Dan's Hiking Pages: Hikes in the San Gabriels and Beyond
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Fish Canyon Falls
Azusa / Los Angeles County
Angeles National Forest / Southern California

Hike Reports             Boot Hike Description (Complete trail guide)

Fish Canyon Falls I’ve been enjoying adventures to Fish Canyon Falls since 1997. At that time the Azusa Rock quarry at the mouth of the canyon was owned by CalMat, which denied the public access through the quarry. My first experience with CalMat was a sour one and I did not return to Fish Canyon for the rest of the CalMat regime. At the end of 1998, CalMat Company agreed to be acquired by Vulcan Materials Company—the nation's largest maker of construction materials—for $760 million in cash (read L.A. Times story here). Vulcan took control of Azusa Rock in 1999 and a new era for Fish Canyon began.

My first trip to Fish Canyon Falls under the Vulcan era was with some friends on June 22, 2004. On April 23, 2005 Vulcan began to provide free access days on select Saturdays, which began my annual spring visits to Fish Canyon. Vulcan’s access days lasted nine years to June 2013. My last access day hike was on April 6, 2013.

Below are accounts and photos of all my hikes to Fish Canyon Falls beginning with one in the CalMat era, and hikes every year while Vulcan provided the free access days.

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Report Hike report: Fish Canyon Falls - May 24, 1997   camera Photos

Fish Canyon Falls, May 24, 1997 When I bought John Robinson’s Trails of the Angeles: 100 Hikes in the San Gabriels on April 25, 1995 (6th Edition, Jan. 1990), I began to comb through the book with eagerness to explore the San Gabriels. I was immediately drawn to Fish Canyon as it was billed as "one of the top natural attractions of the San Gabriels Mountains.” Robinson writes, “In spring, when the water runs high, the falls are a spectacular delight, plunging some eighty feet in stairway fashion into an emerald pool.” And it was practically in back yard in Azusa. Robinson went on to write,
Sadly, access to this superb natural attraction is difficult, even though the falls are only 2˝ miles from the roadhead. The nemesis is in the form of the Azusa Rock Company, a division of Cal Mat Corporation, which is quarrying the mouth of Fish Canyon operating under a permit given it by the City of Azusa in 1956 (before an Environmental Impact Report was required), Azusa Rock has fenced off the canyon mouth and stationed a guard to keep hikers off its quarrying operation. That was done even though the public has a legal right-of-way up the canyon.
In February 1997 I heard that CalMat was providing some shuttle access through the quarry on select days. I just had to go.

Hike Log
Fish Canyon Trail

8:04 A: Car
8:45 B: Bridge
Beginning of trail
9:04/9:10 C: Cabin Foundation
9:35 D: First Switchback
10:07/10:13 E: Tributary Stream
10:20 F: Creek Crossing
10:35/1:00 G: Fish Canyon Falls
1:12 F: Creek Crossing
1:18 E: Tributary Stream
1:43 D: First Switchback
1:57 C: Cabin Foundation
2:06 B: Bridge
Beginning of trail
First thing that Saturday morning, I took my son Micah and his friend Ricky for our first adventure in Fish Canyon. We drove into the quarry entrance and parked in the spaces next to the office. There was no one around and we didn’t see any signs regarding the hike. After waiting a while we figured we would start walking through the quarry to the trail. After about 10 minutes a white van raced up to us. The driver stopped and began to berate us for being there. He asked where I was parked and when I told him he scrolled me and said the parking lot was down the road and that I was to move my car immediately. He wouldn’t even give us a ride back. He wanted to punish us for being horrible people. We walked back, re-parked the car down road a quarter mile, then walked back to the quarry office. The van driver then drove us through the quarry, seething at us the whole time. What a sad soul he was. And what a first experience in Fish Canyon!

Once over the footbridge and into the national forest, we enjoyed the amazing canyon. The dominate memory I have of the hike was the poison oak; it was abundant and intruded into the trail often. It took lot of vigilance to avoid it.

Fish Canyon Falls, May 22, 1997 10:35 - Fish Canyon Falls. Wow, what a spectacular waterfall. We had the setting to ourselves. We explored around and took pictures from different angles.

Soon I was pleasantly surprised to see Gwen, one of my coworkers, and her son Arron. It was Gwen who led an office hike to Millard Canyon Falls in April 1995 and introduced me to hiking in the San Gabriels. Two weeks later I bought Trails of the Angeles and my Great Hiking Era was born. I visited with Gwen as we watched her teenage son free climb the rock face to the left of the falls. To me that didn’t seem to be a very safe activity. Thankful he survived without incident.

We left the falls at 1:00 and retraced our steps down the trail and crossed the bridge back to the quarry road at 2:06.

I did not return to Fish Canyon under the CalMat regime (Vulcan acquired the quarry in 1999 and my next visit was not until June 2004). icon

Report Hike report: Fish Canyon Falls - June 22, 2004   camera Photos

Hike Log
Fish Canyon Trail

5:56 B: Creek / Bridge
Beginning of trail
Sign: Fish Canyon Falls - 2
6:06 C: Cabin Foundation / Sign
6:16 D: First Switchback
6:30 E: Creek Crossing
6:40/7:13 F: Fish Canyon Falls
7:23 E: Creek Crossing
7:36 D: First Switchback
6:06 C: Cabin Foundation / Sign
7:52 B: Creek / Bridge
Beginning of trail
The day after summer solstice is a great time for an after-work hike. And with the June gloom hazing up the visibility, a canyon hike to a falls is ideal. So me, Drew, Andrew, Ryan, and Steve headed up to the Fish Canyon trailhead.

Once on the trail, I was pleasantly surprised. It's been seven years since I hiked it, and one of my dominant recollections were large amounts of poison oak encroaching upon the trail. Many places we had to tiptoe through, making the hike tedious. But today the trail is in excellent condition and the poison oak is cut back to a safe distance, although you'll still need to be on your guard for the obnoxious plant.

This hike enjoys some mild roller coaster action as it generally climbs north up canyon. The trail tread is in good condition and well traveled. Spruce, alder, oak, and sycamore provide a delightful canopy in many places. Wild flowers are still in bloom. Poison oak, even this early in the season, provides a splash of rich red, orange, and yellow colors. The stream is never too far below, often graced with quite pools. The rugged canyon walls rise steeply.

On the Fish Canyon Trail
Andrew, Drew, Dan, Ryan in the back, and Steve behind the camera, stopping to read an interpretive sign.
I would have enjoyed going a little slower and just soaking in the rustic beauty of this canyon, but our pace was quick since we wanted to complete the hike before darkness sets in.

