Monrovia Canyon Falls

Monrovia Canyon Park / Monrovia, California, USA

About Monrovia Canyon Falls


Hiking Distance: 1.4 miles round trip
Suggested Time: 45-60 minutes

Date first visited: 2001-08-19
Date last visited: 2016-11-13

Waterfall Latitude: 34.18619
Waterfall Longitude: -117.98778

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Monrovia Canyon Falls was 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.

Monrovia_Canyon_072_03102012 - Monrovia Canyon Falls
Monrovia Canyon Falls

It even flowed fairly well on a visit in April 2014 when we were in the midst of a third straight year of drought, further attesting to its resiliency.

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 deep in the San Gabriel Mountains.

Therefore, this waterfall was actually said to flow year round, and in this instance, we believe it!

Indeed, this attribute was something that was quite rare for Southern California waterfalls given its relative lack of rainfall and hot, sunny days for most of the year.

Monrovia_Canyon_Falls_001_scanned_08192001 - Monrovia Canyon Falls when we first saw it in August 2001
Monrovia Canyon Falls when we first saw it in August 2001

We think this fact alone made this short waterfall well worth visiting.

Hiking to Monrovia Canyon Falls

The trail to Monrovia Canyon Falls was 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.

Over the years, we definitely had to pay a bit more attention to the narrowness of the trail as well as the dropoffs as we made visits with our little daughter.

Monrovia_Canyon_Falls_014_11132016 - Julie and Tahia on a part of the Monrovia Canyon Falls Trail that hugged this interesting rock cliff
Julie and Tahia on a part of the Monrovia Canyon Falls Trail that hugged this interesting rock cliff

But for the most part, this was one of the easiest hikes to do.

After all, we witnessed plenty of seniors, other toddlers, as well as locals walking their dogs while doing this trail.

To further illustrate how much confidence we had in doing this trail, Julie and I took our daughter to this waterfall when she was four months old.

We then did it with her when she was 15 months old, and once again when she was 3 years old.

Monrovia_Canyon_14_047_04202014 - Our daughter insisting on hiking the narrow parts of the Monrovia Canyon Falls Trail by herself
Our daughter insisting on hiking the narrow parts of the Monrovia Canyon Falls Trail by herself

On the visit when our daughter was three, she managed (actually insisted) that she do the hike all by herself!

She even refused to hold our hands around some of the narrower parts of the trail.

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.

We knew that the hard way on a couple of our visits.

Monrovia_Canyon_Falls_052_11132016 - Tahia sharing her Monrovia Canyon Falls experience with a stranger during a visit in November 2016, which attested to this waterfall's resiliency
Tahia sharing her Monrovia Canyon Falls experience with a stranger during a visit in November 2016, which attested to this waterfall’s resiliency

It wasn’t surprising to see people marauding the narrow upper lot waiting for people to leave so they could snatch those hard-to-get spots.

That said, it was also possible as a last resort to park at one of the lower lots (even near the payment kiosk).

You could even go as far as the residential areas further down the hill to perhaps avoid paying the park fee to enter.

The only drawback for those last options was that the hike would be prolonged depending on how far away from the trailhead the parking would be.

Monrovia_Canyon_14_012_04202014 - Tahia checking out the view back towards the Los Angeles Basin from the overlook by the upper parking lot for Monrovia Canyon Park
Tahia checking out the view back towards the Los Angeles Basin from the overlook by the upper parking lot for Monrovia Canyon Park

In any case, each time we made it to the main parking lot and trailhead area at the top of the road, we never forgot to check out the view of the Los Angeles basin from the lookout there.

Authorities

Monrovia Canyon Falls resides in the Monrovia Canyon Park in Monrovia in Los Angeles County, California. It is administered by the City of Monrovia. For information or inquiries about the park as well as current conditions, visit the Monrovia City Council website or their Facebook page.

