Los Angeles is one of the largest cities in the United States. It's a place of diversity, life, and art created by many. This city is near several fantastic waterfalls too.
This may not be the first thing you think of when you think of the city, but if you venture into nature you will be surprised at the beautiful waterfalls you can come across.
The Santa Monica Mountains, Angeles National Forest, and San Gabriel Mountains are all just some of the fantastic natural places you can get out and see waterfalls during your next visit to Los Angeles.
The time required to visit waterfalls in the Los Angeles area varies in time, terrain, and accessibility. This is a list of the 15 best waterfalls to visit in the Los Angeles area. There is something for everyone, no matter what their timeframe or physical abilities may be in terms of waterfalls in LA.
1. Santa Ynez Falls
Credit: World of Waterfalls
Santa Ynez Falls is in the Santa Monica Mountains on a 2.5 mile out and back trail. The closest town to this waterfall, near Las Angeles is Pacific Palisades. The hike to Santa Ynez falls is shaded.
It follows a lovely creek into the gorge where the waterfall is. This trail is lined with oak trees, sycamores, and bay trees. It is fairly level and easy to traverse, even with children in tow. It is free to park at the trailhead to access the falls.
The trail is also the site of remains of an old cabin. In the spring lupine and nightshade coat the forest ground here. Maidenhair ferns are also plentiful through the forest surrounding Santa Ynez Falls.
The waterfall is best during the rainy season. It sits in a lovely grotto. You can climb above the falls once you reach it by heading past the falls and up the trail, using a rope to maintain stability.
Once you are past this you have to cross some logs and rock hop the rest of the way to the top. This view of the waterfall is not the easiest to reach.
Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed on the trail to Santa Ynez waterfall. If you are traveling without a furry friend this is a beautiful trail and waterfall to explore.
2. Trail Canyon Falls
Trail Canyon Falls is near outside of Los Angeles near Tujunga, California. It is on the west side of the San Gabriel Mountains.
It’s accessed on a four-mile out and back trail called Trail Canyon Trail. The trail is dirt road initially, and then becomes single track, which leads up a canyon following Golden Creek.
Trail Canyon Falls is 30 feet tall. Alders and sycamores surround this lovely waterfall, that drops over granite. There are a few stream crossings along the trail to the waterfall.
Once you reach Trail Canyon Falls you can go past it to Tom Lucas Trail Camp. This is a lovely place to have a snack or picnic, before turning around to go back to your car.
Trail Canyon Falls is a lovely waterfall. It’s a great place to go if you are in Los Angeles and want to take a hike and get out of the city and into nature.
Related Read: 15 BEST Water Parks in Los Angeles
3. Temescal Canyon Falls
Temescal Canyon Falls is located outside of Los Angeles near Pacific Palisades. This is in the lovely Santa Monica Mountains.
This waterfall is in Temescal Gateway State Park, close to the Santa Monica Pier. It’s easily accessed from Sunset Boulevard. The hike to the waterfall is part of a 3.8-mile loop trail.
This hike is fairly short and there are other longer nature hikes in the area, for those that want to spend more time exploring this area, beyond the waterfall.
Temescal Canyon Falls runs seasonally. It is best during and just after the rainy season. It can run dry other times of the year.
The hike to this waterfall can be slick after it rains. Be careful and wear appropriate footwear to avoid slipping and falling on the trail.
Temescal Canyon Falls can be busy at times, due to its proximity to the Santa Monica Pier and ease of access. This is especially true on weekends.
There is a fee to park and access the waterfall. The gorgeous hike to the lower and upper falls is well worth paying for. In addition, the hike to the falls offers both ocean and canyon views that are very spectacular.
4. Switzer Falls
Switzer Falls is located near Tujunga in the San Gabriel Mountains. The hike to the waterfall is popular. The trail is open year-round and is a 3.6 mile out and back trail. It takes most people about two hours to hike to and from this lovely waterfall.
An Adventure pass is required to access trail to Switzer Falls. This pass is available as a day, multi-day, and annual pass. This pass allows access to other areas of the Angeles National Forest, beyond the trailhead for Switzer Falls.
The hike to the falls is not the easiest. To reach the fifty-foot waterfall, one must hike along and across sections of an oak and alder lined stream. This stream is in the Arroyo Seco Canyon.
Once you reach the waterfall you can view it from above. The trail then doubles back to the base of the falls. There are options to go past the falls to Bear Camp up Bear Canyon.
