A Great Trek for The New Hiker
Hiking is defined as the activity of going for long walks, especially in the country or woods. Oftentimes people equate hiking only with hills and mountains. That can be a deterrent for many who are either afraid of heights or feel like their legs are not strong enough for anything higher than one foot. This is why Eaton Canyon is an amazing hike for the beginner. You get a taste of hiking elevations and you can feel fit and fabulous afterward. Not only will you get the experience of being in nature’s bliss, the trees and the water, but you get to finish the first leg of your hike at a waterfall. Depending on rainfall for the year, that waterfall can appear to be a flirty trickle or a wondrous roar.
Strategically Plan Crossings
Located in the city of Pasadena, Eaton Canyon is about a 1 mile stretch of wide, mostly flat and dirt trail. The elevation change goes up to 375 feet and is very doable. There are just a few spots that would appear challenging if climbing is out of the question for the hike. The stream can keep your company as it leads you to the waterfall. Early 2019 brought so much rain to California that getting to the waterfall without “getting your feet wet” was virtually impossible. The water can get up to thigh high depending on your height. The current can be pretty strong and there are areas where you have to strategically plan out your crossings.
The Trek is Not a Straight Path
My son and I recently visited Eaton Canyon and we challenged ourselves to get to the waterfall without getting wet. We didn’t make it pass the first stream, haha. He stands about 6′ 2″ and there were parts of the water that passed his knees as we crossed.
What I enjoy most about this hike is having to navigate how to get from one side of the stream to the next. The trek is not a straight path. Doesn’t life feel like that sometimes? It sure does to me. Anything that helps me to shift my focus in a positive direction is such a treasure. Crossing rocks and logs over fairly fast moving water is a sure way to redirect my thoughts.
Like headstands, my entire being goes completely to holding my balance and in this case also finding the best ways to get to my destination. Mind, body and spirit become engulfed in one single moment – navigating. Even if the moment is fleeting as you put one foot in front of the other, at least for that moment, nothing else exists.
Some Info To Consider
Eaton Canyon can be very busy and patience will be needed as you traverse among a myriad of people. Keep in mind that everyone is seeking the same joy you will likely find if you immerse yourself in the moment.
Some helpful info you might to consider is:
If you enter the destination (1750 N Altadena Dr, Pasadena, CA 91107) on Google maps, it usually gives you an idea of what kind of traffic to expect. During daylight saving time (DST), you can get away with arriving at Eaton Canyon by 3pm. It takes about an hour to get to the waterfalls and about the same to get back out. Arriving at 3pm during DST gives you about 4 hours before the sun sets which is usually when the park closes.
The parking lot closes at 5p but I have seen a 7p sign during DST. There’s also parking on the street but always try your luck in the parking area.
If you want to hike without having to feel restricted to time, park on the street. Pay attention to the signs around.
Some Hiking Tips
The initial part of the trek may feel like a bit of a trek as it’s the main part of the elevation. Be prepared for it.
If the sun is hot, take your time… once you get closer to the entrance of the canyon, it’s mostly traversing dirt paths, rocks, logs and a few tiny climbs here and there. There are also more shaded areas to enjoy.
Never assume a log or rock is firmly in place. This is not “Rock Steady” with Bob Marley… give it a feel first if you’re unsure.
If you choose to play music, remember not everyone wants to hear it… take your ear plugs or headphones.
If you can manage, try a hike without any music and just fall in tune with nature.
Have patience, especially on weekends. There are people of all ages seeking a taste of the divine in nature.
Be open to dogs… most of them are actually funny to watch as they play in the water, run for sticks or cause a ruckus amongst everyone.
If all else fails and you get tired of waiting your turn to cross or you feel unsure of the rocks and logs, just get your feet wet at Eaton Canyon. The water is refreshing, unless it’s winter… in which case it’s practically freezing cold 🙂
Scale Through Life
There are also a couple other trails nearby that take you up to much higher elevations. For the beginner though, just stick to the path that leads you to the waterfall. If you’re lucky, you might be there when a professional hikers come scaling down the waterfall on a rope. I’ve seen them on a few occasions and it’s always a thrill to watch how they slide down with almost zero effort. If only I could scale through many things the same way, even a waterfall!
If you enjoy people watching, this is also a great spot to just sit and enjoy the energies or close your eyes and connect fully to your own energy. Keep an open mind and notice all the trees, the way the light hits the canyon floor and how water flows. It’s a sweet reminder about life – that things are always changing. How boring it would be if it always stayed the same.
God is the Greatest.