Gabrelino Trail to Switzer Falls and Bear Canyon Camp

MODERATE 32 reviews
#68 of 201 trails in

Gabrelino Trail to Switzer Falls and Bear Canyon Camp is a 8.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near La Canada Flintridge, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October.

DISTANCE
8.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,548 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

waterfall

wild flowers

This is a beautiful hike - it starts off paved and calm with a nice little stream running through it, but soon switches to an off the beaten path adventure. Nice stream crossings as you journey along the bottom to Bear Canyon campground. If you just want to see Switzer Falls, turn left at the bottom of the trail. Beautiful scenery, some rigorous crossings, and at times some irritating bugs. Bring water, lots of it, and a little snack to enjoy at the picnic benches that seem to appear out of nowhere at the campground. Remember you need an adventure pass to access this trail.

backpacking
12 days ago

switzer “falls” is looking pretty sad about now, but the hike towards bear canyon after switzer falls was pretty shady the whole time and it wasn’t too strenuous. the only tough part about this hike is the short exposed area before getting to switzer falls.

hiking
1 month ago

Really great hike with lots of interest along the trail - great views from the canyon rim, beautiful creek crossings, and several small waterfalls on the 8.5 mile trek. Lots of shade makes for a great trail on a warmer day. Bring lots of water (2-3 liters) - about 4 hours round-trip.

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail that is well shaded (except for the half mile before Switzer Falls). Recommended when it's hot (was >100* when I hiked this).

The trail to Switzer Falls is well trafficked with a few stream crossings. The water level is very low at the moment, but there is certainly enough to splash around in. There are a few step drop-offs and cliffs along this trail - keep an eye on kids!

Beyond Switzer Falls, the trail is far less maintained, but is still easy to follow. There are around 20 stream crossings between Switzer Falls and Bear Canyon Creek but all are easy - no need to get wet feet!

Bear Canyon Camp has a half dozen spots for a tent, about 3-4 stoves/fire pits and a few picnic tables. Great spot and well shaded. Given the low water level, I wouldn't rely on the water for drinking.

Overall, recommended trail, especially when it's hot given the stream and tree cover.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike!! Beautiful views from the ledge hiking to the second falls. The trail became very rugged past the falls on the Bear Canyon trail with downed tree obstacles from the floods to cross. Certainly a trail worth doing.

hiking
4 months ago

I went on 3/31/18 and there was a rock slide to traverse, about two dozen creek crossings (~half of them include downed trees/debris from recent flooding). It was a lot of fun, but a little bit more than you might have bargained for!

hiking
4 months ago

Great trail! As others have mentioned it is an upside down hike, gradual decline the entire time and of course up the way back. There was plenty of creek crossings through water and the waterfalls had plenty of water. If you traverse up towards the right of the first fall it can be a bit tricky but worth the travel towards the second fall. The majority of the hike is shaded and cool. Highly recommend!

Pros: Shaded (large majority), water crossings (spring time), waterfalls

Cons: Dirty restrooms

backpacking
5 months ago

Spent the night at bear canyon camp. Beautiful easy hike. If you plan on staying the night, check out the last campsite in the back. The spot where you pitch the tent is on a little drop off with an awesome view of a peak. Watched hawks flying around all day. Loved it.

hiking
5 months ago

We were not able to make it to the camp ground. There was a downed tree we managed to get around. Then not to far there was a landslide that completely wiped out the trail. We got over that with difficultly. However the water up ahead washed away the trail and we could not continue forward.

The best part of the trail was the view to the falls. If we did this hike again we would just hike to the falls and then head back.

hiking
2 months ago

3 months ago

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hiking
6 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

Saturday, November 05, 2016

hiking
Saturday, July 19, 2014

camping
Monday, June 30, 2014

hiking
Sunday, September 29, 2013

hiking
Saturday, July 27, 2013

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