Monrovia Canyon Falls is a pleasant two-tiered 30ft waterfall in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains near the suburb of Monrovia.
Presenting another little getaway for Angelinos like us, we were pleasantly surprised that it was flowing as well as it did late in the Summer (I think around August 2001) when we first visited the falls. In fact, the creek responsible for this waterfall manages to avoid the evaporative Southern California heat by flowing underneath the surface to emerge as a spring unseen further upstream. Therefore, this waterfall is actually said to flow year round!
This is something that is rare for Southern California waterfalls given its relative lack of rainfall and hot, sunny days. We think this fact alone makes this short waterfall well worth visiting.
The trail to the falls is a pleasantly shady, gently uphill hike for 3/4 miles (or 1.5 miles round trip). Along the way, we passed by a handful of manmade dams and some narrow, minor cliff-hugging spots. But for the most part, this was one of the easiest hikes to do, and we witnessed plenty of seniors as well as locals walk their dogs while doing this trail.
To further illustrate how much confidence we had in doing this trail with a baby, Julie and I took our daughter to this waterfall when she was four months old and when she was 15 months old. In fact, this was the first waterfall that she witnessed!
Probably the hardest thing to do regarding an excursion here would be to find parking, which can be an issue if you're not an early bird.
And if you do manage to make it to the main car park and trailhead area at the top of the road, don't forget to check out the view of the Los Angeles basin from the lookout at that car park!
Directions: We accessed this falls by taking the I-210 to the Myrtle Avenue exit.
From there, we went north through downtown Monrovia and then into a residential area where the road eventually curved into Scenic Drive. At that point, there were Monrovia Canyon Park signs at each turn guiding us onto the correct road eventually heading into Monrovia Canyon Park (there was a $5 day use fee when we last went in 2012 and this is independent of the Forest Service so Adventure Passes aren't honored).
The trailhead was at the car park at the very end of the road though there was also a separate trail linking the lower car park and cabins with the trail to the falls just below the trail from the main picnic area.