As we approached the bend before the falls, the quietness was a little disconcerting. As we rounded the bend, a waterless falls stood before us. Only a trickle of moister wetted the massive rock face of the normally showy water falls. Photo

A couple sitting adjacent to the falls was startled when we arrived. They were the only others we saw the whole trip on this Tuesday evening.

Andrew was lured into jumping off a rock 20 feet into a large green pool. He climbed back up the rocks and jumped again. Drew joined him. The delightful setting around the falls tempted us to linger, but good sense prompted us to leave with enough time on the clock to make it safely back before dark.

What a nice hike! Photo icon

The Era of Vulcan Access Days - April 2005 - June 2013

Report Hike report: Fish Canyon Falls - April 23, 2005   camera Photos

Three cheers for Jason Talley, Azusa Rock General Foreman for Vulcan Materials! After years of limit access to the trail, Jason took the initiative to provide shuttle service through the quarry for four Saturdays (April 23 and 30, May 7 and 14, 2005). I had not heard about it until I showed up at the trailhead about 7:00 on Saturday morning (4/23) hoping to find a way through the quarry. And to my delight, there was Jason and a big white van. I climbed into the van with about six other hikers and Jason chauffeured us through the quarry to the beginning of the trail. We were the second group.

7:10 a.m. - Begin hike at the bridge. The trail was in excellent condition, having been freshly worked for the Duarte Wilderness Days the previous weekend. Along the way were three wooden signs, "Cabin Flats," "Old Cheezer Mine," and "Darlin' Donna Falls." About half way up the trail I passed a father and his son.

Dan Simpson at Fish Canyon Falls, April 23, 2005 7:56 - Arrived at the falls, which were quite showy as a result of the heavy rain we had been having. When I arrived at the falls there were four others there. In the hour and 45 minutes I spent at the falls, there was as constant flow of happy hikers arriving. I enjoyed visiting with various ones. I met Joe and Linda from Hungry. He had a GPS - the coordinates near the base of the falls read N 34.18108° and W 117.92519°, elev. 1326'.

While at the falls I did some exploring up the east ravine. Took a pic looking back at the falls through the trees. Went as far as I could safely. Would be fun to come back again with some equipment and partners to explore further.

9:45 - Left falls. As I hiked back, hikers kept coming up the trail. What a pleasure to see so many people getting to experience this delightful canyon! Met Cliff and Gabi McLean, naturalists who were most gracious in answering my questions about plants.

11:17 - Reached the junction where the trial heads up to Van Tassel ridge. I decided to take that route, having not done that section before. Somewhat steep and overgrown. Lush and green. I came to a place where poison oak had completely blocked the trail, and there was no way around it. Thankfully I had my trusty clippers and work gloves with me ... oops, I must have left my gloves near the falls after I had explored the ravine! Drat! Well, I was already a good way up the mountain so wasn't about to turn back. So without my gloves, I carefully clipped a tunnel through the poison oak and continued along. The trail achieves several spots along the ascending ridge which yielded great views down into the quarry. Very jungle-like surroundings. Saw a rattlesnake sunning himself on some branches.

12:50 - Finally reached Van Tassel Ridge at the forest boundary. Spent 20 minutes eating and resting. The route down the ridge had been freshly cut with a bulldozer and was quite steep with perilously loose footing. Previously when I had hiked up to that from the south, the fire break had several years of wear and growth, making it safe to hike up. But the fresh grading not only horribly scared the mountain, it was unsafe to walk on. Obviously Vulcan had no regard for hikers who use that route. As I headed down I met a young man who was coming up. He was quite sweaty, red-faced, and panting from the steep climb and the hot sun. He had started from the trailhead and was hiking to Fish Canyon Falls via the absurd route up the ridge—he didn't know about the van shuttle that day! Poor guy! I continued down. I found that the old trail that skirted the firebreak was pretty badly deteriorated and that the berms caused from the fresh road grating obliterated the access to the trail. When I reached the junction to the haul road down into quarry, I decided to head down that route rather down the trail. The "No Trespassing" sign had been bulldozed over and was face down, so technically there was nothing telling me I couldn't use that route. At 1:55 I started down the haul road and reached the canyon bottom at 2:21. I hitched a ride with a passing van back to the parking lot. Had a good conversion with Jason Tally and James from Vulcan.

2:43 - Left for home. What a full and adventurous day. icon

Report Hike report: Fish Canyon Falls - May 14, 2005   camera Photos

Fish Canyon Falls, May 15, 2005 I so thoroughly enjoyed my hike to Fish Canyon Falls three weeks ago, I decided I would again take advantage of a Vulcan access, and this time joined by my friend, Drew. When we arrived at the trailhead parking lot at about 7:30, I was amazed to see it packed full of cars. In talking with Dennis, a Vulcan employee, he said the numbers had been growing weekly. The falls were flowing strong. While at the falls, at one point, I counted 40 people, and we passed many coming and going. As I chatted with various ones, I found that many of them had already hiked to Fish Canyon these four weeks and were doing it again, just as I was. As we were walking back, a county helicopter flew over heading up canyon. Back at the bridge, there are 10 hikers waiting for shuttle. At the end of the day, the official count was more than 300! Again, I was pleased to see so many enjoying this natural resource.

One amazing thing is worth noting. When we arrived at the lookout spot above the falls, there were my work gloves sitting right there in plane view on the rock just where I left them two weeks earlier! Hundreds of people walked right by them, and no one took them. Absolutely amazing. icon

Report Hike report: Fish Canyon Falls - May 13, 2006   camera Photos

Once again Vulcan offered free shuttle service through the quarry on four Saturdays in April and May this year. I had to join in for my second annual visit to Fish Canyon.

Started the hike about 9:00 after being dropped off by the shuttle at the bridge. Pleasant weather. When I got to the location of Darlin' Donna Falls, I noticed the sign was gone. Wonder where it went. Met a couple, Paul and Susan, with whom I enjoyed good conversation. Paul also had some knowledge about plants and so we enjoyed identifying flora together. He was gracious enough to send me some plant photos from the hike. See morning glory. I reached Fish Canyon Falls at 9:53. Left the falls at 10:45 and arrived back at the bridge at 11:46. icon

Report Hike report: Fish Canyon Falls - May 20, 2006   camera Photos

I had such an enjoyable time the last week, I decided to hike to the falls a second week in a row. Somehow I forgot my watch, so I felt kind of handicapped in not being able to keep an accurate hike log. Started the hike about 7:30 and reached the falls at 8:05 according to the watch of another hiker. Had a nice conversation with a Dan and Dave. Left the falls at 9:30.

