large rocks and a log. Continue down that path and you will arrive at "the falls". It's very pretty!!!

hiking
2 months ago

Did part of the trail ,, it was really nice ,, descended down to the stream and it was pretty took some pics ,, will be heading back soon

4 months ago

Great hike. The rope assisted steps down to the base of the waterfall was the only part that challenged my 3 year old.

hiking
4 months ago

This is a very pretty, very green trail that starts at Buckhorn Campground and leads you into the Pleasant View Ridge Wilderness via Burkhart trail down to Cooper Canyon Falls. This is an upside down trail, so if you do it as an out and back you'll gain your elevation on the way back going all uphill. The falls were just a trickle, but it was a beautiful hike and fun to explore the creek at the bottom of the canyon.

We started our hike around 07:25 AM from Buckhorn Campground on the Burkhart Trail leading into Pleasant View Ridge Wilderness, 26,752 acres of protected land. You do not need a permit to enter this wilderness. The moment you step onto the trail, you are engrossed in a forest of lush green. Oak, Douglas Fir, Jeffrey Pine and Incense Cedar offer a canopy of shade along almost the entire journey. As you walk, you can see and hear Little Rock Creek far below. It’s very peaceful with only the sounds of flowing water and morning songbirds. Aside from the campground which was very full, the trail itself was quiet and we had it mostly to ourselves the entire hike. The trail makes a steady descent downward into the canyon. It’s an easy grade and not too steep, although as you get closer to the falls, it can get a little rocky with some loose gravel. It's nothing too difficult, just watch your step. Along the way we crossed over two creek beds which were nice for photography. We took our time to explore the area and did a little boulder hopping along the creek.

It seemed we’d traveled a bit further then we should have to get to the falls, and we still hadn’t seen them. I got out my map to take a look to see where we were. As suspected, we had actually passed the area where they were supposed to be. At this point we headed back the way we came, and I found the use trail which is a short, but steep scramble to get to the bottom of the canyon where the falls would normally be had it not been summer. At this time of year, however, they were just a trickle of running water on mossy rock which is why they were so easily missed.

Although there wasn’t a rushing waterfall to see, we were not at all disappointed. This hike was beautiful. Satisfied that we’d reached our destination, we now continued our ascent all uphill now back to the trailhead at Buckhorn Campground. We took our time to enjoy the scenery and peaceful splendor of the wilderness.

hiking
5 months ago

My husband and I did this hike and very much enjoyed it! I had read briefly about Cooper Canyon falls, so our goal was to see that. I didnt read directions thoroughly beforehand though and we ended up missing the falls all together. Where the trail head splits there is a sign to go left for cooper canyon campground- THIS IS THE WRONG WAY TO THE FALLS!! stay right and follow burkhart trail.Unfortunately we walked probably close to a mile in the wrong direction before wandering upon another group that did the same thing. On the way back we still missed directions and just ended up hiking back up. we learned from another couple later what the correct directions were. We did however on our way back stop where there is a sort wooden support built onto the side of the trail, you will see another trail going very steep down. If you take that down you will end up on a little spring! some are saying this is the top of the falls?? so although we did not get the cooper canyon falls, we did get some water! it was a beautiful view and would do it again to get to cooper canyon.

hiking
5 months ago

The drive from North Hollywood took about an hour on a Monday morning. Once you enter the Buckhorn Campground, continue driving until you see signs for trailhead parking.

Pros: One of the best woodsy trails in the LA area. The decent is easy and has beautiful tree cover. Round trip the distance is under 3 miles. The hike out had our hearts pumping !! Good steady burn.

Cons: Lots of annoying nats and flying insects throughout the hike unfortunately. Really stinky pit toilets at the trailhead.

*****When you come to the first split stay to the right on the Burkhart Trail to the falls (The 'Cooper Canyon Trail' marker is deceiving). Keep in mind the short trail down to the falls is NOT MARKED. Once you pass the stream crossing -- shortly ahead on the left is the trail to the rope. We accidentally passed it and walked a mile in the wrong direction. If you come to a second stream crossing and the trail marker for the PCT is visible, you've gone too far. ****

6 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

The parking area for this trail is at the end of the Buckhorn campground at: 34 20 51.06, -117 54 39.85. you can easily pass up the entrance when on Hwy 2. The hike is not difficult at all. However, with kids, be sure to help them down from the trail to the falls area as it is very steep. There are ropes to help, but they are better used to get out. The falls when we went weren't really running as they were trickling. But it was beautiful and serene.