Monrovia_Canyon_Falls_004_11132016 - Afternoon look back towards the Los Angeles Basin from the upper parking lot at the Monrovia Canyon Park. This photo and the subsequent several photos were taken from our visit in November 2016
Monrovia_Canyon_Falls_006_11132016 - Mom and Tahia passing through a fairly quiet picnic area on our way to the Monrovia Canyon Falls in November 2016
Monrovia_Canyon_Falls_007_11132016 - Julie and Tahia on the initial narrow trail descending to the main trail from the picnic area as seen during our visit in November 2016
Monrovia_Canyon_Falls_009_11132016 - Julie and Tahia passing by some of the man-made dams on the way to Monrovia Canyon Falls in November 2016
Monrovia_Canyon_Falls_011_11132016 - Julie and Tahia about to climb up some steps as the trail started to narrow during our visit in November 2016
Monrovia_Canyon_Falls_013_11132016 - Context of Julie and Tahia continuing along the trail leading to Monrovia Canyon Falls in November 2016
Monrovia_Canyon_Falls_015_11132016 - Julie and Tahia on a wider and more forested section of the Monrovia Canyon Falls Trail in November 2016
Monrovia_Canyon_Falls_017_11132016 - Julie and Tahia descending along another narrow part of the Monrovia Canyon Falls Trail in November 2016
Monrovia_Canyon_Falls_018_11132016 - Context of Julie and Tahia skirting by some of the man-made dams seen along the Monrovia Canyon Falls Trail in November 2016
Monrovia_Canyon_Falls_019_11132016 - Context of Julie and Tahia passing alongside some interesting canyon walls as we were approaching the Monrovia Canyon Falls in November 2016
Monrovia_Canyon_Falls_029_11132016 - Finally arriving at the Monrovia Canyon Falls in November 2016 flow
Monrovia_Canyon_Falls_039_11132016 - Tahia and a stranger were instant playmates at the Monrovia Canyon Falls during our November 2016 visit
Monrovia_Canyon_Falls_049_11132016 - Another look at Tahia playing in the waters of Monrovia Canyon Falls in November 2016 flow
Monrovia_Canyon_Falls_060_11132016 - Julie and Tahia heading back from the Monrovia Canyon Falls in November 2016
Monrovia_Canyon_Falls_063_11132016 - Our November 2016 visit to Monrovia Canyon Falls took place late in the afternoon so most people were heading back when we were
Monrovia_Canyon_Falls_066_11132016 - Julie and Tahia continuing to hike back from the Monrovia Canyon Falls in November 2016
Monrovia_Canyon_15_003_07262015 - This photo and the next few that we took in this photo gallery show our experience in July 2015. On this day, notice how empty the upper parking lot was at the Monrovia Canyon Park
Monrovia_Canyon_15_008_07262015 - Tahia and cousin Joshua enjoying the views from the upper parking lot in Monrovia Canyon Park
Monrovia_Canyon_15_029_07262015 - Tahia and Joshua walking through the picnic area by the upper parking lot in Monrovia Canyon Park
Monrovia_Canyon_15_033_07262015 - The family on the short trail leading from the upper parking lot area to the Monrovia Canyon Falls
Monrovia_Canyon_15_036_07262015 - The family in a lush part of the hike to the Monrovia Canyon Falls with a man-made dam in the distance as seen in July 2015
Monrovia_Canyon_15_042_07262015 - The family negotiating the familiar narrow sections of the Monrovia Canyon Falls Trail in July 2015
Monrovia_Canyon_15_048_07262015 - The family going across a wide area in the forested part of the trail to the Monrovia Canyon Falls in July 2015
Monrovia_Canyon_15_062_07262015 - Lots of kids playing around the small plunge pool at the base of Monrovia Canyon Falls in July 2015
Monrovia_Canyon_15_069_07262015 - Tahia, Joshua, and a stranger sharing a moment at the Monrovia Canyon Falls in July 2015
Monrovia_Canyon_15_101_07262015 - The family making their way back to the trailhead after having had their fill of the Monrovia Canyon Falls in July 2015
Monrovia_Canyon_15_107_07262015 - I noticed this well-camouflaged fellow amongst the twigs and leaves while hiking back from the Monrovia Canyon Falls in July 2005
Monrovia_Canyon_15_112_07262015 - The family making their way back through the narrower sections of the Monrovia Canyon Falls Trail on the return hike in July 2015
Monrovia_Canyon_15_125_07262015 - The family returning to the picnic area and upper parking lot at the Monrovia Canyon Park to end our visit in July 2015
Monrovia_Canyon_14_001_04202014 - This was the view towards the Los Angeles Basin from the familiar lookout by the upper parking lot in Monrovia Canyon Park in April 2014. This photo and the next several photos came from that visit on Earth Day in April 2014
Monrovia_Canyon_14_018_04202014 - This lizard decided to join us while we were admiring the view of the LA Basin from the upper parking lot of the Monrovia Canyon Park
