Sunday, June 21, 2009

Millard Canyon Waterfalls

One of California's greatest assets to a cheapskate looking for free things to do, is it's extensive network of parks and hiking trails. I'm hoping to get out and explore as many as possible to review for the blog. Yesterday, my friend Paige and I trekked out to Millard Canyon Waterfall for a little hiking and exploration. Of course we brought Cordy & Seumas too for a canine friendly perspective as well.

The trail to the falls is an easy hike itself. You actually start at the crest of the hill and then switch back down to the base of the falls at Millard Canyon Camp Ground, then hike up along the river bed. The falls are more of a gentle down flowing stream than a niagra rush of water that a former Pacific Northwesterner like myself might be used to, but it's a pleasant hike. You can walk up the river bed about a half a mile. There are lots of areas where you cross back and forth over the stream balancing on rocks so it's a good idea to bring your sports sandals that you don't mind getting wet.

Speaking of getting wet, the hike wasn't exactly what we imagined it was going to be since we showed up and there were huge clouds of mist hovering in the sky. We literally ended up hiking THROUGH a rain cloud.

We could have called it quits and headed home but we decided not to let that ruin our fun. Once we determined that we weren't opposed to getting a little wet and muddy, the cool damp weather actually added an element of refreshing ruggedness to our outdoor experience. If the dogs who are only 4 inches tall were willing to forge rivers and slosh through mud than we were game too!

Here is a quick packing list of recommended items to bring with you to the Millard Canyon Waterfalls Hike: Waterproof hiking shoes and/or sports sandles, sunscreen, water, energy bar, camera, sunglasses/hat, towels for drying off afterwards, blankets for the wet dogs to sit on in the car, dog leash, extra change of cry clothes for the ride home.

Normally we see lizards on our hikes in the California desert. On this rare rainy day, we spotted a couple of salamanders. Cordy was very curious about the creatures.

What happens when wiener dogs try to climb a big wet slippery rock.

The hike itself is pretty simple. According to the Hiking Group I follow on, it's about a 1000 foot elevation gain, 2.5 mile trail, or 5 miles roud trip, and only 4 out of 10 difficulty. If you are looking for a little extra challenge, there are also a couple of fire roads that weave through the mountains for some extra elevation and distance. This one takes you past a beekeepers farm with a whole series of hives up on the hill.

Directions: On the 210 freeway in Pasadena, exit Lake and head North towards the mountains. Take Lake Ave until it ends at LOMA ALTA Drive. Make a left on Loma Alta Drive. Stay on it until you get to Chaney Trail. Chaney Trail is a small side street and it is hard to see the sign, but you know you are there when you see a flashing yellow light above the middle of the street.

Finally, you do need an Adventure Pass to park at the trail head. Passes are only $5 a day or you can get a $30 pass for the whole year. Second vehicle pass is only $5 as well so Paige and I bought two passes and split the difference. Now we are set for a whole year for only $17.50 a piece. Additionally, the passes are not marked identifiably for any specific car so you can loan them out or switch to another car depending on who is driving. Passes are good in the Angeles, Cleveland, San Bernardino, and Los Padres National Forests. You can buy them online here or at various local sporting goods stores such as REI or Big 5.

1 comment:

Mary said...

Sad that those state parks may shut down if we can't get our state budget in order in California.