Just a half-hour from Los Angeles, in Angeles National Forest, this four-mile hike to Eaton Canyon leads to a 35-foot heart-pumper of a waterslide. Take Eaton Canyon Falls Trail from the nature center and start up an easy 1.1-mile climb along a fire road to the Mt. Wilson Toll Road Bridge. Descend to single-track below and follow it up a streambed through a narrow gorge with oaks and alders hugging the sides. At 1.5 miles, the falls come into view. Passing this way in 1877, John Muir likened the cascade to “a silver instrument in a velvet case.” The falls’ watery roar grows ever louder as you cross two more streams. Get psyched: A short-and-steep rock chute ends with a free fall down the cascade.
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From Los Angeles, take CA 110 north for eight miles. Turn onto S. Arroyo Pkwy., drive 1.3 miles, and turn right onto E. Colorado Blvd. In 2.6 miles, turn left at N. Sierra Madre Blvd., then left at N. Altadena Dr. Turn right into the Nature Area.