On the way back I was doing some plant study to refresh my mind as to the names of various plants. As I was examining a shrub, an older gentleman walking up the trial asked what I was looking at. I told him I wasn't sure if it was lemonadeberry or sugar bush. He said sugar bush and begin to go into detailed explanation. I quickly knew that he had some real expertise and so I asked him who he was. He said his name is Bob Muns. I responded, "Oh, I know who you are!" I own a couple of his little plant guides that I had brought from the Eaton Canyon Nature Center a couple years earlier. So I spent some time with Mr. Muns and gleaned as much as I could from him. He was most generous in sharing his knowledge with me. Some of the plants he pointed out were foothill ash (looks like elderberry), honeysuckle, yellow star lily, blue dicks, mountain mahogany, California everlasting (nice fragrance), felt-leaf everlasting (whitish leaves similar to white sage), sugar bush, and lanceleaf dudleya.

What was interesting to me was that last year, April 23, 2005, I met Cliff and Gabi McLean on the trail. They are both well known in the community for their efforts in being docents and disseminators of knowledge about nature (see their website, NatureAtHand.com). I spent some time with them on the trail and they were very gracious in sharing their knowledge with me. And the very next week I ran into my friend Bill Hogshead (we both volunteer with the San Gabriel Mountains Trailbuilders). Bill is quite knowledgeable about plants and so I was able to glean from him. Fish Canyon has become quite valuable to me for serendipitous nature lessons (see Plants in Fish Canyon).

These Vulcan access days to Fish Canyon Falls are a great service to the public. This year more than 1,000 happy hikers enjoyed a stroll to the showy waterfall. I thrououghly enjoyed my two visits and was delighted to see so many people enjoying this great resource. Special thanks to Jansen Talley, Plant Supervisor, and Atisthan Roach, Community Outreach Manager. icon

Report Hike report: Fish Canyon Falls - November 8, 2006   camera Photos

Fish Canyon Falls, November 8, 2006 Vulcan has branched out of the springtime mode in offering Fish Canyon access days and scheduled one for late fall. I signed in at 7:07, rode the van to the bridge, and began the hike at 7:10. The creek was flowing nicely. I was hoping to be dazzled by fall colors but they were not impressive. Only a few big-leaf maples and sycamores along the canyon bottom had some leaves with color. The weather was nice. I was disappointed that some new graffiti has appeared.

I arrived at the falls at about 8:00 (forgot may watch so have to rely on others for the time). The falls are flowing nicely but not as showy as earlier in the year. Met Norm and Sabrina and their four kids. They recognized me from Dan’s Hiking Pages. Had a nice chat. I leave the falls at about 9:00 as a group of about 10 arrived. Enjoyed a pleasant stroll back through the beautiful canyon. Back at the bridge I waited about 10 or 12 minutes for the van. Signed out at 10:00. What a nice hike! I appreciate Vulcan providing these access days.

I’ve now hiked to Fish Canyon Falls seven times in five different months—February, April, May (3 times), June, and November. I definitely like the springtime best. icon

Report Hike report: Fish Canyon Falls - May 5, 2007   camera Photos

Dan Simpson at Fish Canyon Falls, May 5, 2007
May 5, 2007 - Photo by Richard Norman
View Large Photo
Now a third annual event for me, I took advantage of Vulcan Materials' free shuttle through the quarry to the start of the trail. I knew that of their four weeks offering the event, this was the only day that would be feasible for me. My wife had to use the car for taking our daughters to their early morning events, so I did not get to the Vulcan parking lot until after 11:30. I signed in and jumped into the van with two other hikers, Richard and Patrick.

11:43 - Started the hike. Ended up hiking with Richard and Patrick the whole way to the falls. Patrick does a lot of hiking in the San Gabriels so we enjoyed swapping stories. The weather was a little cool and breezy, but pleasant. There were not many blooming flowers this year, probably because of the scant rainfall. We passed dozens of hikers who were coming back. At the creek crossing was a newly installed wooden footbridge. I suspect it was put in for the Duarte Wilderness Day two weeks earlier. Richard hiked it that day and said that there was a bunch of kids panning for gold in the creek.

12:35 - Fish Canyon Falls. Not as spectacular as last year, but still quite impressive. A few people there. People coming and going. I looked around the falls. Richard snapped a picture of me and graciously emailed it to me. Richard and Patrick left. I ate some lunch.

1:40 - Left falls. Few more people coming up—passed them between the falls and the creek. Made a short side trip to check out Darlin' Donna Falls. Two young gals were hanging out by the "spiral staircase." I encountered no one else for the rest of the walk back. I sauntered along and enjoyed the solitude and soaked in the beauty of this special place.

2:43 - Back to the bridge at the beginning of the trail. A van was waiting for me. Back at the Vulcan office I signed out. Amy added up the official count for the day—163 hikers. Thanks again to Jason Talley and all his team for providing this much-appreciated service to the public. icon

Report Hike report: Fish Canyon Falls - 07-07-07   camera Photos

I had a lot of my plate for the weekend, so I decided to do just do a quickie hike on Saturday morning. I had heard that Vulcan Materials was offering another Saturday of free shuttle through the quarry to the start of the trail. (I did not have a chance to post the announcement on my website because I was having problems with my Internet service provider.). A primary reason for going was to see how much water was left resulting from the record-low rainfall this year.

7:05 a.m. - Signed in and jumped in the van that just returned from taking the first group to the trailhead. Two others climbed in after me.

7:07 - Took note that it was 7:07 07-07-07. How cool is that?!

7:10 - Started the hike. Within a couple minutes I decided to try out my new camera by photographing some California Milkweed (Round-hooded Milkweed) (Asclepias californica). In spite of stopping along the way to take pictures, I remained well ahead of the couple who was behind me. The weather was pleasant with a little overcast and the steep canyon wall blocking the early morning sun.

7:54 - Took a side trip to look at Darlin' Donna Falls. I was pleasantly surprised that it still was flowing quite nicely. Took a pic.

7:59 - Crossed the main creek. Hmmm, no water. It was completely dry. In a few more minutes I stopped and talked with Kurt and Elsa, who were coming down. They reported that the falls were dry. After a nice conversation, I continued the few more minutes to the falls.

8:22 - Fish Canyon Falls. It was dry! I had expected to at least see a trickle of moisture wetting the rock face and dribbling into a shallow pool. But there was none. Just two months earlier the falls were flowing quite well. I had never seen it dry.

Chatted with Lin and Gala. He took my picture. They left and I stood in the dry pool and snapped some more pics. Dick and Rolland arrived. Enjoyed swapping hiking stories.

