Fastest Trail to Brown Mountain Dam Waterfall

May 5, 2021 | Los Angeles County, Most Popular, Waterfalls

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Distance

2 Miles

Time

~1 Hr

Difficulty

Moderate (not recommended for kids)

Elevation

2,207 Ft (at its highest)

Season

All Year

Bathrooms

No

Hiking to the Brown Mountain Dam Waterfall in the Los Angeles National Forest can be super fun and rewarding. But, you might not be in the mood to hike over 8 miles during the very warm spring and summer months, when this waterfall is flowing the most. Luckily, we’ve found a super shortcut to the unique waterfall that’s only 2 miles total!

Brown Mountain Dam Waterfall trail via Station Ridge trail is a 2-mile, roundtrip hike located near La Canada Flintridge, California. It features an 81-foot waterfall during the spring and early summer months, or after heavy rainfall. This steep and narrow trail is rated easy to moderate, with the highest elevation point being 2,207 ft. 

Let me show you how I got there!

Map of Brown Mountain Dam Waterfall

 

Directions and Parking

To get to the parking lot, I took Hwy 2 (Angeles Crest Hwy) and drove until I reached the Angeles Crest Fire Station on Mt. Lukens Truck Trail.

There’s a small parking lot across the fire station.

You can click these directions. The lot can fit roughly 10-15 cars.

Descending to Brown Mountain Dam

After doing some investigation on Google Maps, we spotted what looked like a trail that leads down to the canyon floor near the Arroyo Seco stream.

Heck, it was! This one-mile trail is called the Station  Ridge Trail, which makes getting to the Brown Mountain Dam super easy.

Although it’s very short, you’ll be walking on a very narrow and steep dirt path. I don’t recommend bringing children on this hike. Come prepared with the right shoes as well!

Here, it begins.

This trail actually begins at a high elevation of about 2,207 feet.

So? You get amazing views of the canyon and surrounding LA mountains, of course!

Descending further down, there are tons of these beautiful lilac-colored Chapparal Whitethorn that bloom in the spring.

The last half-mile of the trail leads you through a zigzag path that goes through these overgrown chaparral.

Closer to the bottom of the trail are some ruins. It looked like it was possibly someone’s old home at one point, with remnants of a chimney or fireplace.

Finally making it down to the canyon floor, I made a swift left and continued walking.

Coming across the Arroyo Seco creek was a delight since it was a little warm after walking down the steep decline.

Might I add, it looked so glowy and peaceful before sunset.

I came across some more ruins that were most likely burned down due to forest fires or destroyed by flooding. This is also where the Paul Little Picnic area is located.

After a short mile of hiking, I arrived at the Brown Mountain Dam Waterfall!

Surprisingly, it was empty on a Saturday evening. We had this place all to ourselves.

I hiked this trail in early April and was happy to see it had a good flow!

I felt refreshed from the waterfall’s mist and shady canyon trees.

Standing tall at 81 feet, the Brown Mountain Dam waterfall is pretty DAM nice (pun intended)!

History of Brown Mountain Dam 

*BMD in 1943. Photo Credit: Arroyo Seco Foundation

Believe it or not, the Brown Mountain Dam was the first labor task undertaken by the US Forest Services Los Angeles River watershed program.

Construction of the dam began in the early 1940s, right around the time of WW2.

Pools of water could already be seen by early March of 1943. Unfortunately, water wasn’t the only thing that was collecting.

Sediment, along with debris, began to build up at the back of the dam, causing some destruction to wildlife and fish habitats.

Today, the dam stands at a roaring 81 feet tall and 120 feet long with a waterfall destination that flows almost all year round, with the exception of droughts.

Nearby Attractions

Descanso Gardens

Located only 10 minutes away from Brown Mountain Dam, you can continue the outdoor fun at Descano Gardens!

They have enchanting and tranquil gardens, such as the Japanese Garden, as well as the historic Boddy House.

Come prepared with a camera, because trust me, you’ll want to capture the beauty!

Recommended Gear

  • LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottle with 2-Stage Integrated Filter Straw Since the trail is a bit steep, it’ll definitely get your heart rate pumping. I was very thirsty ascending back up to the parking lot. I have this water bottle and love it! It filters my water, which means I get to carry less and fill up at the dam (or anywhere) if need be. 

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Hello, There!

We’re Monica and Phillip. Just like you, we share a passion for the outdoors and our beautiful state of California. After many years of exploring amazing and hidden places, we thought we’d share them with you! We hope this blog shows you tons of new CA adventures!