This is a great extension to your hike if you want to spend more time out in nature, during your visit to the big city.
5. Eaton Canyon Falls
Eaton Canyon Falls is located in the San Gabriel Mountains. This is a forty-foot waterfall that sits in an amphitheater rock formation at the top of Eaton Canyon Trail.
The hike to Eaton Canyon Falls is 3.5 miles total, on an out and back trail. It takes about two hours to complete the hike to the falls and back.
The hike to Eaton Canyon Falls starts out on a wide dirt trail. This portion is about a mile long. After this the trail turns to single track and heads up the narrow canyon to the falls.
Once you reach the waterfall you will find a lovely wide pool at its base. This is a great place to wade in the water, on a hot day.
Eaton Canyon Falls in near several other hiking and camping opportunities, for those looking to get out in nature near L.A. It’s free to hike this trail. Dogs are also allowed on the trail, making it a great place to visit with furry friends.
Related Read: 10 Best Hiking Trails in Santa Monica, CA
6. Paradise Falls
Paradise Falls is located near Thousand Oaks, CA. It is accessible year-round. The trail to the falls is a loop trail that is 2.8 miles long. This trail is popular for hiking, walking, and trail running. Dogs are allowed on the trail on a leash.
Paradise Falls is found at the end of North Fork Arroyo Conejo. It’s easy to add on to the hike to the falls and visit other beautiful natural sites in the area. These include Indian Creek, Indian Cave, and Lizard Rock.
Paradise Falls has several awesome places to stop and have a bite. The hike to the falls is shaded and easy. It’s also free to park at Wildwood Regional Park Trailhead, to access the loop to the trail. This is off of West Avenida de los Arboles.
In the summer it can be hot to hike this trail. Go early to beat the heat. The bugs can be populous in this area too. Other critters you may see on your hike include snakes, ducks, quail, and rabbits.
The hike to Paradise falls is kid friendly. The trails are well-maintained, too. This makes the waterfall an awesome place to visit next time you are travelling to Los Angeles and want to explore nature with your family in tow.
7. Escondido Falls
Credit: Joseph Chan / Flickr
Escondido Falls is a fantastic waterfall found on Escondido Falls Trail near Malibu. This waterfall is easy to reach on a 3.7 mile out and back hike. The trail is popular for birding, hiking, and mountain biking.
Escondido Falls is a massive waterfall made up of two tiers. The first tier is easy to reach and the lower tier. It is about fifty feet tall. The upper tier is a more difficult to access but reaches heights of 150-feet.
The hike to Escondido Falls is accessed from a parking lot off of the Pacific Coast Highway. There is a fee to park at the trailhead.
The first part of the trail to Escondido Falls is paved and goes past many luxurious Malibu homes. Following this section, the trail becomes more natural. There is fennel and mustard along the trail and creek crossings.
If you intend to visit the upper falls, be sure you have on proper footwear. You can climb up behind the upper falls. This can be a wet journey.
Escondido Falls is a great place hike to in Los Angeles, whether you decide just to check out the lower falls or if you take on the upper falls too!
8. Millard Falls
Millard Falls is near Altadena, CA. It’s close to Millard Campground, in the San Gabriel Mountains. The walk to the falls is about a mile total, out and back, making it easy for the whole family. Furry friends are also allowed on the trail.
Millard Falls is about 50-feet tall. What makes this waterfall unique is the large boulder that is lodged at the top of it.
An Adventure Pass is required to park to hike to the falls. This pass is affordable, and available as a day pass, multi-day pass, or annual pass. There are several other hiking opportunities nearby, along with access to Dawn Mine.
Millard Falls and the surrounding area is a popular place to explore. It’s very unlikely you will have the falls to yourself when you visit.
Related Read: 10 Best Malibu Hiking Trails
9. Meyberg Falls
Meyberg Falls is a waterfall near Los Angeles located closest to the community of Arcadia. The waterfall is located in the Los Angeles County Arboretum.
There are several geographic themed gardens here and a wildlife sanctuary on the grounds, in addition to Meyberg Falls. If you are visiting LA, this is a great place to see birds with over 250 bird species in the wildlife sanctuary.
The waterfall sits on the edge of the Meadowbrook Garden and Tallac Knoll. You can view the San Gabriel Mountains from it. It’s also a wonderful location to learn about plants from all over the world.
There is a fee to enter the arboretum. It’s worth spending though, as you will be filled with information and beautiful sights beyond Meyberg Falls.
