This park is truly a hidden gem within the greater Los Angeles area. Monrovia Canyon Park is a great place to enjoy a small slice of nature so grab the kids or dog and enjoy this relaxing and beautiful hike… just don’t expect to find much solitude.
The park is located at 1201 North Canyon Boulevard in Monrovia, CA. The Waterfall Trail has flexibility built into it by providing 3 different locations to begin from. If you park near the park entrance, the hike to the falls is 1.7 miles each way. If you continue further into the park and begin from the middle parking lot and picnic area, the trip to the falls is reduced to 1 mile each way. If you continue further and park near the nature center, the distance is further reduced to 3/4 of a mile each way. This is where we began our hike from.
My young daughters and I visited the Nature Center, and we all liked it very much. It is a very nice facility with detached restrooms and drinking fountains. The park staff was very kind. They had many different exhibits (both live and taxidermied) of plants & animals you could encounter within the park, and several (like the Tarantula) that you most definitely will not. My daughters especially liked the full body deer and the skunk.
I was actually quite surprised to learn of the fairly frequent bear sightings within the park. A ranger said he had seen one just the day before.
The Waterfall Trail is very clearly marked and well maintained. It is also heavily traveled so there is absolutely no way of getting lost unless you intentionally leave the trail.
On our hike we encountered many people of all ages and walks of life, which was refreshing to see. The park rangers were very nice and everyone we encountered along the trail was extremely friendly. Everyone just seemed like they were excited to be out on such a beautiful day.
There are a few shallow water crossings, but my daughters enjoy stepping from rock to rock to avoid getting their feet wet so this was more of a game than an obstacle.
Some parts of the trail get fairly narrow with decent sized drops off the side. Neither my daughters or I found them to be an issue, but you could tell when passing some people coming from the other direction, they were a little nervous.
As you get closer to the water fall, the trail becomes more littered with large rocks.
Once you get to the falls, you can sit and enjoy the white noise, enjoy your snack and wait your turn for your photo op. Like I said, this is a pretty busy place but when you consider you do not have to drive far into the mountains and the beauty & variety of the hike plus the waterfall, it is definitely worth it.
The Monrovia Canyon Park, Waterfall Trail is a fantastic place to go hiking with kids and expose them to how fun and beautiful nature can be… and while doing it, you might just remind yourself!