The Swtizer Falls Trail is a great hike that summarizes Southern California and all the different hiking environments into one hike! You will hike through a stream, forest, mountains and desert all in one hike.
It’s a fun hike located at: Switzer Truck Trail, Altadena, CA 91001
The hike is around 6 miles and we took our time to take in all the sights and spent 3 hours on the trail.
The hike has 2 start points; parking lot on the side of the road or at the bottom of the canyon. The parking lot right off the road is free parking and requires NO parking permit while driving down the steep road requires the parking pass. The trail to the falls is not clearly defined with a sign but find the bridge and that is the start point along with the picnic area.
The trail is a beautiful hike that is easy and full of sights. We went early in the morning and able to see Deer and several other animals.
The trail leading towards the falls will be covered by trees and plenty of green even in October making for a magical hike with the early morning fog. Make sure you watch your step since there are rocks in the path.
After a decent amount of time on the trail crossing back and forth over the partial creek you will come upon a split. There was not any sign to give direction. If you continue along the creek you will head to the Switzer Falls but since the water was almost gone we did not see the falls location dry or not. We went back to the split in the trail and took the high trail which is easily seen by the man made switch backs starting up the hillside.
As we climbed up the trail we noticed some hikers across the way from where we just were (circled in red) making their own path to the bottom of the Switzer Falls. After searching online the split in the trail leads to the top of the falls and the switch back trail we started will go the long way and end up at the bottom of the falls.
As I mentioned earlier this hike has everything to show all Southern California hiking environments. Once the trail took us out of the wooded valley we were walking on a rocky desert type trail with scrub oak for more arid scene. The trail will zig zag along the edge with some drops so you will have to be careful when walking along this section. After 30 minutes the trail will start the descent back into the valley with the well needed shade.
Once we got back into the valley there was a sign directing us to the “Falls” and the other direction to “Bear Canyon”. Just like before the trail went back and forth over the creek as we back tracked to the falls.
We finally made it to the falls to see a very little amount of water but in the spring time it will be back to normal. Overall this was a great hike for us. I always want to hike were there are trees and water so this trail delivered along with some leg burning inclines to make the hike complete.
Throughout the trail I was able to spot all kinds of flowers and bugs and lizards that made for a busy trail full of exciting things to stop and look at.
I posted more pictures on my Flickr from this hike and many other hikes as well.
Written by Brian Holt