9:07 - Left falls, tagging along with Dick and Rolland. We stopped to view Darlin' Donna. More hikers were heading to the waterless falls. Sun was out now and getting warm.

Nearing the site of Old Cheezer Mine, we met Bob Muns, amateur botanist and author of a number of plant guides. I first met Mr. Muns on May 20, 2006 on the same trail.

10:45 - End hike. Took pic of my new friends Rolland and Dick. Waited a few minutes for the van. Others joined us. Back at the sign-in table I visited with Erick from Vulcan and I counted about 55 hikers who had signed-in up to that point. Even without water in the falls it was very pleasant outing. icon

Fish Canyon Falls
May 5, 2007 - Photo by Richard Norman
View Large Photo
Fish Canyon Falls
July 7, 2007 - Dry as a bone! There was only a small puddle of water in the narrow crease at the edge of the pool.

Report Hike report: Fish Canyon Falls - March 8, 2008   camera Photos

Fish Canyon Falls, March 8, 2008
Nick and Jyoti - March 8, 2008 View Large Photo
The last time I hiked Fish Canyon (7-7-07) the falls were completely dry. So I decided to take advantage of Vulcan's free shuttle access. The weather was sunny and pleasant, but a little hazy—a perfect day for a canyon hike. When I signed in at 9:31, 138 hikers had already signed in. Started the hike at 9:35. The grasses and herbaceous plants were lush green from the abundant rains this season, but the deciduous trees were still pretty leafless. Not a lot of flowers in bloom yet, but I took pictures of the primary ones I saw: vinca, blue dicks, lupine, wild cucumber blossum and fruit, everlasting. Along the way I ran into Paul, who I first met on the Fish Canyon Trail on May 13, 2006.

Arrived at the falls at 10:40 and counted about 25 people. The falls were quite showy. Met Nick, who recognized me from this website. I enjoyed visiting with him and his wife, Jyoti.

Left the falls at 11:35 with clippers in hand, trimming poison oak along the way. Encountered three people with dogs not on leashes. I'm not shy in telling them that the dogs need to be on leashes. I wish I had the authority to issue citations. Met a gentleman who had looked up this hike on my website that morning. Ended hike at 1:15. The final count was 179 hikers. Thank you to Erick and Amy of Vulcan for manning the sign-in table, and thank you to the van drivers. icon

Report Hike report: Fish Canyon Falls - May 10, 2008   camera Photos

Another Vulcan access gave me the opportunity to visit my beloved falls for the second time this season. I was eager to see how the scenery had changed in two months. I arrived at the Vulcan office at 10:30 and boarded a van to be shuttled through the quarry to the bridge.

10:36 - Began hike. The stream was flowing nicely. The canyon was green and beautiful but the weedy grasses were yellowing up. It was gloomy with great lighting to photograph flowers: Spanish broom, elegant clarkia, common sunflower, mustard, caterpillar phacelia, blue dicks, chamise, oleander, eupatory, Botta’s clarkia, matilija poppy, golden stars, fairy lantern, sticky monkeyflower, common yarrow, golden yarrow, and Himalayan blackberry. The deciduous trees and shrubs had filled out with leaves since March. I was enjoying the beauty of the canyon. There were lots of hikers on the trail coming and going. Had a nice chat with Jay and his son Matt.

I took a side jaunt to Darlin’ Donna Falls and it was flowing nicely. I climbed the bank to get a view of the upper tier.

12:18 - Crossed the main creek. It was flowing moderately and easy to cross. I enjoyed the rugged scenery and the cloud cover keeping the temps down.

12:32 - Arrived at the falls. They were quite showy. There were about 12 people there in parties of two. Soon a family of five arrived. As the sun cut through the clouds it created nice lighting for taking pictures. I always love this place.

1:02 - Left the falls. I retrace my steps down the trail. I had the beautiful canyon to myself. The hazy sun lights the scenery. Figs were growing. I stopped to get some close-up shots of the Dan tree just past Old Cheezer (of course I don’t condone vandalizing trees!). I chat with a couple guys at Polly’s cabin site.

2:17 - Cross bridge and end hike. A van was waiting. I signed out at 2:22. There were 225 visitors signed in for the day. What a thoroughly enjoyable hike! Thank you to Vulcan for providing these access days. icon

Report Hike report: Fish Canyon Falls - July 12, 2008   camera Photos

Fish Canyon Falls, Angeles National Forest, July 12, 2008 I was contacted by a gentleman named Gregory who was scouting a location for a film he was working on. A site in Fish Canyon had potential, so we planned the hike to take advantage of Vulcan's free shuttle access day. I had hiked to Fish Canyon in July for the first time last year (7-7-07) and the falls were completely dry. We’ll see what they are like this year.

We sign in at 7:12 a.m. There are two parties with a total of seven already signed in. We jump into the waiting van and ride to the bridge. We enjoy the trail to ourselves as we stroll up canyon. The trees and vegetation are green while the weedy grasses are dead and brown. A dozen stalks from the agave cactus rise high into the sky sporting the greenish yellow flower clusters.

8:40 - Fish Canyon Falls. We are pleased that the falls are still flowing, but modestly. The sun is about half way down the face of the falls. There are seven people here. Soon they leave and others arrive. We leave the falls at 9:30.

When we get to the tree of heaven jungle we study the fork in the trail. The short film Gregory is working on is based on Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken,” so we were examining that spot as a possible location of a fork in the road. Trail fork in tree of heaven jungle, Fish Canyon Trail, Angeles National Forest, July 12, 2008 There is no sign pointing which route to take, so I mentioned to Gregory that hikers usually select the path that appears to be most traveled. At that moment a group of Cub Scouts comes walking up and the boy leading says, “Which way do we go?” Then he just chooses the way most traveled. Great illustration to my point! I later learned the cubmaster was David with Pack 979 from Norwalk.

We arrived back at Vulcan's office at 11:00. Enjoyable hike. So far 112 hikers in 24 parties have signed in. Turned out that the site would not work for the film. icon

Report Hike report: Fish Canyon Falls - January 10, 2009   camera Photos

On Thursday, January 8 I received an email from Vulcan Materials announcing an access day for Fish Canyon Falls on Saturday. I was a little surprised by late notice, and they don’t usually start the access days until the spring. But I didn’t have any plans for Saturday and a hike to one of my favorite destinations would be a nice way to start my hiking year.

As I get ready during the 7 o’clock hour on Saturday morning, I see the thermometer reads 47 degrees! Burrr! Upon arriving at Vulcan at about 8:15 I am surprised that there are no cars in the lot. I am only the second one to sign in. A party of three signed in at 7:15. I was hoping there would be enough visitors to make Vulcan’s effort worth while. Enjoy a short visit with Jason Talley and Amy as they drive me to the trailhead.

