Week 173: Millard Canyon Falls

May 05, 2019

Day Hiking Los Angeles #73: Millard Canyon Falls, 1.85 miles

The lure of a short hike with a big reward took Barbara and me to Millard Canyon in the foothills of the 700,000-acre Angeles National Forest, "officially" designated by Executive Order in 1892. The history, of course, goes back eons. Millard Canyon had been a major pedestrian thoroughfare for the Tongva and other indigenous California tribes for centuries. In 1770, Spanish explorer Gaspar de Portola met with Chief Hahamogna near Millard Canyon, and, in 1895, gold was discovered nearby (enough to mine but never a motherlode.) Today Millard Canyon, and especially the hike to the falls, is a popular recreation destination—we met tons of smiling hikers, boy scouts, and leashed dogs on the trail. The parking lot and trailhead are off Brown Mountain Truck Trail, about 1.2 miles north of Loma Alta Drive in Altadena. While the hike from the campground to the falls is short and simple to follow, it's not easy. The rocky trail weaves back and forth over a creek (if you're not 10, a tightrope walker, or a dog, bring a walking stick for balance crossing slippery rocks and logs)—but the challenges added to this grand adventure. Around us, birdsong, the scent of campfires, and an ever-present sound of water tumbling over rocks, fallen trees, and boulders. We passed an abandoned mine shaft, climbed over boulders with a metallic sheen, and stepped over branches covered with unusual fungus and moss. The waterfall at the end of the trail—stunning! Loved this hike.

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