Bailey Canyon Falls
- Location: Bailey Canyon Park, 451 W. Carter Ave, Sierra Madre. From points west, take I-210 to Michillinda Ave. Turn left and go north for 0.9 miles and turn right on Sierra Madre Blvd. Go 0.5 miles and turn left on Lima. Go 0.6 miles, bear left onto Carter Ave and turn right into the park. From points east, take I-210 to Baldwin Ave. Turn right and head north for 1.9 miles to Carter Ave. Turn left and go 0.5 miles to the parking lot. Parking is free and there are restrooms at the trailhead.
- Agency: City of Sierra Madre/Bailey Canyon Park (phone 626-355-5278)
- Distance: 1.6 miles (including Live Oak Nature Trail)
- Elevation gain: 350 feet
- Difficulty Rating: PG
- Suggested time: 1 hour
- Best season: Year round (best after recent rains)
- USGS topo map: Mt. Wilson
- Recommended guidebook: Afoot & Afield Los Angeles County
- More information: here; Everytrail report here
- Rating: 6
Even though it only looks impressive after heavy rains, Bailey Canyon Falls is a popular destination in the front country of the San Gabriel Mountains. Easily accessible to Sierra Madre and Pasadena, the canyon is a pleasant place for a visit, even if the waterfall is only a trickle.
The trail begins at Bailey Canyon Wilderness Park in Sierra Madre. From the lot, follow the trail past the information board. The beginning of the hike, which ascends a paved road, might not seem promising, but soon the trail begins and you are transported into a quiet woodland. Soon the Live Oak Nature Trail branches off to the right, on a footbridge crossing the canyon. This is a worthwhile addition to the hike; the self-guided nature trail showcases several of the trees in the canyon, including live oak, canary island pine, sycamore and others. The trail is a little tricky to follow in some spots (and there is poison oak, so be careful) but if you look for the small interpretive plaques, they will help guide you.
Once you rejoin the main trail, continue north into the canyon. Soon you pass the turnoff for Jones Peak, a destination for those who want a MUCH more challenging hike. Stay along the canyon, occasionally climbing over some rocks which can be slippery if water is flowing. The trail becomes a little rougher at this point, but before long you arrive at the waterfall. There are a few rocks for sitting and watching the 20-foot cascade.
Text and photography copyright 2012 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. By reading this, you agree not to hold the author or publisher of the content on this web site responsible for any injuries or inconveniences that may result from hiking on this trail. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.