8:24 - Begin hike after starting the tracking on my GPS. I’ve never hiked Fish Canyon in January so am interested to see what it is like. It sure feels cold. The grasses are coming in and providing a nice green hue to the ground. Leafs on some trees are golden yellow while other trees are leafless, and still others are green as they are all year round. Leaves crunch beneath my feet. Toyon berries add a splash of red to the winter scene. I’m enjoying the peaceful solitude.

8:48 - Arrive at Old Cheezer Mine site where I observe the first blooming plants of morning—three yellows: a lone sunflower plant, cape ivy, and sow thistle (I saw no other flowers in bloom the entire hike except for some fuchsia near the falls). At 9:04 I finally reach a patch of sun gracing the trail and I appreciate the warmth. The chaparral-covered slopes of the canyon don’t feel much different from season to season, but in the riparian community along the canyon bottom, it sure feels like winter.

At 9:07 the party of three pass me on the way out. Could it be that I would have Fish Canyon Falls to myself? Bypass Darlin’ Donna Falls as I’m eager for the big prize. Arrive at the creek and observe that someone had placed the remains of the wood bridge to help ford the slow-moving water. Climb the final stretch in shade as I’m eager to see the falls.

Fish Canyon Falls, Angeles National Forest, January 10, 2009 9:36 - Fish Canyon Falls. Wow, I am at Fish Canyon Falls all alone—a rare experience on access days! The large black willow next to the pool graces the scene with a beautiful cloud of yellow leaves. I get busy snapping some pictures while the falls are still in full shadow. Not a terribly impressive display of water, but enough for a pleasant setting. My solitude doesn’t last long; at 8:44 I am startled by another hiker who arrives. His name is Steve and we enjoy swapping stories and talking about hiking—find we know some of the same people. A few minutes later a family of four arrives. His name is Steve also and he has a copy of the Fish Canyon page from my website. We enjoy good conversation. Meet Rey and his family. Swap more stories about hiking the San Gabriels. One of the things I like about hiking to Fish Canyon on access days is meeting lots of good folks. The sun begins to creep down the face of the falls and by 10:25 reaches the main pool. Pose for a shot.

10:52 - Leave falls. I’m enjoying some warm sunshine. The sun low in the winter sky casts different shadows than in the late spring and summer. Crossing the creek I meet two couples from La Habra who didn’t realize this is a day Vulcan provides free shuttle rides. They had hiked the absurdly grueling route up and over Van Tassel Ridge, much to their regret.

I take the side jaunt to Darlin’ Donna Falls and it is flowing well. I haven’t seen a single leaf of poison oak anywhere en route (it goes dormant in winter), so unsuspecting visitors may not be aware of its presence and unwittingly experience the toxic oil still very present on the leafless branches.

When I arrive at Old Cheezer’s I am delighted to run into Cliff and Gabi McLean—who I first met while on this trail on April 23, 2005. I see them just about every year. They’ve been instrumental in helping a lot of people learn of about plants in our local ecosystems. They alert me that their new plant CD is now available (www.natureathand.com). They also mention that the cape ivy (delairea odorata)—the plant with the yellow flowers I photographed on the way in—is an aggressively invasive species which can be extremely difficult to control and eradicate.

I always appreciate the old-school craftsmanship of various trail features. The day is warming up so I take off my long-sleeved shirt. Moving quickly now because I told the wife I’d be home by 12:30.

12:02 - Finish hike. I cross the bridge and board a waiting van piloted by Erick. Back at the registration table the sign-in log lists 50 hikers in 26 parties for the day. That’s pretty meager compared to typical access days in the spring, but no doubt due partly to a short notice (the press release came out in the Tribune this morning). Talk with Jim Gore (Permitting & Government Affairs Manager for Vulcan’s Western Division) and he tells me that they will be expanding the number of access days over the next months and will be launching a website with the dates (www.azusarock.com). That’s a good thing. I always appreciate Jason, Erick, Amy and the other good folks at Vulcan for providing this splendid opportunity for the community to enjoy one of our local treasures. icon

Report Hike report: Fish Canyon Falls - April 25, 2009   camera Photos

Fish Canyon Falls, Angeles National Forest, April 25, 2009 It’s springtime and that means my annual spring visit to Fish Canyon. This will be the fourth year in a row that Vulcan Materials is providing free shuttle rides through the quarry on select Saturdays. I sign in at 8:15. There are already 57 in 18 parties, including groups of 13 and 14. I meet Ted, Yervand, Al, Steve, Rich, and his 2 sons (and their dog), who signed in right after me. We board the van and off we go.

8:28 - Begin hike with my new friends. The creek is flowing and everything is green. The canyon is still in its morning shadows and there are some patchy clouds overhead. We wander along and enjoy good conversation and the beauty of the canyon. The tree of heaven jungle is coming back to life and poison oak is sporting its new leaves, shiny with the toxic oil. Flowers in bloom include common sunflower (of course), California thistle, blue dicks, western wallflower, Spanish broom, wild morning glory, common yarrow, sticky monkeyflower, spreading larkspur, eupatory, caterpillar phacelia, canyon sweet pea, woodland star, tree tobacco, and everlasting. Others hikers pass us heading down.

9:09 - Creek crossing. It is flowing modestly and we cross easily. The home-made wooden bridge that I first saw in January is still here, but certainly won’t endure. We climb the east canyon wall…still in the shade. I love how green everything is in contrast to my hike in January where with its bare trees and winter feel.

9:24 - Fish Canyon Falls. The falls are flowing moderately and not as showy as in past years. The sunshine is muted making for nice lighting for pictures. There are about 20 people here. We enjoy the wonderful setting. Still more arrive as others leave.

10:46 - Leave falls. A large group is coming up making it a little congested on the narrow trail. Cross the creek at 11:05. We skipped visiting Darlin’ Donna and either pass. Enjoy our return trip as the sun struggles to cut through the clouds.

11:36 - End hike. We board the van at 11:38 and sign out at 11:45. By that point there was a total of 173 hikers in 46 groups, including one group of 30. What a nice outing! icon

Report Hike report: Fish Canyon Falls - March 27, 2010   camera Photos

I always look forward to the Fish Canyon access days provided by Vulcan Materials in the springtime. The access day earlier in the month was cancelled because of rain, so I was eager to hit the trail today.

8:10 a.m. - Arrive at the Vulcan parking lot. Lots of cars already and about 35 people waiting for the shuttle van. I sign in at 8:15 and am happy to immediately get a place on the van as a solo hiker.

