Eaton Canyon is a beautiful trail along a river that leads up to a waterfall. Located in Pasadena, California, it’s an easy to moderate trail that’s doable with kids. There’s a long version and a short version of the hike, depending where you park and start.
It’s one of many waterfall hikes in the Los Angeles area. See this list of the best kid-friendly waterfall trails near Los Angeles.
Jump straight to a section:
- Video of Eaton Canyon Waterfall Trail
- How to Get to Eaton Canyon Trailhead
- Eaton Canyon Falls Trail Hiking Overview
Watch a Video of Our Family Hiking the Eaton Canyon Trail
How to Get to the Eaton Canyon Falls Trailhead
Eaton Canyon Falls is actually located in the Angeles National Forest. There are a few different trails that connect leading to the waterfall. There’s the longer trail which starts in Pasadena and is 1.7 miles to the waterfall, making it a 3.5-mile round trip hike. The shorter route starts farther north in Altadena, and is only 0.8 miles to the waterfall, making it a much shorter 1.6-mile round trip hike. However, this one has been closed recently.
Eaton Canyon Nature Center (3.5-mile hike)
1750 N Altadena Dr
Pasadena, CA 91107
There’s a decent-sized parking lot, park close to the end where the trailhead starts.
Mt Wilson / Pinecrest Gate (1.6-mile hike)
2264-2270 Pinecrest Dr
Altadena, CA 91001
Only street parking is available and can be sparse, so depending on how far away you park from the gate, it could be a slightly longer hike.
Hiking the Eaton Canyon Falls Trail
If you start at the Eaton Canyon Nature Center, the first mile is flat and partially shaded with a gradual incline. At the beginning, you’ll cross over a shallow river which is also a nice area for kids to play.
If you start at the Mt Wilson/Pinecrest Gate, the first 0.2-mile of the trail is a part paved and part dirt road that is unshaded, and on a gradual decline.
Both trails meet up at the Mt Wilson Toll bridge, and from there it’s 0.6 miles to the waterfall. The trail enters the canyon and is mostly shaded. It winds along the river, and you cross over it a few times on rocks and logs. There are few places on the trail that can be a bit rocky, and small kids will need some help climbing up on.
When you get to the waterfall, you’ll find a large open area and large rocks that you can sit on to relax and enjoy the view. The there’s a nice pool at the base of the waterfall that’s a few feet deep that you can wade into.
Looking for more nearby waterfall hikes? Take a look at this list of the top family-friendly waterfall trails in L.A.