Eaton Canyon in Altadena is one of the most popular hikes in the Los Angeles area. The hike leads to a waterfall but has several different streams along the way that a lot of people enjoy playing around in. During COVID 19 there are attempts to keep the hiking trail from becoming too crowded. You must now register ahead of time for the hike. The registration process is free and can be accessed here. Keep reading this post for helpful information about hiking to Eaton Canyon Falls.

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How to Get a Reservation to Hike Eaton Canyon

eaton canyon nature center

As of now, there is no timeframe for how long you will need a reservation in order to hike at Eaton Canyon. However, considering how crowded this spot was the first weekend that it reopened this had to be done for the safety of all the hikers. The trail is open daily and you can register for one of three different time slots.

You can sign up to hike from 8 am to 11 am, 11 am to 2 pm, and 2 pm to 5 pm. Please note that they are checking IDs and registration numbers so you will not be let in without registering. Please use this link to sign up for a date and time to hike.

There isn’t a limit to the number of times that you are able to sign up for the hike so if you would like to do it weekly that is fine.

They did warn us when we checked in that bears and rattlesnakes have been spotted recently. Especially from people being careless with leaving food out and going off the trails. Luckily I did not encounter any dangerous animals.


Due to the limited number of people who can hike at any given time free parking in the nearby lots are plentiful. Near the parking lot you will find portapotties should you need to use them.

Hiking to Eaton Canyon Falls

eaton canyon

Be sure to take the path to the right of the sign. I did some research before my hike and most of what I read said that the hike was around 3.4 miles roundtrip. From the parking lot to the actual waterfall was a little over 2.5 miles according to my apple watch. I did not see a closer parking lot than where I parked and I asked a worker which was the direct trail to the falls. I cannot explain how it seemed to be fewer miles for other people but by the time I got back to my car I had walked 5.22 miles total. We arrived at 1:55 pm for the 2 pm time slot and got back to my car a little after 5 pm.

I felt like we had a pretty good pace and did not overstay at the waterfall but we did take our time crossing over the water. I would allow for a minimum of 2 and a half hours but be prepared that it could take longer.

eaton canyon altadena

You are asked to wear your mask which I did for the majority of the hike. However, there were small patches of time when no one was around me and my boyfriend so we would take them off for a brief moment. And everyone took their masks off for photos under the fall. The only time it was a little difficult to social distance was at the actual waterfall but thanks to the limited number of people I still felt safe.

eaton canyon falls hike

This is one of the best hikes that I have done in the Los Angeles area thanks to the fact that you don’t have to do too much climbing. It is a mainly flat walk until you start getting to the water and then you have to navigate rocks and do a little bit of climbing here and there. I recently got a pair of hiking shoes and this was the perfect way to break them in.

I also brought a pair of flip flops with me which I used off and on to keep my shoes as dry as possible. I would bring multiple pairs of socks next time. The first part of the hike does not have a lot of shade but that changes as you get closer to the water.

Eaton Canyon Falls Hike

This hike was such an enjoyable experience and I am already looking forward to doing it again.

eaton canyon falls hike

The water at the falls is not too deep but I wish I would have worn shorts. The bottom of the water is rocky so I highly recommend water shoes or flipflops. I recently got a waterproof phone pouch and it sure comes in handy at places like this.

Here are some of my other favorite hikes that I’ve done the Los Angeles area: Runyon, Back of the Hollywood Sign, Wisdom Tree.

About The Author

Michelle Ares is the founder and creative director of LA Dreaming. I have a passion for Southern California and love sharing my adventures and experiences with you. I love to travel, find new places to check out, and watch movies. You can follow me on Instagram @la.dreaming

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