Buckhart Trail to Cooper Canyon Falls

MODERATE 126 reviews
#22 of 213 trails in

Buckhart Trail to Cooper Canyon Falls is a 4.6 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.

4.6 miles
1,013 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly




nature trips





wild flowers


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.

1 month ago

This is a very enjoyable hike. The only downside is that the elevation climb is on the way back but quite doable. There are some wonderful fall colors going on right now and there is water flowing over the waterfall which is not that common in the San Gabriels this time of year. If you wish to reach the waterfall, make certain you take the Buckhart Trail split (go to the right) when you reach the PCT. The falls are not much further down the trail.

3 months ago

spectacular views, honestly one of the best moderate trails I've visited.

3 months ago

on our hike down to the waterfall you have to pay attention because you'll miss the cutoff to go down to the waterfall the only sign is a little orange ribbon and a little stack of rocks and we went a mile and a half past it and just happened to see it on the way back overall it's a nice hike plenty of shade and we will definitely come back in the fall when there's more water and we saw a giant gray fox

4 months ago

Really good hike, scenery and foliage was nicer than I expected. Falls were more of a trickle at this time of year, but still lovely. Downhill on the way in, back up to get out. Dogs loved it-- If your dog is not agile they will not be able to get down to the waterfall. We started at 0630 and were back to the car at 0830, didn't see any other people until we were almost back to the car.

great place to hike..

5 months ago

First of all, make sure you purchase a parking permit before heading out. They do reinforce it and several cars were ticketed. I think the fine was 5 dollars, which is the price for a day pass. I think you have to purchase them from Big5. We ended up paying 12 dollars that it cost to park at a campsite and parked in an empty camping lot.

Got lost at the fork where you choose Buckhart Trail or Cooper Canyon. We chose Buckhart Trail and ended up at Rattlesnake Trail(unbeknownst to ya). Did see a snake at the creek. We were going to give up as we didn’t see a waterfall but heard people talking and dogs barking. We found the unmarked trail to the waterfall. There’s an orange string on a tree branch. Old ropes to go down somewhat help.

I workout twice a week and found this hike to be tough. Like others said, easy going down, TOUGH COMING BACK UP. We started at 0930 and got done at 1330. Me, my boyfriend, and a teenager. My boyfriend was okay but the teenager and I found it tough. Took many breaks and glad for the shade. Overall, pretty hike and glad I did it.

6 months ago

Easy trail going towards the falls as it's all downhill. The waterfall looks amazing, photos don't do it justice. Be prepared for the way back up the trail as it's all uphill.

6 months ago

Great hike the falls are worth the trip.

6 months ago

I love this hike! it was packed today, because of Memorial Day weekend. We arrived at noon, Buckhorn Campground was open so we could drive in and park at the day use trail parking. we got lucky because the lot was full and people were looping around and coming right back out, when I started to do the same, someone happened to be leaving, we were lucky. This trail is one of the prettiest around, it is all downhill to the falls, so bring lots of water, because its a treck back up for sure. Lots of wild flowers, pines, shade (always a plus), and the creek and waterfalls were flowing. The only part I didnt particularly care for was how many people were at the falls. what did I expect though on a holiday weekend. Next time I'm going to try this one on a weekday.

6 months ago

Really cool hike. over shot the water fall by like a mile or two tho...

7 months ago

Parked just passed Burkhart campground. Enter the campground and follow the signs through the campground there is a parking lot. With three kids and dog, was a pretty easy trail going down a little harder coming back up. The water is flowing and so beautiful. You definetly need good shoes getting down to the waterfall, climb down with the rope can get slippery. We camped just before the waterfall in a flat area across from the trail.

9 months ago

Trail was great and in good shape. All downhill to cooper falls. Took trail past falls up to pallett mountain which becomes very strenuous so if your not a frequent hiker I would not attempt because you might get stuck out here after dark. We were going to take pct from Angeles crest to Bukhart but that section is closed for frog population rehabilitation. Falls were frozen and beautiful, be careful of the ice down to the falls.

9 months ago

Beautiful... and it smelled so good! Loved it.

9 months ago

Went with my friend, pretty hard if you are not in decent shape like me haha. Easy going in, hard coming back. Beautiful views. Got to see the waterfall and have a drink of cold water.

10 months ago

10 months ago

Very nice trail that crosses a bit of the PCT. Nice talks trees and the waterfall was empty when we got there. The climb up and down the ladder could be difficult for some but we made it without a problem. Watch out for rattle snakes we saw a baby one about a mile from the trail head. Overall very beautiful!

11 months ago

Didn’t complete, too icy and dangerous. Will go back.

11 months ago

very nice trail a little dry not much water flowing but I enjoyed the trailhead

11 months ago

Excellent hike for dogs. No need to use the flimsy rope… If you go about 30 to 40 feet further you can hike right down to the base of the falls. It really is stunning with all of the moss. There are still scattered patches of ice throughout the hike. It looked as though if the road were open you could drive in a lot further and park at the campsites but all of those are closed.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Awesome trail for October/November

Sunday, October 29, 2017

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.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

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

Sunday, October 01, 2017

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!!!

Monday, September 18, 2017

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

Sunday, August 13, 2017

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

Sunday, July 30, 2017

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.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

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.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

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. ****

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

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.

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