8:20 - Start the hike. Everyone else on that van load is ahead of me on the trail, so I have some solitude as I cross the bridge and start up the trail. The temperature is brisk and the stream is flowing briskly. I'm snapping pictures like crazy with my new camera. Everything still in shade at this point. The beauty of the canyon is hard to capture in a picture.

Blooming plants along the way include blue dicks, sunflower, wallflower, vinca, lotus, eupatory, everlasting, larkspur. Stepped into the first sun at 8:46. Pictures more vibrant now. More blooming flowers include Bermuda buttercup, wild cucumber, purple thistle, and California buckwheat.

8:56 - Arrive at the junction for Daring Donna Falls and decided to take a side jaunt to visit this charming falls. A family followed me and seemed pleased by the discovery.

9:02 - Reach the creek crossing as hikers are negotiating the makeshift rock and log bridge/dam. Water is running swiftly. Now for the final quarter mile climb to the falls on the east canyon wall. Pass a dozen people. Getting eager now.

9:15 - Fish Canyon Falls. What a great sight! Lots of water and lots of people. And a few dogs. Meet Hank from Azusa who recognizes me from the website. He's a trail runner. Nice conversation. Meet Matt, a Scout leader from La Canada, who I had corresponded with via email. Great to see fathers participating with their sons in Scouting. Meet Javier from Long Beach who recognizes me from the website. Enjoy watching all the people enjoy the falls. Stream of people keeps coming. A dog fetches a tennis ball in the chilly water. Lots of pictures being snapped. I do a head count of about 85 people. Falls in full sun now yielding nice photos. Really love this place. Have my customary picture snapped.

10:35 - Leave the falls. Head back at a leisurely pace soaking in the scenery. Still people coming and going but I enjoy some pockets of solitude. Encounter Boy Scout Troop 414 from Azusa coming up the trail. That was my son's first scout troop. Stop to photograph poison oak—tons of it on this trail. Sun is out in full; such a nice day for a hike. Stop for more flower pictures. Trail crew from Duarte working on the trail. Gentlemen was fishing near Old Cheezer mine site. He hasn't caught anything yet, but could see trout in the water. Met Debbie Kolodji, who I came in contact with through a Fish Canyon assess day a couple years ago. Love the sections where the trail comes near the creek—amazing beauty.

11:55 - Arrive at the junction to the trail that goes up to Van Tassel Ridge. It's been five years since I had hiked on that trail, so I decide on a lark to wander up the trail a little bit just to take in the views and check out the trail conditions. A few minutes up the trail I get a bird's eye view down on about 30 people waiting for the van. It really is a pretty decent trail aside from being quite steep, particularly in the upper sections. Maintenance had been recently done on the trail and I don't encounter the poison oak obstructions that I had previously. The jungle-like vegetation provides nice shade and a very pleasing environment.

12:11 - Get a great view down into the quarry. Several more will follow as I climb. The trail gets crazy steep, but the shade helps. Everything is lush and green from the good rains we have had.

12:30 - Reach a flat spot that spurs off the trail providing great views. In the middle of the clearing is a triangulation marker from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. I take 10 minutes and eat a bite as I'm bit by a bunch of little black bugs. The sun is warm. Can see Fish Canyon Trail below. Back on trail, still steep. The battery to my new camera dies at 12:53. Darn this lithium-ion battery! Trail gets less steep as it approaches the ridge and the shade disappears.

12:57 - Finally reach the fence marking the boundary between that national forest and the quarry. Take a pic with my Blackberry. No signal to call. A lone hiker climbs the ridge from the south. What a gruelling ascent in the hot sun. We chat briefly. He heads toward the falls. My intent is to retraces my steps back into Fish Canyon, but then I consider descending Van Tassel Ridge. As I start down the incredibly steep dozer cut, I have second thoughts. A couple comes climbing up. We chat. I decide to continue down, since I've been needing to revisit this "trail" and I might as well do it now, and going downhill! The descent is tedious and slow with perilously loose footing. This "trail" is absurd and probably easier climbing than descending.

1:40 - Finally reach the quarry road junction. I traverse along the fence that separates the narrow trail and the quarry road as I head south toward Diamond Head. Glad to be on reasonably flat ground for a short while, even though the vegetation crowds the trail. As I descend through the jungle area, a party of four men where coming up, red faced, sweaty, huffing, and not realizing that this was an access day with a free shuttle ride through the quarry! They seem bummed. Curious to me that someone would begin a hike after noon on a hot day up a steep, sun-soaked trail. The jungle area is green and lush, but I must be vigilant to avoid the abundant poison oak mixed in with the other vegetation. Parts of the trail have bad footing.

1:52 - Reach the ridge and begin my decent. The mountainside is exceedingly steep and the views of Duarte and beyond are striking. Lots of wildflowers add a nice touch of color: A spectrum of purples—lupine, blue bells, thistle—is accented with yellow mustard. Bummed that I can't take pictures. The trail is as bad as I remember it—narrow, steep, unsafe footing in places, climbing over rocks, and crowded with unrestrained vegetation. I am still chagrined by the ignorant, misguided souls who led the building of this horrible "trail." The descent is slow and laborious and the sun is warm. I meet a couple with a young child on his back. They are struggle up the trail. Someone had pointed them to this route to catch the shuttle to the falls! I continue down; they follow. I'm so ready to be done with this hike.

2:33 - The trail cuts back south for its final stretch to the trailhead. Somehow I loose the route and end up on the road about 40 yards north of the trailhead parking lot. Stupid trail. I slowly stroll up the paved road to the Vulcan office.

2:48 - Sign out. Total number of hikers for today is 364. That's a great turn out! Had a long conversation with Jason Talley, plant supervisor, as he answered my questions about the current mining proposal which will be deliberated by the Azusa City Council in April.

In spite of the toilsome decent from Van Tassel Ridge, overall I had an excellent day of hiking. I love these Fish Canyon access days. Thank you Jason Talley and the Vulcan team! icon

blogspot The rest of the reports are on Dan's Hiking Blog
Each of the following six hikes through July 9, 2011 are treated in more detail on Dan’s Hiking Blog. A link for each blog post is at the bottom of each report. And at the bottom of each blog post are navigation links NEXT and PREVIOUS so that you can click through the Fish Canyon history.

