It's like Stairway to Heaven for people who love travel, art, nature, music, and getting outside for sweet adventures. Not much is better than an epic roadtrip and we've got just the ticket to get you ready.
Top 5 Hits for Family Adventures
- Hike the trail to Switzer falls
- Take time to explore along riverbed
- Collect large acorn caps
- Climb and walk on fallen tees
- Snack or picnic on the rocks at the falls
- Season: Spring and Fall,
- Difficulty: Moderate, 4 mile round trip
- Time Needed: 4-5 hours
- Cost: $5 Adventure Pass or National Park Pass on dashboard.
- Purchase a parking pass before you drive to the trail. Park in the lower picnic area parking lots if possible.
- You can also park at the top parking lot next to the main road, but it will add .5 mile and 600 feet of elevation to your hike.
- Hike in the morning. Avoid the heat of the day.
- There are some small switchbacks on the right of the trail that will lead you to the ridge section of the trail. If you walk on the trail that passes the switchbacks it will shortly end at the top of a small waterfall.
- The last part of the hike goes along a high ridge with little shade. Bring lots of water and be careful with small children.
- Even if you decide not to finish the hike because of the high ridge, it is still worth the hike, the whole hike is beautiful! Especially the first part along the river before the ridge.
- Restrooms are located at the trailhead picnic area.
Waterfalls are amazing! From those that roar and tumble-down rocks to the quieter, forested trickles, it is always a special experience. Located within the San Gabriel Mountains is the 50-foot Switzer Falls, flowing through a woodland canyon. Perhaps the most interesting part about adventuring to this waterfall is that your journey will be upside down! From the beginning of the trailhead at the Switzer Picnic Area, the trail takes you downward for 650-feet, reaching the stream just below Switzer Falls.
Much of this hike will be traveling through a riparian zone – which is land surrounding a waterbody that is heavily influenced by the amount of water and moisture in this environment. Trees with roots that can withstand flooding and plants that prefer wet soils makeup the majority of this habitat. You may see abundant willows, alders, and cottonwoods. These productive riparian areas help mitigate impacts from flooding, provide food and cover for wildlife, and maintain water quality by acting as a filter and buffer against pollution.
There are so many interesting things to explore here! Be sure not to walk too fast as you pass along the riverbed, searching for small treasures and taking time to investigate fallen logs, boulders, different plants, and animals. On the Bear Canyon Trail, take time to be amazed at the surrounding mountain peaks and views into the canyon! Once at the falls, it’s a great place to relax in nature while having a snack to refuel for your journey home.