25 April 2009

Switzer Falls

Angeles National Forest

Locate the trailhead.

Switzer Falls is found just a short way up highway 2, the first stop past the turnoff to the old highway to Lancaster. We found a spot down by the picnic area, so didn't have to hike down the road. It's a very popular spot and there often are no places anywhere.

The trail heads downhill with many crossings over the creek. The water was low, so crossings were easy with many many rocks to choose from. It isn't always like that. There is a campground about halfway down as the canyon narrows tightly heading into a few waterfalls, cascades, and rapids. There the trail stays high passing a few scary cliff edges. Eventually it splits with the long trek to JPL on the right and a downhill sprint to the bottom of the tight canyon on the left. Then there's just a few more crossings to get to the bottom of the waterfall that is accessible.

The 25 foot waterfall.
The waterfall, which has a bit of a cascade character to it and is only about 25 feet high. The tree has always been there when I went, the first time quite a few years ago, and always looks the same. This isn't the tallest falls in the narrowing above it, just the accessible one.

A look over the water with view into the water.
Playing with reflections. Looking into the pool finds all sorts of old organic debris.

A look at teh pool from right on the water.
From almost right down on the water, the surface is all reflections and what lies beneath is completely obscured.

Turning back, we didn't continue down the canyon and off wherever the bit of trail there goes again. Some folks have implied that it's a good trail so one should try it some time. We just passed by the incredibly rude people camping with their tent on half the trail and with their illegal campfire and climbed back up the canyon side.

Looking down the canyon side through a few small branches.
Looking down the canyon side at a spot that isn't too high or steep. Below is the creek where the trail goes up to the falls.

Looking down the bare steep cliff a bit further.
Looking down a little further along the trail. Here it's much steeper and higher and it turns out I shouldn't have stopped to take the picture because it just became more and more scary the longer I was there. I somehow feel a little more balanced when mobile. Guess I should have gotten closer to the edge for the full effect.

The narrow canyon has higher waterfalls in it. This one can be seen from the trail. It's actually the entrance into the canyon, so the top is accessible rather easily.

The taller waterfall seen through some branches where it is most clearly seen from the trail.
The larger waterfall as the creek enters the narrow bit of wild canyon that cannot be safely entered. The top is easily accessible.

Blue flowers.
Some blue flowers along the trail at the high parts. They're somewhat small but not a bit simple.

The pool at the top of the tall falls.
That pool at the top of the tall falls that can be seen from the trail. Here the creek channel is the only surface.

A look at the creek feeling a bit tame this time of the year.
A look around down at that campground before the trail takes off out of the stream bed. This is going upstream.

A very shallow and rippled pool.
I liked the way the ripples played in this very shallow pool along the way.

Another look at the creek.
A look downstream. It looks so tame as it nears jumping out over a few ledges.

An old rose bush and Abbie.
The campground wasn't always a campground. Most these canyons had cabins in them and though this one has few ruins to show it there are two very old rose bushes. Abbie found a nose high flower to sniff.

©2009 Valerie Norton
Posted 17 May 2009

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