At the end of this page are links to the blog posts for Final Hikes of the Vulcan Access Day Era through 2013

Report Hike report: Fish Canyon Falls - September 25, 2010   camera Photos

I've hiked the 80-foot, three-tier Fish Canyon Falls many times since it is practically in my backyard in Azusa. In looking at my hike log, I noticed that all my hikes in Fish Canyon have been in January through July except for one in November. So I decided to see what Fish Canyon is like in early fall. After a free shuttle ride by Vulcan Materials through their quarry, I start the hike 7:10 a.m. It's not hot yet but it's not cool either with the weather forecast to hit 100 today. There is water in the creek at this point but it is not flowing. Fall colors are beginning to accent the scenery. Brown leaves crunch beneath my feet. The red fruit of the holly-leaf cherry (Prunus ilicifolia) is in abundance along the trail.

I arrived at the falls at 7:55. No water falling today. There are 10 people there, and they are quite noisy. On my return trip I stopped by Darlin' Donna Falls and was pleased to see it flowing nicely. As I continue back the sun is now warm and I pass periodic parties of hikers coming up the trail. Finish the hike 9:44. Back at the Vulcan office when I signed out, there are 74 hikers who have signed in at this point. An enjoyable outing. I can always expect a hike to Fish Canyon Falls to offer varied experiences. Met some nice people, enjoyed some fall colors, and experienced the unique setting of a dry waterfall. Always appreciate Vulcan Materials providing these access days.

blogspot For the full report,
Visit Dan's Hiking Blog: Fish Canyon Falls Hike
- September 25, 2010

Report Hike report: Fish Canyon Falls - January 29, 2011   camera Photos

I've been on this trial many times before, but this time is different. On Tuesday, January 25, voters in Azusa made a decision that will forever and inextricable change the face of Fish Canyon. Azusans voted to uphold a July 17, 2010 city council decision which approved a new mining plan for Vulcan Materials. The yearlong battle over mining in Fish Canyon has caused me to reflect on my own experiences with Fish Canyon dating back to my first visit in February 1997. Vulcan Materials bought the quarry in 1999 and by 2005 stepped up their efforts in providing greater shuttle service through the quarry on select days. I have greatly appreciated the access days, as did the public, showing up by the hundreds on each day.

When Vulcan brought its new mining proposal to the City of Azusa for approval, my initial feelings about the plan were skepticism and an inclination to be opposed to it. But after many hours of investigation, I concluded that plan was worthy of approval. And in the process, I found myself genuinely liking the various Vulcan personnel I have observed and gotten to know.

So it is with an eagerness that I show up on this Saturday to hike Fish Canyon. The Vulcan parking lot was jammed full of cars and a sizeable crowd was gathered at the sign-in table. I begin my hike at 9:22 a.m. Chilly air greets me. The creek rushes briskly. The grasses are green and the deciduous trees are leafless. Hardly anything in bloom. My pace is slow as I soak in the beauty of the canyon and stop frequently to snap pictures. Windows of solitude are interspersed with parties of hikers coming and going. Recent rains have brought down debris on portions of the trail. It's fun to run into friends and hikers I've met previously. The trail snakes though patches of cool shade and warm sun. The pleasant aromas of nature surround me. I pull out my pruners and trim back some intruding branches along the way. Red toyon berries add a splash of color. Leafless poison oak branches hide the identity of this toxic plant. The rich chaparral plants on the canyon walls look like they have enjoyed our winter rains. Darlin' Donna Falls is flowing nicely.

I arrive at the Fish Canyon Falls at 11:09. The roar of the 80-foot, three-tier waterfall and the happy sounds of voices echo off the steep rock walls. I count about 60 people. The scene is alive. I linger a while and enjoy watching people enjoy this wonderful place. I leave the falls at 12:00 and continue to trim plants as I go. The weather is perfect and I'm loving the hike. I finish the hike at 1:37. Upon signing out I learn that there were 457 hikers today. I think that may be pushing a record. What a thoroughly enjoyable outing.

blogspot For the full report,
Visit Dan's Hiking Blog: Fish Canyon Falls Hike
- January 29, 2011

Report Hike report: Fish Canyon Falls - March 19, 2011   camera Photos

I love Fish Canyon! Even if you don't count the impressive 80-foot waterfall, Fish Canyon Trail is one of the most beautiful trails in the Front Range of the San Gabriels. I was anxiously watching the weather forecast all week and hoping there would be a window in the storm that would allow the hike. By Saturday morning the rain broke and afforded ideal weather...a little cloudy and cool, but great for taking pictures. And with the fresh rains, the canyon was amazingly beautiful.

My primary objective for the day's hike was to photograph plants. There was not a lot in bloom yet, but still lots to photograph. I started hiking at 9:06 and took a leisurely pace taking pictures. Many hikers passed me. Deciduous plants like bigleaf maple, elderberry, and poison oak are filling out with their spring leaves. Blue dicks were the dominant flower along with cheerful sunflowers. Lush green plants and fresh aromas delighted my senses. The creek was flowing briskly and the creek crossing was quite dicey, creating a bottleneck for the foot traffic.

I arrived the falls at 11:16 and counted about 60 people there. After a snack and soaking in the beauty of the setting I left the falls at 11:58. My pace was quick on the return and I ended the hike at 12:37. Back at the sign-in table I learned that there were 256 hikers for the day. It seemed like more, but maybe that's because there were several large groups.

Vinca minor on Fish Canyon Trail
View plant photos
A thoroughly enjoyable outing! The beauty of Fish Canyon on the first weekend of spring and after a good rain was stunning. I had a chance to connect with some hikers who I've met before or online. I added some good photos to my collection of plants and I'm looking forward to more visits to Fish Canyon as spring unfolds. And always a big thanks to Vulcan Materials for being gracious hosts!

Camera Photo Album: Fish Canyon Hike - March 19, 2011 - 28 photos on Facebook

blogspot For the full report,
Visit Dan's Hiking Blog: Fish Canyon Falls Hike
- March 19, 2011

Report Hike report: Fish Canyon Falls - April 16, 2011   camera Photos

Fish Canyon Falls Another springtime day where Vulcan Materials shuttles hikers through their quarry to the beginning of the trail to Fish Canyon Falls! I was eager to see what's changed in the plant community since my last visit on March 19. And I always look forward to the access days for the experience of shared community with the many hikers who show up. And indeed the story of the day was the crowds. Tons of people...hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people! In fact it hit a new all-time record high for numbers of people on a Fish Canyon access day.

7:10 - Start hike ahead of a large group. Temps are nice and the canyon is shrouded in early morning shade. Things are still green but lack the lushness of the March scenery after the rains. Much of the non-native weedy grasses are losing their greenness. The creek is flowing briskly. Not as much in bloom as I had anticipated. The poison oak now has its full foliage with rich green leaves, some are poking out into the trail. The alder, maple, sycamore, and elderberry are in full leaf now.

