Hiking trails in LA: The best hikes with waterfalls

Looking for hiking trails in LA? Head outdoors after a rainy day and experience these five hikes with waterfalls.

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While Angelenos are blessed with a gorgeous web of hikes with a view, we all too often find ourselves baked by the sun, with the ocean in sight and yet tantalizingly out of reach. Here are five hiking trails in LA that’ll keep you cool by journey’s end with some of the area’s most impressive waterfalls. LA hikes with waterfalls? We can’t think of a more perfect way to enjoy a too-brief rainy season.


Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Hiking trails in LA: Escondido Falls

Escondido Falls, Malibu


This is one of the biggest waterfalls in Southern California—a two-tiered, 150-foot cascade that pours down a series of limestone rocks covered in bright-green moss. You’ll start on Winding Way East, a private road in the Malibu hills that takes you uphill past ocean-view estates. After about half a mile the road will head downhill and there will be a clearly marked path to the left. This is the Escondido Canyon Trail, an adventurous path that crisscrosses streams—so be prepared for some serious rock-hopping. About a mile in, you’ll reach the Lower Escondido Falls, which are lovely on their own—at 50 feet they rival any of the other waterfalls on this list. This is a good place for a breather, or for the less sure-of-foot it’s a lovely ending point. Everyone else should continue upwards via a clear route to the right of the falls (we suggest you opt for the official route—the other one is definitely dangerous!) for a steep climb that will take you to the Upper Escondido Falls. There’s a guide rope to help you pull yourself along, but be mindful of the slippery rocks. This path will take you under part of the lower waterfall and over more boulders until you reach the main event, a majestic tiered cascade that fans over moss-grown outcroppings. On a hot day there’s no better reward than wading into the pool—there will probably be a couple of dogs already paddling around!—or just stand behind the waterfall letting the cool spray hit your skin.

Escondido Falls

Address: 27200 Winding Way

Trailhead: Park at the lot on Winding Way East a Pacific Coast Highway. The trailhead starts on Winding Way Road, take the clearly marked path.

Pets? Dogs allowed on leashes

Length: ~3.8 miles

Time: 120 mins


Users say

15 comments
Ca H
Ca H

I have done a lot of these Waterfall and since the drought is pretty bad this year (2014) some might be extremely low or completely dry. The best time to go to these falls are after a rain fall or a heavy wet winter. You can check out some of my other adventures on my youtube channel


https://www.youtube.com/user/ryuone

john
john

great story about water falls in LA. Here's a link to photos of a couple more great falls in LA http://smu.gs/13M8Pxz

plaidbus
plaidbus

Why on earth would you publicly blab about this place? There goes the neighborhood. I shall expect the spray paint any day now. Thanks so much...

plaidbus
plaidbus

Why on earth would you publicly blab about this place? There goes the neighborhood. I shall expect the spray paint any day now. Thanks so much...

plaidbus
plaidbus

Why on earth would you publicly blab about this place? There goes the neighborhood. I shall expect the spray paint any day now. Thanks so much...

plaidbus
plaidbus

Why on earth would you publicly blab about this place? There goes the neighborhood. I shall expect the spray paint any day now. Thanks so much...

plaidbus
plaidbus

Why on earth would you publicly blab about this place? There goes the neighborhood. I shall expect the spray paint any day now. Thanks so much...

beef
beef

Damn you. Escondido is already overrun with people now that Yelp came along. And now it will be trashed!

rew
rew

Definitely a relaxing spot for lunch and a little dip =) The observatory is also a wonderful place to stop for a few if you have the grit for a weekend hike more than a few miles. Razorback trail is an established trail, but it is most definitely not for children or anyone inexperienced with rock climbing; the average death toll on Razorback in one per month. The waterfalls beyond are beautiful and deep enough for diving, and you'll find yourself practically alone on a day up there.

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KAPTN_M0RGAN
KAPTN_M0RGAN

it's a free fuckin country. & sad thing about it is.. your kids are probably going to be the ones with the spray paint. EVERYBODY isn't into destroying shit.. we like peaceful places too.. and you're not the owner btw so piss off.

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