23 August 2014

Eaton Canyon

Altadena Front Country

Locate the trailhead.


A visit to Pasadena often includes a visit to Eaton Canyon. It may be dry, but this canyon is fed by a few springs up high and is reliable for water. It is hot, but we start at the Nature Center for a slightly longer walk than required. The lot is nearly full and there are people everywhere. As we stroll along the wash, there are a number of shaded spots to drop out from under the sun once in a while. People pass in large and small groups every few minutes, then suddenly everyone stops. The news down the trail is there is a snake.

large rattlesnake
They are not lying, there definitely is a snake and it is a big one with a long rattle on the end.

At the end of the wash, there is a large contingent of vehicles parked, which is not quite unusual enough. Search and Rescue gets called out enough for people falling while trying to get to the second waterfall that they have decided to close the area entirely to entry recently. Today, there is a table out and it looks like they may have another purpose in being here. As we enter the canyon, we can see and hear evidence of a little water flow as we dodge a trail runner.

cement flood control with a little water flowing over
In winter, the water forms a curtain over this old piece of flood control cement, but now there is a trickle.


The water vanishes quickly and the creek is dry most of the way up to the waterfall. Just before it, the water returns. It is quite loud as we approach, more than just the conversations of the weekend crowd. Rocks are being hammered to remove graffiti by volunteers. Search and Rescue is simply working at the graffiti above the waterfall. There is just a little water coming over, but it is much better than if it were dry.

a trickle of water over moss and steep rocks
Eaton Canyon Falls temporarily clear of people while Search and Rescue play with their ropes overhead.

water with many people around it
The more usual look of the waterfall on a weekend contains waders and kids and dogs.

We take a little time with the waterfall, then head back. It is just as crowded as we head back, although the snake has made its way back into the brush.

lizard on a tree branch
A lizard resting on a shady tree branch by the poison oak.

path beside the wash
Along the wide path beside the wash.




©2014 Valerie Norton
Posted 2 September 2014

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