Easy – Moderate
Fall, Winter, Spring
Mill Creek Falls truly is one of the hidden gems of the San Gabriels. The hike is rugged, filled with poison oak, and has an element of danger to it….which is why I love it.
If this sounds like fun, you’ll enjoy Mill Creek Falls.
I just have one favor to ask. Please do not add this trail to the app All Trails, as that is usually the precursor to tons of trash and graffiti. Thank you and enjoy! 🙂
Mill Creek Falls is a roughly 1-mile roundtrip hike in Big Tujunga that requires trekking through an overgrown trail and rock scrambling multiple sections. Although the canyon is littered with graffiti, the 40-foot cascade is virtually unknown to the general public. The hike also contains a beautiful narrow section with a 10 ft waterfall.
Map of Mill Creek Falls
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To get directions to the trailhead, click the link here.
You might also like these other hikes in LA…
- Trail Canyon Falls: The Trail of Many Waterfalls
- Fall Creek Falls: Secret 200 Ft Waterfall
- Eaton Canyon Falls Ultimate Guide
Mill Creek Falls Trail
The trailhead is located right next to the Hidden Springs Tunnel in a small parking lot. After walking through the gate, you’ll quickly descend onto the canyon floor where the action begins.
I was expecting to find zero trace of a trail in the canyon, but surprisingly, it’s pretty obvious people trek through here every now and then.
Unfortunately, I get the feeling it’s mostly individuals who are up to no good. Just look at how much more beautiful this gorge would look without the tagging.
Throughout the hike, you’ll notice neat little features, such as this 4 foot waterfall.
It’s known that Mill Creek retains a high water flow later into the summer than most falls (confirmed until Aug).
Please keep in mind there is Poison Oak literally EVERYWHERE. Watch your face and hands as you duck below plants and shrubs. Remember the saying, “leaves of 3, let it be.”
The green shrubs on the right in the picture below is poison oak. This menacing plant can also be partly or fully red.
The canyon is so overgrown that certain sections of the trail will be unidentifiable, but don’t worry there’s only one way in and out of the canyon.
About halfway through the hike, you’ll arrive at the top of a waterfall where you can gaze down into what I call the Mini Narrows.
It’s basically a section of the canyon that gets reduced to a width of about 15 feet, with the canyon walls reflecting a beautiful blue marble-like stone.
The view from the inside is even more breathtaking.
Looking back at the falls, you can see a heart shaped rock at the top. Someone tied a small rope near the top to facilitate climbing down.
Although this waterfall is smaller than the 40 foot Mill Creek Falls, it’s still a decent 10 feet in height.
Here’s a picture of my buddy standing on the falls. He’s 6 feet 2 inches tall.
There’s a section of the canyon structured like a funnel with the creek at the base. You have two options here.
Walk through the creek, which gets to a depth of about 3 feet in this specific location, or boulder scramble about 15 feet up on the right side of the creek. The former, is of course, the safer option.
Below: Looking back at the funnel.
The Mini Narrows are not the only eye catching rock formations in the canyon. After passing the “funnel” look to your left, and you’ll notice the beautiful lime rock that makes up the canyon walls.
It blows my mind to think that these lime rock walls have been here for millions of years before any human being roamed the planet. Imagine the stories they could tell if they were able to speak.
After bushwalking and boulder scrambling, you’ve arrived at the top of your destination. Just look at that beautiful view.
In order to get to the base of the falls, you’re going to have to climb up the rock wall to the right of the creek.
Shortly afterwards, you’ll notice another rope to your left. This rope leads you back down to the canyon floor. Watch your step as this is the most dangerous part of the trail.
And finally, your mission has been accomplished. Congratulations, you’ve added another hidden gem to your list. One that most people have never even heard about. Enjoy the view, you’ve earned it.
(Please note that if you decide to hike into this canyon, you’re doing so at your own risk).