Beating the Heat at Monrovia Canyon Falls

This week’s article about hikes in the San Gabriel Mountains highlights Monrovia Canyon Park, a wonderful getaway from the hot and dry Los Angeles summer.

It is, once again, June in Los Angeles and the temperature is steadily increasing with each day. However, we can all beat the heat and enjoy the outdoors by hiking to nearby Monrovia Canyon Park.

Last Friday, my wife, some of her coworkers, and myself enjoyed a hike to the pristine Monrovia Canyon waterfall. We began at the cabin inside the park and hiked up the partially shaded asphalt road to the trailhead, located on the left side of the pavement. The well manicured trail immediately gently ascends and winds through very green deciduous forest. We also crossed a healthily flowing creek, easily hopping over some strategically placed boulders.  

This trail is short, but changes scenery multiple times. After crossing the aforementioned creek, we continued through the forest, alongside sandstone and granite ridges, which rose above the creek bed approximately 100 feet. However, we never overheated, benefiting from the cool shadows cast by surrounding towering oak trees. 

Finally, after a mile of hiking, our hike culminated in the splendid 30-foot waterfall. Each person appreciated the waterfall in his or her own way: walking in the water, taking photo after photo, or simply closing their eyes and appreciating the hypnotic cadence of the rushing water. After a 15-minute break, we began our return home, satisfied by another wonderful escape into the San Gabriel Mountains.

Hike At A Glance

Difficulty Level (1-10): 2

Distance: 2 miles roundtrip from the cabin or 3.5 miles from the entrance station.

Scenery: This hike is heavily wooded and follows a canyon creek the whole way.

Best time to go: Year-round.

Trail condition: The trail is well maintained and fairly wide in parts.

Other considerations: Bug spray may be worth considering, because of mosquitoes and black flies (though they weren’t too bad when we went). Be careful of poison oak! Also, as always, be careful of the typical dangers that hiking in our local mountains present (e.g. rattlesnakes, bees, etc…).

Getting there: Take the 210 to Monrovia and exit north on Myrtle. Take Myrtle to Foothill and turn right (east). After a minute or two, turn left on Canyon Blvd and take that to where it veers right… all the way to Monrovia Canyon Park.   Canyon Park is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  The park is closed on Tuesdays. Weekend hours are from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. To enter the park, it costs $5 per car. More info can be found on Monrovia Canyon Park's website. 

Matthew Cavanaugh June 26, 2011 at 09:31 PM
I agree, Bob. I was just up there again today and those black flies are determined little pests right now. Thanks for your volunteer work at MCP.
Nathan McIntire June 27, 2011 at 07:00 PM
Glad I'm not the only one! I went for a hike in the Wilderness Preserve Saturday and the insects were intolerable.
Dan Abendschein June 27, 2011 at 07:05 PM
My experience is that is true in summer in any areas with water. They are tempting in summer since they are shady but the best bet for summer hiking, I think, is early morning or late evening hikes on the wide open foothill trails.
R Terry June 28, 2011 at 03:38 AM
I have never encountered mesquitos but black flies can be a factor at times. I think they bother some people more than others as they are rarely a real problem for me. Right now the deer flies are a big problem but they seem to have a limited time of serious activity and a couple weeks from now they may have subsided. They move slow so you can swat them usually before they bite. This would likely be a problem in any similar area right now. I think that you will find Monrovia Canyon Park to be the closest, cleanest and most shaded and beautiful trail adjacent the San Gabriel Valley. And please help to keep it the cleanest!
Matthew Cavanaugh June 28, 2011 at 06:45 AM
If you are looking at doing a hike around MCP or other areas in the next few weeks, the deer flies and black flies will probably be a nuisance. However, I've noticed that Repel's Lemon Eucalyptus product does an awesome job against flies. It may be worth considering getting a bottle or two of that. It's usually about 6 or 7 bucks I think.


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