Switzer Falls via Gabrielino Trail

EASY 333 reviews
#5 of 143 trails in

Switzer Falls via Gabrielino Trail is a 3.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Mount Wilson, California that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
3.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
675 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

rocky

This is a relatively easy hike into one of the loveliest sections of the San Gabriel mountains. The hike meanders back and across the stream running down the spectacular Arroyo Seco Canyon. The stream is lined with oaks and alder, with the water cascading over granite into mirror-like pools. The hike travels high above the 50 foot high Switzer falls, then drops back to the stream, where hikers can double back to stand at the base of the falls. After seeing the falls, travel down stream to the intersection with Bear Canyon, and travel up this spectacularly wild, steep walled canyon for another half mile or so to enjoy its wonders. More adventuresome hikes can continue up Bear Canyon for 2 miles to Bear Camp.

hiking
8 hours ago

hiking
7 days ago

backpacking
14 days ago

Overnight backpacking trip to Bear Canyon Campground with the Boy Scouts. The 1st part of the hike to Sweitzer Falls was great. Well maintained trail with good amount of shade.
Once we turned off towards Bear Canyon is was a different story. The trail had numerous logs and boulders from last winters storms. Also lots of Poison Oak and a stinging nettle growing right up on the trail. Wear long pants. At least 20 stream crossings. It was very tough with a pack on our backs. The trail jumps around a lot causing us to backtrack a few times. The only consolation was the shade.
The camp site was alright with 3 picnic tables and several fire rings. The stream was still running so we were able to filter water. No bear boxes so you need to bring rope to hang your smellables. Over all it was 10 miles out and back.

14 days ago

hiking
16 days ago

Nice family friendly hike. It is a bit of a challenge though so my recommended age for kids would be 6/7+ unless you're backpacking the toddler :) At the end of the trail you hit a nice toddler friendly pool. My son is 1.5 years old and he was able to stand with a comfortable amount of space to breathe. I'm 5'3 and it was a little lower than my hips. Shaded/mountainous/comfortable.

Definitely recommend this place to anyone who likes the great outdoors.

hiking
22 days ago

hiking
29 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

1 month ago

Easy access from park entrance. Lovely easy hike and a small step hill in parts. And a stream when it rains.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

I enjoyed the beginning of this trail. But due to the incline my knee began to hurt and kind of killed the rest of the hike. the waterfall was not impressive. although I did take a dip in one of the ponds. it's shaded for most of the hike.

1 month ago

1 month ago

Beautiful creek, great views at highest end, viewpoint down to the waterfall. Small waterholes above the waterfall are accessible. Lots of trees make it great for mid day hikes.

1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

This trail was wonderful. The first portion is easy going and well-maintained straight off the picnic area. (DON'T FORGET YOU NEED AN ADVENTURE PASS TO PARK)

There's a point where the trail splits, left to the top of Switzer Falls and right to go up along the top of the canyon, we decided to save left fork for later and I was glad we did (gave something to look forward to on the way back). So up you go and along the trail with some pretty awesome views of the canyon. The trail then swings you back down into the canyon where there's a sign pointing to the falls (going left) on a trail that's "unmaintained." (NOTE: The map you download ends here and doesn't seem to account for the trip upstream to see the falls from the canyon floor, so if you plan to go on to see the falls, it's more than 3 miles for the trip. In total, our hike measured 5 miles)

The first part of that unmaintained trail is just as easy going as the start. It brings you to a double waterfall (not actually THE Switzer Falls though). We ended up stopping there for a snack after scrambling over some rock and some helpful tree roots to the right of the lower falls. Settling down next to the upper falls was perfect. If you're capable of getting up there, definitely do it. I'm no rock climber, and I have a pretty sizeable fear of falling, but it wasn't too much for me.

The next part was definitely "unmaintained" but added some fun adventuring to the outing as we continued past the upper fall. You can't get lost, just keep following the stream until you can't any longer, reaching the main waterfall.

Then it's out the way you came, back to the maintained trail and back up the canyon. On our way out, we doubled back to see the top of the falls, which required some more maneuvering over rock, but it was cool to get within sight of the crest of the falls and even wave to some hikers who had just arrived at the base.

hiking
1 month ago