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Eaton Canyon Falls

Best Waterfalls and Swimming Holes near Los Angeles

The best ways to beat the heat in LA.

Hiking Easy, Moderate, Difficult

Eaton Canyon Falls
Eaton Canyon Falls Photo: Person-with-No Name


During summer in Southern California, you’ll want to be outside to enjoy the abundant sunshine, but need to cope with the heat. For many Californians, the beach is the go-to recipe for refreshment, but the ocean is not the only remedy. Doses of natural freshwater can also be found if you know where to look.

The secret is the tall mountains that surround Los Angeles. They stay cooler and receive more precipitation than the low-elevation urban area, and some of their canyons stream with water year-round. While standing on the sweltering pavement in the city, you might never guess that rushing waterfalls and chilly pools exist in the shady forest nearby. Getting there just requires going for a hike.

Trails to waterfalls and swimming holes near Los Angeles range in difficulty from very easy to very hard, and there are more of them than you might expect. On the next summer day that you want to spend outside, you can look forward to a sweaty workout and a cool dip at one of these destinations.

There are a few things to keep in mind when visiting these places. One is that summer hiking always requires special preparation. Even if the destination is a swimming hole, you should bring lots of drinking water, sun protection, and adequate food. The other is your responsibility to minimize impact and respect other users. Water is scarce in Southern California, so at a water source, it’s extra important that you leave no waste or graffiti, don’t trample any vegetation, and take up only as much space as your group absolutely needs, so that everyone can continue to enjoy the natural setting. Simply do your part to keep these places beautiful and enjoyable, and you can come back every summer to beat the LA heat.

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