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Switzer Falls. Fun in the front ranges of the San Gabriels.

Monday, May 8th, 2006 by

In a reverse twist this year, this February hike ended up being one of the most idyllic of the last several months.

Some of us decided to relax more than others, but who can blame them?

On February 4, I went with 6 friends down to Switzer Falls , starting from Switzer Picnic Area, and then continuing a little further down Bear Canyon. We were trying to make it to Bear Canyon Trail Camp, but the trail is pretty washed out, and while you can rock hop and clamber up canyon, we decided it was time to turn around.

Anyway, after some waiting, everyone made it to the trailhead, enjoyed the little creek, looked at the picnic grounds, and then we set on out.
The first mile or so of the trail, down the Switzer Trail Camp, is easy graded, a little bit on old concrete (as you can see on the left of the above image, as there used to be a road further into the canyon. It goes along a bit of a stream, crossing over it a few times. This part of the hike is highly populated, as there are a lot of people picnicking who want a bit of a walk.

After that mile, you get to where the Switzer Resort used to be, and you do a final stream crossing for a bit. Then you cut over and start going up the side of the hillside, which is much hotter, but has some better views that the more-sylvan-but-less-distant views of the trail to date. And then higher up on this point of the trail, you hit a trail junction.


At this point you cut down, fairly steeply down, towards the falls, as someone saw fit to mark it.
You go down, then, and after a bit, you reach the stream again. We sat a bit, and enjoyed the shade, and discussed whether we should go see the falls, or just try and walk up further into Bear Canyon. We made the decision to cut over to the falls, which was totally the best idea. To get there, as might seem obvious, you just walk up the stream, and you get there in about a quarter of a mile.

There were some pretty cool artifacts lying about near the stream, as Glenn wanted to point out.
And then we made it to the falls themselves, which were maybe a 15 or 20 foot drop. It’s this beautiful little pool right at the base, just a perfect resting spot. We sat and had lunch and generally relaxed for a bit.

the motley group!

We then continued further down the canyon, mostly following the stream. There were some pretty cool watering holes here too, although we didn’t stop to play in any of them.
I like the palms just chilling around the edges
We took a left, following the trail, into Bear Canyon, which was cool and shady and overall very nice, except that the trail degenerated the further down it you went. Soon we were scrambling over brush, around rocks, over rocks, through little dirt slides, and just generally not really having much of a “trail” to follow any more. It was great fun, but at some point some of the party were getting tired.

Gorgeous day.

Somewhere in the range of 5-6 mi RT, maybe 600-800′ of elevation gain and loss total.

One Response to “Switzer Falls. Fun in the front ranges of the San Gabriels.”

  1. Nice. I’m looking forward to doing some hiking when I’m out there.

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