Monrovia Canyon ParkLocate the trailhead.
We wanted something on the way to dinner down the 605 a bit and short enough to start well after lunch. Sawpit Canyon (on the map), but Morovia Canyon by the signs, looked like a good one except that they were going to close the gate at 5PM and we'd still be on the trail then. No problem since parking outside of the gate is easy too.
Getting there just involves getting off the freeway at Myrtle and turning north through picturesque old town Monrovia. Turn right onto Foothill and then left onto Canyon Blvd. We parked on the street. Most of the way up to the park there was a footpath beside Canyon Blvd. The trail starts just past the pay station. Since it's run by the city, the National Forest Service permit doesn't get you in.
Going up we pondered the loudness of the water sound and whether it might really be water in spite of the dry winter. The wind didn't seem to be blowing that hard. It was water; according to the handout the city had, it is spring fed.
We started our wildlife viewing right at the start of the trail. A deer was pondering where to go and eventually went down the side of the hill toward the road. There it found a dog to be chased by, so it probably wasn't a very good choice of where to go. We turned the other way.
As we climbed higher on the trail, a huge dam came into view. This dam holds back the water in Sawpit Canyon, the larger canyon. The trail goes off to the left into a smaller canyon explaining the difference of opinion as to what this area is called. The road goes up to the dam after the parking lots.
Along the trail we spotted a great big fuzzy red velvet ant (which is apparently a solitary and wingless wasp) and some lush poison oak. We were warned that there was a rattlesnake down by the river but failed to find either snake or anything river-like.
The trail is joined from the second parking lot on the right just past a creak crossing. It is joined again from the nature center and third parking lot up a hill to the right. After the nature center trail joins, a bunch of numbered signs pop up, presumably to tell about what can be found on the side of the trail. Even a check dam gets numbered.
Continuing down the trail gave a few picturesque sights here and there.
Abbie is dwarfed by the sheer rock face.
Shortly we came to the falls.
The falls might be a little shorter than the 30 feet advertised, but it has a cascade above it to help out with impressiveness.
I dropped off my pack on the other side of the falls and Abbie settled down to an apple.
Mingshr found a nice rock for napping.
And I got to take lots of pictures of the water.
The falls themselves are a little like a cascade, but they're close enough to vertical that a lot of the water does freefall the whole way down.
The cascade above is far from vertical.
Together they're quite nice.
Moss can be found in many places even far from the falls themselves. Some of these rocks must weep a bit every time it rains.
There's always beauty in the very bottom of a waterfall and its pool.
If you don't watch out, instead of coming upon the falls, the falls will come upon you!
It was hard to get a picture of the pool above the falls, but this one seems to have come out quite alright.
A little post apple meditation, but it is beginning to get chilly as evening hits and twilight will be coming soon. We think about leaving the thundering presence.
On the way back, a brief look up a tributary canyon with a brief trail up it shows that even the little routes have had pipes laid up them sometime in the distant past. Of course, in this desert, water is water. This creak is just after the trail to the second parking lot on our way back.
I wonder if this too is spring fed since it really is a very dry year so far and a very small canyon.
We made it back to the car and as we left the canyon it didn't seem anywhere near as close to twilight as it had seemed in the canyon. Then we were off to have our meal.
© 2007 Valerie Norton
Posted 16 May 2007
Last updated 17 May 2007