Thursday, April 23, 2015

HIKING: Tips for Family Friendly Switzer Falls

Last weekend, I was invited by some friends to check out a local hiking trail with their family.  I had never heard of Switzer Falls in San Gabriel Mountains but it sounded like fun.  

The first question I had to ask was how kid friendly was it?  I knew my kids liked hiking but 4.4 miles, round trip sounded a bit much.  I was assured that if the kids were up to the full distance, fine and if not, we could stop at the top of the falls.

My first impression of the drive to the parking lot was that it was only 1- 1/2 hours from Long Beach.  Since it is Angeles National Forest, you can be assured that the road is windy through the mountains.  BEWARE OF CAR SICKNESS!

If your kids get motion sickness at all, give them medicine or have them wear the bracelets.  My son on occasion gets car sickness and he got a bit queasy.

The Switzer Falls parking lot/road is well visible and you drive down to the day campsites.   Be aware, Adventure Passes are required which you can pickup at any Sport Chalet or other sporting goods store.  The lower lot fills up on the weekends and often you have to park in the upper spots.  If this is the case, drop the kids/cooler/adult off at the lower lot and walk down.


There is NO overnight camping however, many people brought coolers and tents to set up for the day.  There were plenty of BBQ's for a fun picnic.

After checking out backpacks for the essentials:

  • Water- we brought hydro-packs
  • Plenty of snacks
  • First Aid kits
  • Whistles(in case we got separated)
  • Sweat-shirt
  • Walking sticks
  • Toilet paper(there are bathrooms but some were out of paper)
  • Anti-bacterial soap
  • OPTIONAL- sandals.  My kids wanted to stick their feet in the water and it was hard with shoes and socks.
We were on our way.  

The hike is filled with wildlife and wonderful scenery.  You cross bridges, walk over streams, see caterpillars and butterflies and LOTS of lizards!  We even walked by a lot of blackberry bushes, although none were ripe.


BEWARE!!! There is A LOT of Poison Oak!  If you do not know what it looks like, here you go.  KEEP ON THE PATH!

We arrived at a fork.  If you took the high road, it leads you to the bottom of the falls.  The straight/left fork, you arrive at the top of the falls.  The kids were getting tired, we took the left route.

The top of the falls is a little rocky and leads to a small pool of water.  The kids needed help getting down to the pool because it is slippery and steep but doable.
We picnic'd at the falls and hiked back to the cars.

The hike took about 2 hours with our breaks and it was enjoyed by the whole family.  Our friends son had a blast becoming the "lizard whisperer" and caught several different lizards teaching us about each one.


We had a great time and I look forward to returning to see the bottom of the falls as well.


  1. I've never been there! This is going on pur summer to-do list!

  2. This looks like a beautiful place to visit and go for a hike.

  3. Fantastic place for family hikes. Kids really love this kind of adventure especially with the trails. Thanks for caution. For easy hikes with toddlers you may also bring a Piggyback Rider standing child carrier for toddlers 2.5 y/o + up to 60lbs.

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