Monrovia_Canyon_14_032_04202014 - Context of some trailhead signage and nature center at the upper parking lot for the Monrovia Canyon Park in April 2014
Monrovia_Canyon_14_034_04202014 - Tahia going through the picnic area by the upper parking area of Monrovia Canyon Park in April 2014
Monrovia_Canyon_14_035_04202014 - Julie and Tahia starting the hike to the Monrovia Canyon Falls on Earth Day in April 2014
Monrovia_Canyon_14_039_04202014 - Julie and Tahia on the short trail going past some man-made dams to the Monrovia Canyon Falls in April 2014
Monrovia_Canyon_14_044_04202014 - Julie and Tahia hiking on gently uphill terrain for most of the way up to Monrovia Canyon Falls in April 2014, where our daughter was already confident enough to tackle on the narrow sections
Monrovia_Canyon_14_049_04202014 - Julie and Tahia approaching the final creek crossing before the Monrovia Canyon Falls in April 2014
Monrovia_Canyon_14_057_04202014 - Julie and Tahia enjoying the Monrovia Canyon Falls in April 2014
Monrovia_Canyon_14_071_04202014 - Closer look at the flow of Monrovia Canyon Falls in April 2014, which was actually a dry year
Monrovia_Canyon_14_072_04202014 - Julie and Tahia making their way back to the trailhead after leaving Monrovia Canyon Falls in April 2014
Monrovia_Canyon_14_079_04202014 - Julie and Tahia continuing to make their return hike to the trailhead for the Monrovia Canyon Park in April 2014
Monrovia_Canyon_004_03102012 - Looking towards the Los Angeles basin appearing a bit hazy during our March 2012 visit to the Monrovia Canyon Falls. This photo and the next several photos took place during that time
Monrovia_Canyon_005_03102012 - Julie carrying Tahia while doing the easy hike to the Monrovia Canyon Falls
Monrovia_Canyon_008_03102012 - Julie carrying Tahia through the picnic area at the start of the Monrovia Canyon Falls hike in March 2012
Monrovia_Canyon_009_03102012 - Julie carrying Tahia beyond the picnic area en route to the Monrovia Canyon Falls in March 2012
Monrovia_Canyon_017_03102012 - Julie continuing on the familiar hike to the Monrovia Canyon Falls while carrying Tahia in March 2012
Monrovia_Canyon_018_03102012 - Julie negotiating a narrow section of the Monrovia Canyon Falls Trail while carrying Tahia in March 2012
Monrovia_Canyon_024_03102012 - We did have to mind the trees with baby in tow during our March 2012 visit to Monrovia Canyon Falls
Monrovia_Canyon_028_03102012 - Monrovia Canyon Falls was pretty fun for the family during our March 2012 visit
Monrovia_Canyon_076_03102012 - Looking up at the attractive Monrovia Canyon Falls in somewhat decent Spring flow in March 2012
Monrovia_Canyon_083_03102012 - It was my turn to carry Tahia on the way back from the Monrovia Canyon Falls in March 2012
Monrovia_Cyn_003_05142011 - Familiar look towards the LA Basin under overcast skies from the upper trailhead to the Monrovia Canyon Falls in May 2011. This photo and the subsequent handful of photos in the gallery came from this visit
Monrovia_Cyn_009_05142011 - Julie starting on the Monrovia Canyon Falls Trail beyond the picnic area during our May 2011 visit
Monrovia_Cyn_014_05142011 - Julie on the pleasant hike to Monrovia Canyon Falls in May 2011 despite carrying Tahia on her chest
Monrovia_Cyn_016_05142011 - Julie carrying Tahia in front of her on the mostly gentle uphill trail on the way to the Monrovia Canyon Falls with some narrow stretches
Monrovia_Cyn_042_05142011 - Julie and Tahia checking out the Monrovia Canyon Falls together in May 2011
Monrovia_Canyon_001_04122009 - The main upper parking lot for Monrovia Canyon Falls in April 2009. It was not very busy on this day. By the way, this photo and the rest of the photos in this gallery were taken from that April 2009 visit
Monrovia_Canyon_004_04122009 - The Monrovia Canyon Falls Trail passed by manmade dams like this as seen during our April 2009 visit
Monrovia_Canyon_007_04122009 - Another look at a narrow section of the Monrovia Canyon Falls Trail during our April 2009 visit
Monrovia_Canyon_012_04122009 - Arriving at the Monrovia Canyon Falls in healthy Spring flow in April 2009
Monrovia_Canyon_013_04122009 - My mom checking out Monrovia Canyon Falls in April 2009
Monrovia_Canyon_019_04122009 - Another nature shot of the Monrovia Canyon Falls with its stream in healthy Spring flow in April 2009
Monrovia_Canyon_029_04122009 - Julie reaching for the waters of Monrovia Canyon Falls in healthy Spring flow in April 2009
Monrovia_Canyon_038_04122009 - It can get pretty crowded at Monrovia Canyon Falls, where we made this visit on a weekend in April 2009
Monrovia_Canyon_043_04122009 - Returning to the LA Basin overlook by the upper trailhead parking lot at Monrovia Canyon Park in April 2009

