Looking for a waterfall that flows virtually all year long? Checkout Lewis Falls!
The shady hike is a total 1.1-miles located in the North Fork of the San Gabriel River. The scenic trail follows Soldier Creek for the entirety of the hike and requires 3-4 creek crossings. It’s a moderately difficult trail, as the last section requires some boulder scrambling before coming to an end at the 3 tiered cascade. Dogs are allowed, but must be on a leash.
Directions & Parking
Click the link, State Rte 39, Azusa, CA 91702 to be redirected to Google Maps.
Parking is extremely limited. Probably only 5 cars can park right in front of the trailhead, so be sure to arrive extra early on weekends.
If you don’t have one already, be sure to click the link to purchase and display your Adventure Pass, which is required when parking anywhere in our local mountains.
While you’re at it, check out some of these LA County Hikes!
Lewis Falls Trail
There is no sign at the trailhead, but luckily, there’s only one trail leading into the canyon, and it’s very easy to spot.
Although the Curve Fire of Sept 1, 2002 burned 20,857 acres, a few cabins still managed to escape intact, some of which are ruins from the Falling Springs Resort, but more on that in the history section.
The shaded trail makes it seem like you’ve completely detached yourself from the city. A feeling many of us welcome when we’re in the outdoors.
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Ruins from stone cabins lay scattered throughout the area as well as the destruction from a more recent storm.
Huge fallen down trees have become obstacles for the adventurous hiker.
Bridge & Bonus Falls on Lewis Falls Trail
As soon as the trail crosses the creek for the first time, look to your left to spot a wooden bridge.
If you have good balance and don’t mind a quick off-trail excursion, head over to the bridge to find yourself standing at the top of a roughly 20 ft waterfall. Just keep an eye out for poison oak.
(If you need help with regular creek crossings, I highly suggest trekking poles. I use TrailBuddy Trekking Poles, and they’ve yet to let me down).
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Getting to the bottom of the falls is a bit challenging, but I have to admit, I like a challenge.
Once you’re done, head back on the trail towards Lewis Falls. From this point forward, the trail is absolutely stunning.
The tributary, which is dense with deep red cedar trees standing as tall as 100ft, huge ivy-covered boulders, and the sound of little waterfalls flowing down Soldier Creek, is a picture perfect paradise for the outdoor enthusiast.
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Here’s a closeup shot of the 3-4 waterfall.
The last section of the trail consists of some boulder scrambling and climbing, but nothing too crazy. As long as you’re relatively fit, it should be a piece of cake.
Then, all of a sudden, the canyon opens up and you can hear the sound of the roaring waterfall as the stream plunges 50 feet onto the canyon floor.
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There it is, 50-foot Lewis Falls!
I always wondered why Lewis Falls measured only 50ft, until I flew the drone and realized there’s two smaller tiers which can’t be seen from the canyon floor.
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Lewis Falls is without a doubt the best Azusa Canyon waterfall. I recommend it for the entire family, assuming the kids are at least 5+ years.
Since the hike is only 10-15 minutes driving distance from Crystal Lake, I highly suggest you stop by and grab a delicious meal from the Crystal Lake Cafe to complete your adventure!
Plants Found At Lewis Falls
- Incense Cedar
- Poison Oak
- White Alder
- Bigleaf Maple
- California Bay
- Oak trees
Lewis Falls History
Not much is known about the history of Lewis Falls itself. However, as I previously mentioned, a resort by the name of Falling Springs was located just above the creek.
According to John Robinson in his amazing book, The San Gabriels 2, the resort, which opened to the public in 1931, was originally called La Cienega after the nearby spring, then Headlee’s, and finally Falling Springs.
Unfortunately, the resort has closed down. However, it’s very likely that the cabin ruins located alongside Soldier Creek were at one point used by the resort’s visitors.
Going further back in time, Coldbrook Camp was founded in 1904 by R.W. Dawson. Dawson had actually filed a claim in the area as early as the 1880’s and leased it A.A. “Doc” Beatty, but later re-took control of the management.
The camp/resort became a huge success, as can be noted from the myriad of vintage postcards with images of long forgotten waterfalls and the name Coldbrook Camp added at the bottom.
I purchased one of these postcards which dates back to roughly 1907-1920. Interestingly enough, the falls on the postcard looks virtually identical to Lewis Falls. However, the name reads “Anthem Falls.”
Since many of the people from Coldbrook Camp (located just below Lewis Falls) visited the surrounding waterfalls, it’s very possible they also visited Lewis Falls, but referred to it as Anthem Falls instead.
What do you think? Is Lewis Falls the same falls as the one depicted in the postcard? If you think you solved the mystery, feel free to send me an email at [email protected]