LA - New Year's Hike: Bear Canyon

  • Sun, January 05, 2020
  • 7:45 AM - 4:00 PM
  • Switzer Picnic Area, Angeles National Forest


  • Please email (Bryan) to tell us if you have a car and how many extra seats. We need to make sure we have enough to do the car shuttle.

Registration is closed

Update 1/3/20 7:45 pm: This hike is now full! We have 29 people registered which is a lot on the trail. Add your name to the waitlist if you'd like, but spots won't open up unless someone cancels by the end of Saturday 1/4. Look out for our next hike coming late Jan and/or February - follow our IG, FB and become a member to receive monthly newsletters with first dibs announcements! Thanks for understanding - we want to ensure a nice experience for everyone and not overcrowd the trail. Questions, please contact Bryan below.


Kick off 2020 with this beautiful hike we've discovered for our new Great Outdoors Hike-a-Month Challenge!

It's a gem of a trail: relatively untravelled but a wonderfully accessible and beautiful introduction to the hidden beauty of magical Bear Canyon, just a few miles north of Pasadena. And mostly downhill!

We scouted the full hike on 12/22/19 (all photos) and the trail is in good condition.

Time: 7:45 a.m. Hike leaves 8:00 a.m.

Meeting location: Switzer Picnic Area (lower parking lot)

Near: La Canada Flintridge, San Gabriel Mountains

Distance: 8.1 miles, point-to-point (car shuttle)

Hike time: 6-8 hours

Difficulty: Intermediate

Elevation Gain: Ascent: 880’; Descent: -2,729’

Type: Point-to-point. We will be utilizing a car shuttle system.

With few hikers but bound to become more popular, this route is a one-way "shuttle hike" - meaning we will meet together in the morning at our ending spot (Switzer Picnic Area) and leave half the cars there. We'll stuff the remaining cars with the whole group and park at the trailhead (beginning of the hike: Eaton Saddle). Once our hike is done, the cars at the end will shuttle drivers back to retrieve those cars at the trailhead. This requires cooperation and making sure everyone is accounted for.

If registering to hike, please email (Bryan) to tell us if you do/don't have a car and how many extra seats. We need to make sure we have enough to do the car shuttle.. 

Trail type: This trail begins by following a ridge that has amazing city and mountain views and a few steep drop-offs. After descending into the canyon, we will follow a very lightly-traveled but well-maintained trail with multiple stream crossings. We’ll have our lunch at Bear Canyon Campground. We’ll then continue to Switzer Falls and then make our final ascent out of the canyon and back to the popular Switzer day-use area.

Trail Description: All participants need to read the full description here, and we encourage you to download the free Hiking Project app so you have the trail/GPS on your phone.

Start by taking the Mt. Lowe Road west from Eaton Saddle as it winds along the steep south slope of San Gabriel Peak with breathtaking views of Eaton Canyon to the south. As it passes through the Mueller Tunnel note the remains of a trail ... continue reading

Good boots, walking sticks and stream crossings: Our path meanders back and forth across the stream. With our recent rain, the stream may be ankle-high in places. requiring crossing over using wet logs, boulders, and potentially getting our feet wet. Hiking boots with good grip recommended. A good balance and a walking stick can definitely help with the stream crossings. You could optionally bring Tevas, if you’d rather walk through the water, or change of socks and shoes in case you get wet. Getting wet in the stream is nothing scary, but we don’t want people getting hurt by slipping on wet rocks/logs, so please be careful!

The hike meanders back and across the stream running down the spectacular Arroyo Seco Canyon.

Meeting Point: From the 210 Freeway, take the CA-2 North toward the Angeles Crest Highway in La Canada Flintridge. Enter the mountains, and continue east on CA-2 for 9.8 miles. At the Clear Creek Information Center, continue east (right turn) on CA-2 and then look for the Switzer Picnic Area sign on the right. Descend down Switzer Truck Trail to the parking area. There is an often crowded parking lot at the bottom of the canyon near the picnic areas, as well as two overflow lots along the way. Display your Adventure Pass.

Adventure Pass: Buy parking pass ahead of time

The pass is required to park at the trailhead (one per vehicle). We recommend buying your day pass ($5) or annual pass ahead of time because the Clear Creek Info Center won't be open yet. Seller locations include: Some 7-Elevens, gas stations, Big 5, REI, USFS visitor centers:

The closest is this Shell gas station right off the highway exit.

Parking: As Switzer Falls is one of the most popular waterfall hikes in Los Angeles County, the trail may get crowded. However, there is ample parking in the lower parking area. Should the lower parking area be completely fully, there are two overflow lots above it on the canyon road - simply allow for extra elevation upon your return.

What to Bring: Good hiking boots/shoes, snacks/lunch, plenty of water, and wear layers (as canyon is mostly shaded, and can get cold). Rain Cancels; we will email an update if weather looks iffy.

Hike Leaders: Albert Sotelo & Bryan Matsumoto. If you have any questions, please contact Albert at 323-215-9123, e-mail:; or Bryan at 626-246-8634, e-mail:

Health Problems/allergiesIt is the responsibility of participants to carry on their person a record of significant allergies, medications and medical history in the event of a medical emergency.  Discuss any medical concerns with the hike leader if you wish.

We recommend you read our suggested 10 essential items to bring

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