8:06 - Arrive at Fish Canyon Falls ahead of the crowds. The falls are gushing. A group about 60 arrive. I linger a long time enjoying conversations with various ones. Hikers continue to arrive, and arrive, and arrive, and the crowd swells to well over 100. The place is abuzz with kinetic energy.

View large photo
11:00 - Finally I leave the falls and start back. The canyon is now in full sun. My pace is slow and I take time to photograph plants. People still coming and going. Take a side jaunt to Darlin' Donna Falls, still flowing nicely. Getting hot as the temps are forecast to be in the 90s. Near the end, I encounter a 3-foot long rattlesnake crossing the trail. Rattlers are amazing creatures and I welcome seeing them occasionally as a sobering reminder that they are indeed part of our natural environment.

2:17 - End hike. I learn there were more than 600 hikers for the day...a new record! Another rewarding adventure in Fish Canyon. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting lots of great people and photographing lots of plants. I'm eager to see what will be blooming in May.

blogspot For the full report,
visit Dan's Hiking Blog: Fish Canyon Falls Hike
- April 16, 2011

Report Hike report: Fish Canyon Falls - May 28, 2011   camera Photos

Fish Canyon Falls Fish Canyon has served me well over the years as a convenient venue for learning about plants. Its two miles of trail hosts a wide variety of plants in its riparian (streamside) and chaparral plants communities. And since it is so close to home, I have been able to hike it a lot over the years and observe the behavior of plants throughout the seasons of the year.

A primary goal for this hike today is to photograph every plant species in bloom along the trail, which I think I was pretty close in accomplishing (view Fish Canyon Falls Plants - May 28, 2011).

I am the first hiker to arrive at Vulcan Materials and get a solo van ride to the beginning of the trail.

6:45 a.m. - Begin hike. I move quickly and don't attempt to capture gallery-quality photos but to simply record the blooms. At about two thirds of the way, I spot a gentleman about 100 yards behind me. So I step up my pace to stay ahead with goal to be the first one to the falls. I am still shooting plants, but in blitz mode.

Fish Canyon Falls 7:30 - Arrive at Fish Canyon Falls and manage to click off a few shots of a human-free Fish Canyon Falls before the gentleman arrives a minute later. We take turns photographing one another. His name is Chris and we enjoy a good conversation. I linger around the falls for a long time, visiting with various ones and soaking in the scene. Enjoy meeting Putt and Kim, who had printed a copy of the Fish Canyon Plant Guide from my website. I dismantle the rock fire ring which had been used to build illegal campfires. There is rope dangling from the left side of the falls which has become popular today for people to pose on while having their pictures taken. One guy climbs up it all the way to the first tier...pretty brave. A lot folks are jumping off the rocks into the lower pool, including a guy in a full-body wetsuit. In fact, the central focus seems to be on the pool jumpers. To me there is a real fun factor watching people enjoy Fish Canyon Falls. I do some exploring up the east ravine and get a view of the falls from a different perspective.

Matilija poppy (Romneya coulteri) on Fish Canyon Trail
View plant photos
11:45 - Leave falls (it's hard to believe I was there for more than 4 hours!!). My pace is slow as I take time to photograph plants more carefully and to do some trimming. Briefly take a side tour to Darlin'Donna Falls...still flowing nicely. The sun had only come out briefly first thing in the morning, so the rest of the day is under overcast skies.

1:40 - End hike. Upon checking out, I learn from the Vulcan guy that there were 450 visitors for the day in 198 cars...a very good turn out. Another thoroughly rewarding day in Fish Canyon!

blogspot View Fish Canyon Falls Plants - (featuring 15 plants) on Dan's Hiking Blog - May 28, 2011

Report Hike report: Fish Canyon Falls - July 9, 2011   camera Photos

Fish Canyon Falls Summertime is not when I typically think about hiking Fish Canyon. But a primary objective for the day would be to find the rare Dudleya densiflora (San Gabriel Mountains liveforever), which is reported to be growing on the steep rocky walls in the canyon. For years I've read about Dudleya densiflora on the interpretive sign en route to Fish Canyon Falls but had never observed the plant in Fish Canyon.

7:38 - Begin hike. I stay ahead of a group not too far behind me. This beautiful canyon has become a familiar friend. Not as much in bloom as in the spring, but the trees are in full leaf. I am concerned that with no formal trail maintenance this year, that many unsuspecting hikers will the brush against poison oak, which is intruding into trail in numerous places.

Dudleya densiflora 8:14 - Cross the creek and begin scanning the canyon walls for Dudleya densiflora. Bingo! At 8:15 I spot an occurrence of the rare plant 20 feet on the slope above. Moments later I pass through the blackberry patch and, eureka! I hit the mother lode of San Gabriel Mountains liveforever! I scamper around the rocks and take lots of pictures.

Dudleya densiflora is a native succulent in the stonecrop family (Crassulaceae) and blooms from June to July. According to the interpretive sign lower on the trail, Dudleya densiflora was first verified in 1919 in Fish Canyon. This is a rare species that apparently only grows in several places in the front range canyons of the San Gabriels around the San Gabriel River.

Dan at Fish Canyon Falls 9:00 - Arrive at Fish Canyon Falls, in full sun now. Falls flowing nicely. Lots of people. Run into Chris, a gentleman I met here in May. Meet some other nice people. The crowds always give the site a kinetic energy.

10:00 - Leave the falls. Lots of people on trial. Stop by to see Darlin' Donna Falls still flowing. Meet some more nice people en route. Meet up with a party I met at the falls and enjoy their company for the remainder of the hike.

11:46 - Finish hike and ride the van back to the Vulcan Materials parking lot, which is quite full. The attendant told me that the count was 532 people in 217 vehicles, which is the third highest count on record. Beautiful weather, nice people, good exercise, pleasing wildflowers, showy waterfall, splendid scenery...another thoroughly enjoyable outing in my beloved Fish Canyon. And finding the rare Dudleya densiflora was a real treat.

blogspot For the full report,
visit Dan's Hiking Blog: Fish Canyon Falls Hike
- July 9, 2011

Final Hikes of the Vulcan Access Day Era: Access by special arrangment:
(after the access days and prior to the new access trail)
For a complete link list of hikes in the new access trail era beginning June 21, 2014, see Fish Canyon Falls Hike Description

Related links on Dan's Hiking Pages:

camera View Fish Canyon Hike Reports Photo Gallery
for all the photos from these hike reports on a single page

Boot Hike Descriptions (Complete trail guides)

icon Waterfalls - in the San Gabriels

Facebook icon Like Fish Canyon Falls Facebook Page

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