23 January 2005

Switzer Falls

Angeles National Forest

Locate the trailhead.

After the heavy rains, we (myself, Shachi, and M.A.) decided to take a hike down to the falls to see it in full flow. Of course, this was completely forgetting the fifteen river crossings and the one spot where both sides of the canyon are covered in the high water. Many log bridges improved the probability of getting across with our feet dry, but a few still required looking upon rocks even two inches under as a stepping stone.
We weren't the only ones with this thought, as the trail was quite crowded.

The trail is about two miles from the start at the top to the bottom of the lower falls. Most of the falls cannot be gotten to safely even in dry times as it is surrounded by steep canyon walls and the riverbed itself keeps dropping quite suddenly. This leaves one only viewing the larger falls from high above, but once back down to the water, a short few tenths of a mile and nearly half of the crossings bring one to the bottom of a somewhat smaller fall. And when we got there, we saw the falls like this.

somewhat cascading falls

Got a closeup of the top too, though it didn't come out very well.

top of the falls

It is difficult to tell that this is more water than usual if one has not been to the falls before. A few years back, I did come to this particular falls and the bank of the pool made a very lovely lunch spot here below this tree. This bank was not in evidence this time as gallons of water were flowing over it.

former bank of the pool

The pool below was positively churning with all the water falling into it. Before, the pool itself wasn't completely filled with the disturbance of the falling water. Now it's clear why the pool is so large.

churning pool water

I also took a closer picture of the tree that sits in the pool.

big tree roots

Down near the spur of trail to the bottom of the falls, there's a piece of history in the form of a rusting car body.

car frame

The actual falls is taller and less cascade-like. This is the view of the falls from above along the trail. It's somewhat hidden in the canyon and the vegetation does its part in hiding the falls, but there are a couple spots to view it. From the side, this is it.

side of the actual falls

And directly on, this is it.

falls from the front

We walked back getting our feet wetter as we went but never completely soaked along the challenging crossings. All in all, a good hike.

©2005 Valerie Norton
Posted 10 April 2005

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