Millard Canyon Falls
- Location: Angeles National Forest foothills, above Altadena. From points east and south, take I-210 to Lincoln Ave. Bear right on Lincoln and head north for 1.9 miles. Turn right on Loma Alta Drive and follow it 0.6 miles to Chaney Trail (easy to miss). Turn left and follow Chaney Trail for a total of 1.6 miles to the Millard Day Use Area, a large parking lot. Alternately, from points northwest, take I-210 to Arroyo Blvd (exit 22B). Turn left, cross the freeway and turn right onto Woodbury. Go 0.5 miles to Lincoln, turn left and follow Lincoln 1.3 miles to Loma Alta and continue as described above. A National Forest Service Adventure Pass ($5 per day or $30 for the year) is required for parking here. Click here to purchase.
- Agency: Angeles National Forest/Los Angeles River Ranger District
- Distance: 1.2 miles
- Elevation gain: 300 feet
- Suggested time: 1 hour
- Difficulty rating: PG
- Best season: Year round; best after recent rains
- USGS topo map: Pasadena
- Recommended guidebook: Afoot & Afield Los Angeles County
- Recommended gear: insect repellent
- More information: Trip descriptions here, here and here; video of the waterfall here; Map My Hike report here
- Rating: 7
This perennial favorite of L.A. hikers has recently re-opened for the first time since the Station Fire. Even if there’s not much water, the short hike through the depths of Millard Canyon is a good way to escape the heat and enjoy some solitude only a few miles from civilization. It’s also a good introduction to off-trail hiking; parts of the trail are overgrown and the route isn’t always obvious, but there’s no major obstacles to negotiate and unlike many other wet canyons, there’s virtually no poison oak. Keep in mind that the bugs can be annoying; also look out for rusty metal debris in the canyon, especially when you’re using your hands to climb across rocks and fallen logs.
From the Millard day use area, follow the trail and the road past the campground. When the road crosses the stream and bends to the left, look for an unsigned use trail on the right, heading north into the heart of the canyon. You cross the stream almost immediately and after crossing it a second time, scramble up the east (right) side of the canyon, passing underneath a private home (note the “not a trail” sign and stay below the house). Alternately, if the water level is not too high, you can hike through the stream itself.
For the next 0.3 miles, you’ll start heading generally east, crossing the stream a few more times. As you get closer to the waterfall, note the towering walls of granite. Finally, at 0.6 miles from the start–although the up-canyon trekking may make it seem longer–you’ll reach the base of 50-foot Millard Canyon Falls. Its most distinctive feature is the large boulder wedged near the top, causing the water to split into two streams as it flows past, rejoining in the pool below. After enjoying the sight, retrace your steps, keeping in mind that when hiking off-trail in a canyon, even for a short distance, the descent can be more difficult than the ascent.
Text and photography copyright 2015 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.