HIKE TO: Stoddard Canyon Falls MILES: 1.25 miles (out & back) TIME: 15-20 mins one-way DATE I WENT: 8/15/20 DIFFICULTY: easy ELEVATION: 3653 ft ELEVATION GAIN/ LOSS: 188 ft HIKE PERMIT: no PARKING PERMIT: yes LOCATION: Angeles National Forest / Mount Baldy Wilderness Preserve / San Gabriel Mountains *please note Google maps currently shows this trail is temporarily closed as of Dec 2, 2020 so be sure to check if it's open before you go*
This super short hike in Stoddard Canyon to the waterfall/ slide and swimming hole is a backward trail (goes down first, then hike up on the way out) in the Mt. Baldy region. There is a small parking lot at the trailhead but and more parking off Mt Baldy Road. The upper part of the hike on the wide road is exposed but the canyon is shaded since it’s narrow. There are climbing routes and a ton of graffiti at the base of the waterfall so please do your part in practicing leave no trace, packing out your trash, and do not deface mother nature.
There are a few options to hike down – I went with option 3 which is the most “normal” hiking trail.
Option 1: You can descend directly from the top of the waterfall and slide down into the canyon (0.24 miles from the trailhead) – I was told there’s a canyoneering route from the top of the falls, not sure if this is it but we saw one person slide right down the waterfall which look sketchy with the concave walls.
Option 2: Take a steep/ very vertical rope directly to the bottom of the falls where all the graffiti is, assuming the rope is still there.
Option 3: (Recommended route, 0.6 miles one-way total) Hike a little farther (literally 2-3 mins further from the previous options) and descend down the side of the canyon by the pillar-like structures (see photo below).
There seems to be a quicker option to descend just a few feet before this trail but that way is steeper with loose little rocks so it’s sketchier.
This trail option also allows you to enjoy Stoddard Canyon more, exploring other swimming holes and San Antonio Creek just a bit more. I descended into the canyon at 0.38 mi and it’s 0.6 mi total to the falls one way. You can stay dry in the canyon by staying along the sides to avoid water. Since the waterfall area can get crowded and noisy, there is another great swimming hole right when you drop into the canyon (see the second photo below – you can hangout in this pool or the one above it).
I went during a heatwave on my second trip out here and although it was 90 deg at the top, it does get a lot cooler by the waterfall since the canyon is narrow. I’ve always hiked in mid-morning and the canyon stays shaded the whole time I’m there.
When you’re done, hike out the same way!