10. Cooper Canyon Falls
Credit: Jon Bradley / Flickr
Cooper Canyon Falls is a 30-foot waterfall that’s located in the San Gabriel mountains. A National Forest Adventure pass is required to access the waterfall and surrounding area.
The hike to Cooper Canyon Falls is 3-miles round trip. Dogs are allowed on this out and back hike. The hike to the falls is easier than the hike back to your car. The trail descends 745 feet into the mountain canyon where it’s located.
The hike goes through an old growth forest pines, alders, and oaks. The easiest pathway to the falls is from the main trail out of Buckhorn Campground.
There is rope tied to a tree on the way to the falls. This helps hikers reach the bottom of it. There is quaint pool at the bottom of the waterfall that is pleasant to wade in. This pool is often home to trout.
Cooper Canyon Falls is easiest to access in the spring and summer. This trail off of the Angeles Crest Highway can easily become filled with snow in the winter months.
11. Wolfskill Falls
Credit: Michael Kauffmann
Wolfskill Falls is a beautiful waterfall located in the San Dimas Experimental Forest. If you want to visit this waterfall, you will need to ask for permission and obtain a permit. The forest is not regularly open to the public.
This waterfall is in the San Gabriel Mountains where the fauna is chaparral dominated. It lies on Wolfskill Canyon Creek. Oak, yellow pine, and sage can all be found surrounding the falls and creek.
The area is used for studies on air pollution, fire, erosion, hydrology, plants, and animals. Hunting is not permitted in the forest.
If you are hoping to visit a waterfall in a private setting, this is it. You will just first need to be given permission by the Forest Service. They manage this research area with a rad waterfall.
12. The Punch Bowl
Credit: Conejo Valley Guide
The Punch Bowl is found in Santa Paula Canyon. This is in Ventura County in the Las Padres National Forest. If you are visiting Los Angeles and looking for a full day hike to a waterfall, this is a great option.
The hike to this awesome 25-foot waterfall is eight miles round trip. It is best for someone who is fit. The hike is steep in many places. You have to scramble across boulders in other areas of the hike. Mudslides can occur in sections of the trail after rain.
The hike to The Punch Bowl begins off of Highway 150, north of Thomas Aquinas College, at the Santa Pula Canyon Trailhead. The trail goes through the forest and then follows Santa Paula Creek.
There are several pools and small waterfalls along the hike. Wildlife thrives in the area. The Sespe Condor Sanctuary is on the trail to The Punch Bowl. Steelhead trout frequent the stream too.
13. Newton Canyon Falls
Newton Canyon Falls is an attractive 25-foot-tall waterfall in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, near Malibu. The waterfall is easy to access, as it’s a short 1-mile hike round trip to reach it.
The waterfalls are easy to miss and can easily dry up during the summer months. If you want to see this waterfall it’s best to visit it after a wet winter in the early spring.
The waterfall is accessed from the Backbone trail. This is a noisy trail because Kanan Road sits right next to it. You should expect to hear cars as you hike.
Dogs are allowed on the trail to Newton Canyon Falls. The trail can get steep and slipper in places, though, so if your dog struggles with this terrain you may want to leave them at home.
14. Lewis Falls
Lewis Falls is a 50-foot waterfall near Azusa. It is in the Angeles National Forest. The hike to Lewis Falls is fairly short. It’s 1 mile and takes about an hour to hike to and from.
This waterfall is accessible year-round. It is very secluded compared to other waterfalls near Los Angeles. To reach the waterfall you must hike up a narrow canyon.
The trail to the falls follows Soldier Creek. Waterproof boots are recommended on the hike as it can be wet. The trailhead is not marked well for this waterfall.
It is located 2.5 miles past Coldbrook Camp. You will pass running water and a “No Fires” sign. The waterfall is named after Anelmo Lewis. He was a ranger in the area for many years.
Related Read: Best views in Los Angeles at night
15. Bouquet Falls
Credit: thomas hays / Flickr
Bouquet Falls is located near Santa Clarita. This is a family-friendly waterfall because it is very easy to access. The hike to and from the falls is 0.8 miles. It is an extremely easy hike, and you can hike to and from it in 20 minutes.
This waterfall is not super busy. It is a party spot for local teenagers though, so often there is trash on the trail. An Adventure Pass is required to access the trail. This can be bought for a day, multiple days, and even annually.
The trail is dog friendly as well. If you are looking to visit a waterfall that doesn’t have the crowds, and that is easy to access for kids and dogs this is a great option.