Category: travel

Angeles Forest — part 1 (Switzer falls)

This year has been especially stressful. But quite often good things follow bad events. My parents in law were able to come and stay with us during these hard moments. And what can help cope with stress more than hiking in mountains?

In Southern California, where we live, we see mountains all the time. The view of snowy peaks of the Angeles Forest behind the Los Angeles downtown is probably not less recognizable image than the Hollywood sign. But not so many people who live here actually been to those mountains. This has been my goal to hike there since the first day when I landed in California.

After an hour and a half drive we got to the Angeles National Forest from the side of La Cañada Flintridge (near Pasadena). Our main destination for the day trip was the Switzer Falls trail. The parking lot at the entrance of the trail was almost full, but the place didn’t feel crowded. October is still a hot time in SoCal and there haven’t been decent rains for many months. The small Arroyo Secco river was mostly dry without any movement that looked more like several large puddles. The good thing was that crossing it wasn’t a problem at all. Despite there being not much water, the trees at the bottom of the canyon were much taller and some parts of the ground stayed wet for longer because sunlight was allowed to shine there only a few hours a day. We didn’t see the waterfall unfortunately.

The trail lasted for about two miles before it started to go uphill and in a few minutes we found ourselves high above the canyon and trees that were hiding us from the sunlight. The view we didn’t expect to see on this trail. Although the mountains were not very high and steep, they were gorgeous. We got immediately stunned by the big mass of land that shaped the canyon that we were in. Reminded me of the Crimean and Carpathian mountains that I hiked when I was a kid.

We followed the trail for several more miles until realized that it was too far and we need to turn around to get back by sunset, which starts sooner in mountains. Light rain followed us back.