Photography By: pelcinary / Flickr
Photography By: pelcinary / Flickr

10 LA Waterfalls That Are Worth Chasing

These Waterfalls Totally Warrant a TLC Caption

Written By: Jodilyn Ottobre and Sorina Szakacs LA waterfall hikes

Living in a city like Los Angeles can be both a blessing and a burden. But with the beach nearby and the surrounding mountains, we have the luxury to enjoy nature and disconnect whenever we feel it is necessary. And if the outdoors is your “thing,” Angelenos are lucky enough to be able to escape from the hustle and bustle. To give you a starting point if you are new to hiking, or to remind you of some of the places you haven’t seen in a while, we compiled a list of the most popular, family-friendly and beautiful waterfall hiking trails that surround the City of Angels. 

Read on and take advantage of the beautiful nature around your city to recharge your batteries! 

Santa Ynes Falls LA waterfall hikes

This short 2.5 mile and fairly level hike—only 250 feet of elevation gain—is the perfect outing for family adventures. Start your hike from Topanga State Park in Pacific Palisades, pass through a dense forest and when you get to the first junction, take the trail on the right. It will take you to the beautiful Santa Ynes Waterfall.

Location: Pacific Palisades, CA
Distance: 2.5 miles
Level of difficulty: Easy


Paradise Falls LA waterfall hikes

Located in Wildwood Regional Park, the falls will surely become one of your favorite hiking destinations in Los Angeles. It is easily accessible, pet-friendly, bike friendly and it could be one of the best hikes for your kids.

Location: Thousand Oaks, CA
Distance: Approx. 2.5 mile loop
Level of difficulty: Easy

Escondido Falls LA waterfall hikes

Malibu is not only about surf and good seafood. One of the best places to get away from the city is Escondido Falls. This trail is both for beginners and experienced hikers. You can either hike to the first waterfall with a 50-foot drop, or you can build up some courage and take the more adventurous trail to the 150-foot falls. Either way, the views are worth the effort.

Location: Malibu, CA
Distance: 3.8 miles roundtrip
Level of difficulty: Moderate

Switzer Falls waterfall hikes

Situated a couple of miles away from the Switzer Picnic Area, the falls are a great place to bring your friends and even your four-legged friends! With its rocky terrain and stream crossings, it is more suitable for more experienced hikers. Like all other waterfall hikes, it will give you time to go off the grid for a while and decompress.

Location: Tujunga, CA
Distance: 4.5 miles roundtrip
Level of difficulty: Moderate


Monrovia Falls waterfall hikes

Just a short distance away from the Monrovia Falls Nature Center, you can step into a totally different world. The Monrovia Falls will fill you up with serenity, calm and joy. Being able to escape the city, surround yourself with the peace and beauty of nature is something that Angelenos should cherish and indulge in more often.

Location: Monrovia, CA
Distance: 1.6 miles roundtrip
Level of difficulty: Moderate


Hermit Falls


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This popular swimming hole is one of the top destinations for cliff jumpers. The trail is less than three miles roundtrip through a lush canyon. If you are lucky to take this trail after some rainy days, you might notice the natural water slide.

Native Knowledge: Keep in mind that for this particular hike you will need a National Forest Adventure Pass if you plan to park at the Chantry Flats Trailhead.

Location: Arcadia, CA
Distance: 2.6 miles
Level of difficulty: Moderate


Solstice Canyon

If you are into ruins, history and you love nature, this is the perfect hike for you. And because it is an easy hike, you can bring along your family and your dog. One of the most popular hikes in Malibu, it can get really crowded during weekends, but that should not be an impediment to your adventure plans.

Location: Malibu
Distance: 2.6 miles roundtrip
Level of difficulty: Easy


Sturtevant Falls

A well-known trail for locals who hike on a regular basis, the Sturtevant trail can be mesmerizing after a couple of rainy days. There are a few 100-year-old rustic cabins along the trail, so this is definitely a must do hike if you live in Los Angeles.

Native Knowledge: Don’t forget your Adventure Pass and get out there as early as you can to make sure you find a parking spot.

Location: Arcadia, CA
Distance: 3.25 miles
Difficulty: Easy

Millard Falls

Maybe the best thing about this trail, besides the 50-foot waterfall is the Dawn Mine that marks the end of the trail. The trail is easy to spot, and once you get to the falls, make sure you have sturdy shoes as the rocks can get slippery!

Location: Altadena, CA
Distance: 1 mile round trip
Difficulty: Easy


Cooper Canyon Falls

A little further away from the city, Cooper Canyon Falls is nestled in the San Gabriel mountains. The hike is relatively easy and the landscape transcends you into a new world.

Location: Pearblossom, CA
Distance: 3 miles
Difficulty: Moderate

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Jodi is a UC Berkeley English graduate who is currently pursuing her Masters in Library and Information Science. When she’s not writing she’s gardening, conjuring up remedies with medicinal herbs, vagabonding, or sitting on her roof and musing at the stars. Let her bring out the inner Naturalista in you at


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