Lewis Falls

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Lewis Falls
Pines on the trail to Lewis Falls

Text and photography copyright 2011 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved.  Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability.  All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities.  The author does not take any responsibility for injuries sustained during hikes or walks on the routes described here.   Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.

Lewis Falls

  • Location:  Highway 39 south of Crystal Lake in the Angeles National Forest.  From the 210 freeway in Azusa, take the Azusa Ave. exit (highway 39) and head north for a total of 20.5 miles.  On the way, Highway 39 becomes San Gabriel Canyon Road.  At mile marker 34.8, look for a small dirt turnout on the right side of the road.  A National Forest Service adventure pass ($5 per day or $30 for the year) is required for parking. Click here to purchase.
  • Agency:  Angeles National Forest/Los Angeles River District
  • Distance: 0.8 miles
  • Elevation gain: 300 feet
  • Suggested time: 45 minutes
  • Difficulty rating: PG
  • Best season: Year-round (Check on conditions)
  • USGS topo map: Crystal Lake
  • Recommended gear: hiking poles;  insect repellent
  • Recommended guidebook: Afoot & Afield Los Angeles County
  • More information:  here
  • Rating: 6
This short but surprisingly challenging hike visits 50-foot Lewis Falls.  Fallen trees and some off-trail scrambling are some of what hikers an expect on this trip.  Beginners who want to check out some of the waterfalls in the area might consider San Antonio Falls or Sturtevant Falls instead, or make this trip with someone who has hiking experience.

From the turnout on highway 39, follow a trail that heads up, steeply, into the canyon.  You pass by several cabins similar to those in the Santa Anita Canyon area.  There are a couple of places where you will have to step over trees, including one particularly tricky stretch about a quarter mile in, but overall navigation isn’t too difficult.

Soon, the trail dips down to meet Soldier Creek, which can present something of an obstacle if the water levels are high and the current is swift.  As of this writing, crossing is possible on a large fallen tree with several branches, making an easy, if somewhat nerve-wracking exercise.

On the opposite side, you work your way along the banks, climb up a few rocks, duck under some bushes and soon you’ll hear the cascade of Lewis Falls.  The waterfall drops over a large rock face and into a big pool.  It’s hard to completely take in the view of the waterfall, but you can still get a decent look at it from dry ground.  To see a video of Lewis Falls, click here.


  1. Very nice! I was planning to try this little hike a little over a month ago, when I went up to Mt. Islip. But I could not be sure about finding the correct starting point. Definitely need to make my way back up here, again.

  2. As of today (Mar 04,12) the trail is passable, although very difficult at a couple of points. First river cross across rocks and a partially submerged fallen tree, and the second across rocks.

    My friends and I enjoyed the trip immensely, although short in distance the overgrown trail is pretty technical at times.

    The trail head is a bit hidden. It is just about 100 yards before the now defunct road to Falling Springs, or about 2.5 miles after Coldbrook Campground. There is a “No Campfires” sign there, but the most identifiable landmark seems to be a Silver Mid-1990s Thunderbird that ALWAYS seems to be parked there.

  3. I was there on July 4th! It’s a beautiful hike and so glad I did it! I took pictures and have some videos of Lewis Falls, so you can get an idea of what it’s like before you actually go out there. Comments and likes are welcomed on our photos and videos! Enjoy!



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