Accessible trail in Pasadena with large parking lots that are often overflowing on weekends. 1.1 mile hike ends in a waterfall.
Miles of trails that start at a mild incline and become steeper. You can use Eaton Canyon for a casual social or family hike, as many do, or up the challenge on some of the steeper trails.
Eaton Canyon is such a popular spot that it has two large parking lots, with cars that spill out onto the main roads. They ask that you avoid parking on the roads out of respect for the neighbors, but it happens anyway.
It's popularity is probably due to its accessibility. Almost immediately at the trailhead you are confronted with a usually dry creek. I saw many red willows, sunflower, buckwheat, sagebrush, prickly pear, sticky monkeyflower, black sage, tobacco tree, laural sumac, poison oak and coast live oak. There was a trail called "Walnut Trail," but I didn't see any Southern California Walnut trees.
I was impressed by the lack of invasives, aside from the tobacco trees which were pervasive. We saw a few others, such as a castor bean plant and horehound, but most plants were true natives implying a very active restoration team at work here. Before what I would consider the trailhead, there was a restoration area that was definitely being managed and made for a nice display of various native plants, such as purple nightshade.
From the 210, head north on New York Ave. Turn right at Alta Dena Ave. When the park is busy, people park here even though they are asked not to.
Make a right at Veranada Ave. You will see a small parking lot, park here if there are spaces available, or follow the signs to the larger parking lot which is down a dirt road. This is a large, unpaved lot, but it does fill up when the park is busy.
From either parking location, head north to the trailhead. The paved lots run parallael to a dirt walking path, with a barrier of mostly Brittlebush (Encelia farinosa).