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For a little orientation, Monrovia Canyon Falls sat in the city of Monrovia, which itself was directly east of Pasadena along the 210 Freeway or generally northeast of downtown Los Angeles.

We accessed the falls in a couple of ways – the Mountain Ave exit or the Myrtle Ave exit.

Accessing Monrovia Canyon Park via the Mountain Avenue exit

Recently, we found that the most straightforward route was to take the Mountain Ave exit shortly west of the I-210/I-605 junction in Duarte along the I-210.

Monrovia_Canyon_14_009_04202014 - The parking situation at the upper parking lot for Monrovia Canyon Park was hit and miss. Some days it was busy (like what's shown here) while on other days, there were plenty of parking spaces
The parking situation at the upper parking lot for Monrovia Canyon Park was hit and miss. Some days it was busy (like what’s shown here) while on other days, there were plenty of parking spaces

We then turned right onto Mountain Ave and followed this road past a few traffic lights up to Foothill Blvd.

Turning left onto Foothill Blvd, we then drove west towards the light at Canyon Ave.

Turning right onto Canyon Ave, we then drove up the hill through the residential area before veering right as Canyon Ave continued onto a winding mountain road leading up to Monrovia Canyon Park.

On a recent visit, we noticed signs saying Fountain to the Falls from downtown Monrovia to the Monrovia Canyon Park, but I suspect that was a special event).

Monrovia_Canyon_15_002_07262015 - Looking towards the far end of the upper parking lot for the Monrovia Canyon Park
Looking towards the far end of the upper parking lot for the Monrovia Canyon Park

Anyways, the road eventually led to a manned kiosk where we paid $5 (as of 2014; Forest Service Adventure Passes weren’t honored here) to park in any of the lots starting from the kiosk area all the way up to the top of the road.

In all of our visits, we tended to park at the very top of the road though it wasn’t always easy as the parking situation can be stressful given how popular this place was and how many limited parking spaces were available.

The trailhead was at the parking lot at the very end of the road though there was also a separate trail linking the lower parking areas and cabins with the trail to the falls just below the trail from the main picnic area.

Accessing Monrovia Canyon Park via the Myrtle Avenue exit

Alternatively in the past, we often accessed Monrovia Canyon Falls by taking the I-210 to the Myrtle Avenue exit (west of Mountain Ave exit).

Monrovia_Canyon_Falls_005_11132016 - Looking back at the entrance to the upper parking lot for Monrovia Canyon Park. Just to the left of this photo was the nice overlook towards the Los Angeles Basin
Looking back at the entrance to the upper parking lot for Monrovia Canyon Park. Just to the left of this photo was the nice overlook towards the Los Angeles Basin

Going in this manner, from the Myrtle Ave exit, 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.

Checking out the falls together


Top down sweep of the falls with Mum and Daughter looking on


Fixated on the upper sections of the falls from directly in front of the falls

Tagged with: monrovia, los angeles, arcadia, 210, southern california, california, waterfall, san gabriel



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