See Fish Canyon Falls Hike Description at Dan’s Hiking Pages
The 80-foot, three-tier Fish Canyon Falls is one of the finest in the San Gabriels and the two-mile trail to get there is a treat. I’ve hiked it many times since it is practically in my backyard in Azusa. Most of my hikes in Fish Canyon over the years have been when Vulcan Materials offers one of its access days where they provide free shuttle service through the query to the start of the trail. 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.
7:10 - Start the hike. 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. I take a fast pace. Fall colors are beginning to accent the scenery. Brown leaves crunch beneath my feet. I often wonder what our local plant communities would have looked like prior to the introduction of various non-native grasses and weedy plants that turn brown shortly after the rains stop in the spring.
Just past the “spiral staircase” several young branches of poison oak span the trail. I wonder if the hikers before me navigated it safely or if they’ll be itching like crazy in a couple days. I don’t have my clippers with me so weigh the branches down with rocks.
The tributary at Darlin’ Donna Falls is flowing but I keep going without taking the side jaunt. I arrive at the main creek crossing and find it to be completely dry.
I suspect that this is a harbinger of what I’ll find at the falls. Climbing now on the east canyon wall and my final pitch. As I get closer I can hear the noisy voices of hikers at the base of the falls but hear no water.
8:35 - Leave the falls, right after Peter and company. Cross the creek and step into the first direct sun of the morning. Arrive at the Darlin’ Donna tributary and invite the others to join me to see if the falls are flowing. We scramble up the ravine a stone’s throw and find Darlin’ Donna Falls flowing nicely! I run face first into some poison oak. Cleanse it well with mugwort and water; I’ll know if that does the trick in a few days [it worked]. Take a pic of a butterfly. Back on the trail I stroll along. Sun is now warm. Pace is slow as I take time to photograph some plants. I pass periodic parties of hikers coming up the trail.
9:44 - Finish hike. Wait at the footbridge for a few minutes for the van to arrive. Back at the Vulcan office I sign out at 9:51. There are 74 hikers who have signed in at this point.
See Fish Canyon Falls Hike Description at Dan’s Hiking Pages (including links to my other Fish Canyon blog posts)
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