Guidebook

Best Waterfalls and Swimming Holes near Los Angeles

The best ways to beat the heat in LA.

Description

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.

San Antonio Falls
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

San Antonio Falls

Los Angeles
0 - 1 hrs
2.2 km
95 m
95 m
Family-friendly hike to a tiered waterfall on Mount Baldy.
Easy
Private
Eaton Canyon Falls
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Eaton Canyon Falls

Los Angeles
1 - 2 hrs
5.7 km
161 m
161 m
Very popular hike to one of LA-area's favorite waterfalls.
Moderate
Private
Bridge to Nowhere
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Bridge to Nowhere

Los Angeles
3 - 4 hrs
14.7 km
437 m
435 m
Hike to a photogenic arch bridge curiously placed in a mountain wilderness area, with river crossings and swimming holes along the way.
Moderate
Private
Switzer Falls
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Switzer Falls

Los Angeles
1 - 2 hrs
5.8 km
234 m
234 m
Hike down a forested canyon to find multiple waterfalls and small swimming holes.
Moderate
Private
Hermit Falls

Hermit Falls

Los Angeles
1 - 2 hrs
3.8 km
229 m
229 m
Small waterfalls and swimming holes tucked away in Big Santa Anita Canyon.
Moderate
Private
Escondido Falls
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Escondido Falls

Los Angeles
5.7 km
160 m
160 m
A tall waterfall in the Malibu Hills that flows after heavy rain.
Moderate
Private
Santa Anita Canyon - Mt. Zion Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Santa Anita Canyon - Mt. Zion Loop

Los Angeles
3 - 4 hrs
13.4 km
701 m
698 m
Full-value loop combining Sturtevant Falls, Mt. Zion summit, and swimming holes in Big Santa Anita Canyon.
Difficult
Private
Aztec Falls

Aztec Falls

0 - 1 hrs
2.0 km
92 m
91 m
Popular swimming hole and cliff jumping spot in a forested canyon.
Moderate
Private
Deep Creek Hot Springs from Bradford Ridge
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Deep Creek Hot Springs from Bradford Ridge

2 - 3 hrs
7.5 km
419 m
419 m
Hot springs and swimming holes in a granite-walled canyon.
Moderate
Private