hiking
8 months ago

Great hike and magnificent waterfall! A bit strenuous. Half way into the hike paths become very narrow and climbing down to the falls is a bit dangerous. I wouldn't recommend bringing little ones. The drive was a pain.

backpacking
8 months ago

This place was cool. We hiked in at night and saw many small scorpions on the trail. We trail camped and my husband thinks he heard a bear checking out our camp but he was too scared to look! Glad we used our bear bag appropriately!
The falls are a little tough to find and you have to scale down with use of a rope ladder but it was totally worth it. Took our dog too. That was great!

hiking
8 months ago

This was a fun hike. The trail is easy to find, as it's labeled. You just need to go to the campground area. I went on 4/1/17 and there were a few patches of snow/ice on the ground, but not on the trail itself. The views are amazing! Know that you will be initially going down the mountain, which is easy. The hard part is to head out, since you're going up the mountain. There are areas where you step that are narrow. The waterfall is beautiful and to go to it, it's somewhat tricky. There's a rope to help you go down all the way to it. The hike was worth it!

hiking
8 months ago

With all the rain we had this year, I must say that the scenery here was my favorite so far from the rest of the trails I've done. Creeks are flowing and the trees are green. Loved it!

hiking
8 months ago

This is officially my favorite hike of the season so far!

The hike from the actual trailhead is only about 3.1 miles round trip. However, the road to Buckhorn Campgrounds and the campground itself are currently closed, so you have to tack on about a 2 extra miles (one in and one out) to park (park at the exit road, there's actual spaces for a few cars unlike the entrance road) and then walk to the trailhead. An adventure pass is required to park at the trailhead, so probably best to display a pass even parking outside to be on the safe side.

Check out the campgrounds map to make sure you don't miss the small off-road to the trailhead when walking through.

Burkhart Trail offers some stunning views, interesting rock formations, sounds and views of creeks, and impressively large redwood and oak trees. There was a massive fire here years ago, so it's interesting to see the contrast between the damaged parts of the forest and all the new growth or survivors making it through. Many of the hollow bases of the redwood trees are clearly charred, baked from the inside from the wildfire.

The first half of the hike is mostly a gradual descent, so remember you will need to ascend when hiking back out. The incline out isn't bad, but the air is thin due to the altitude, so give yourself time to take it slow on the way out.

When hiking to the falls, don't go all the way to the end of the trail that is outlined in red in the AllTrails app map displayed on this page. That will actually take you about a quarter mile past the falls.

When you come across the very audible waterfall on your left and can look over the ledge of the trail to see a drop off, yes, those are the falls you are seeking. Walk a little further past the top of the falls to find the trail down. Just past a trail retaining wall, there appears to be a rough use descent trail. You can try descending here, but there's an easier path just a little further up and to the left. There's actually a tree a little down the path that's fallen across the trail, but is easily circumvented. Halfway down, there is a rope attached to a tree to guide you down and back up the last steep part to the canyon floor and base of the falls. When descending, just get on your butt at this point and slide down.

I brought my medium sized dog with me (53 lbs shepherd) and he got up and down just fine from here.

The falls are roaring right now with the fresh snow melt. There's a couple very conveniently placed large boulders for sunbathing and enjoying lunch with a view too.

hiking
9 months ago

Did this in the snow, in just hiking boots. Snow was hard, so fairly easy to walk on. Bit tricky on the steeper sections.
Fortunately the last snow was more than a week previously, so others had hiked the trail, and their tracks were easy to follow, otherwise it would have been difficult to know where to go.

hiking
11 months ago

I did this back in August of 2016, forgot to write a review. I saved this one for middle of summer knowing it would be one place i could hike and stay cool. Perfect weather, a tad warm but still 20 degrees cooler then the cities, I went another 5 miles and back from where this map shows to Thrall peak. AND that 5 miles was fantastic, hard but worth every step, Lots of Deer, a fox, and many other critters, no humans, and amazing scenery.

hiking
11 months ago

I did that trail coming back from Cooper Canyon loop.

hiking
11 months ago

Great trail with amazing scenery. Difficult to hike through during the snowy season. Might not be kid friendly if you are trying to reach the waterfall as it's a 2 mile hike that takes about an hour and a half to complete each way. Waterfall is somewhat small but beautiful. I would recommend taking lots of water and snacks and to rest along the way. The waterfall is down a valley that you have to be very careful to climb down to. There's a rope tied to a tree that helps you get down to the base of the waterfall but I would be careful going down with kids and pets. Overall great trail but can be difficult for some people during the snow time. Great place to enjoy the snow.

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