With the opening of our beloved Angeles Crest Highway/SR 2, some long closed treasures are finally reopening. One of those is Switzer Falls.
Switzer is an extremely popular picnic area with families, especially on weekends. The parking lot fills up quickly on weekends, but today there was only 8 or 10 cars there. The trailhead begins off ACH (see picture). We hiked down a somewhat steep paved road to the Switzer Picnic area (it’s pretty obvious). This area certainly had a close call with the Station Fire, as Kristy and I both observed by the many burned trees around the picnic groves and asphalt road. We crossed over a bridge and continued down the path, in and out of various creek crossings (and TONS TONS TONS of poison oak). The trail is fairly mild for about a mile+ and then begins an ascent away from the creek and up a fairly exposed mountainside, with a beautiful overlook of a nice waterfall. After about a quarter mile of this, we passed a cutoff for the Gabrileno Trail which is still closed from the fire. The trail descended back down
to the canyon floor once again to the junction of the Bear Canyon/Switzer Falls trails. Obviously today we were doing Switzer but Bear Canyon is on the list 🙂 We took the canyon trail across a few more creek crossings to the falls and observed a waterfall area that has been virtually untouched by the devastating fire that passed through this area almost two years ago. My friend that came with me, Kristy, is in town visiting from Chicago. She was blown away by this hike and reminded me of just how wonderful our precious Angeles National Forest is.
As a closing treat, we saw a beautiful bobcat run across ACH on the way back to La Canada. I tried to snap a pic but it didn’t quite come out. 😦
Distance: 5.35 miles
Elevation gain: GPS said about 2000′
Temperature: 60′s and sunny
Terrain: some asphalt, some dirt trail, and some boulder hopping across the creek.
Calories burned: GPS said 3700 but I didn’t wear my heart rate. My guess is about 1,500-2,000.
Backpack: salomon xa20
Shoes: beat up old salomon xa pro’s
trekking poles: none, but i did use a tree branch for some crossings 🙂
Water consumed: just a little bit
Calories consumed: just a few. could have eaten more.