Bear Canyon Trail Camp
ElevationAscent: 1,246' 380 m
Descent: -1,246' -380 m
High: 3,274' 998 m
Low: 2,645' 806 m
GradeAvg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 27% (15°)
Popular runs nearby
Oakwilde Trail Camp
10.2 mi 16.5 km • Out and Back • 1,778 ft Ascent 541.96 m Ascent
Red Box Trailhead to Valley Forge Campground
4.9 mi 7.9 km • Out and Back • 1,160 ft Ascent 353.42 m Ascent
Red Box to San Gabriel Peak
3.9 mi 6.2 km • Out and Back • 1,422 ft Ascent 433.39 m Ascent
Mt. Lowe Historic Railway Tour
11.5 mi 18.4 km • Loop • 2,686 ft Ascent 818.71 m Ascent
Mt. Wilson - West Fork Loop
10.6 mi 17.0 km • Loop • 2,908 ft Ascent 886.29 m Ascent
Angeles National Forest 50K
32.0 mi 51.5 km • Loop • 7,172 ft Ascent 2185.89 m Ascent
Navigate on-trail with our free app
“A 6.6-mile round-trip run to Switzer Falls and Bear Canyon Campground.”— John McKinney
Vehicles need an Adventure or Interagency Pass to park at the main trailhead.
No overnight parking in the lower lots.
From Switzer Picnic Area, head west on Gabrielino Trail (NRT) which takes you down into the gorge following Arroyo Seco and is shaded by oak, spruce, and alder trees. At about one mile, you'll reach the former Switzer Trail Camp which sits just above the falls. A nice trail below the camp ends at the top of the falls. Continue following Gabrielino Trail (NRT) on the west slope of the gorge and you'll get a nice view of Switzer Falls.
On a small rise is the junction with Bear Canyon Trail 1.4 miles in, take a left to head south on Bear Canyon Trail continuing down into the gorge. When you reach the creek, take a right upstream (off the main trail) and head up to the falls. The area is signed with warnings - heed them and do NOT try and climb the falls. Retrace your steps back to Bear Canyon Trail.
Continue heading downhill and at about 2.2 miles the trail finally reaches Bear Canyon and begins to follow Bear Creek. The trail also begins to climb upstream, though only at a modest slope. The trail crosses the creek and there are many nice pools at which one could stop and rest. Bear Canyon Campground is at 3.3 miles. There are three campsites (non-reservable). Water in the creek is seasonal and must be treated before use.
After camping (or if you're day-tripping, resting), retrace your steps heading back to the trailhead for a pleasant 6.6-mile round-trip run.
Thanks to John McKinney, The Trailmaster, for sharing this trail description. To learn more about trails in California, check out his guides at The Trailmaster Store.
The trail along Arroyo Seco (as well as a popular trail resort) was originally built by Perry Switzer. This resort was later owned by Lloyd Austin who added a tennis court, chapel, and dance floor. The area was extremely popular during the "Great Hiking Era" well into the 1930s.
Run this trail?
We need help with the following missing trail information:
Is something wrong? Let us know. Have photos to share? Help fellow runners know what's here.