Travel & Adventure

Beautiful Waterfall Hike in Lytle Creek

In case you missed it, a few weeks ago California was hit with some unusual snow. The mountain communities here in SoCal were pummeled with unusually high snowfall. It was so cold and so wet here where I live that even the communities down here in the Valley saw snow. Real snow. Not just hail or flurries that melted once they hit the ground. Actual snow. (Not enough to do anything with, but having grown up in this area, it was a big deal.)

Now, most of the snowfall happened during the week, and it’s till SoCal so as soon as the crazy wet weather passed the temperatures started to rise and we knew the snow would melt as quickly as it came.

Because last winter was so warm and dry, my husband and I wanted to make the most out of this unusual weather. But again, because it happened during the week and my husband didn’t have a day off until the weekend rolled around, day by day we watched our snowy options disappear.

Originally we wanted to head out to Joshua Tree to see the snowfall there, but after several days of 50-degree weather, we knew the snow was gone.

And because the snow had been so bad in the mountain communities, many of the roads up into the San Gabriel Mountains were still closed by the time Saturday rolled around.

Our options were limited so we did some research on AllTrails and settled upon Lytle Creek.

I had seen on Instagram some friends of mine had gone up to Lytle Creek a day or two after the snow and it looked pretty impressive. The roads and highways up to Lytle Creek were open and we figured it was high enough that maybe not all the snow had melted.

On top of all that, there was a waterfall hike up that way that we’d always wanted to do but never thought the drive was worth the length of the hike. The trail itself is less than 2 miles.

We decided that the possibility of a unique snow experience was worth the drive and if all else failed, we could tackle a hike we’d had on our list forever.

Well, all else failed and we were left with just the hike, but the hike was amazing!

The drive up to Lytle Creek was gorgeous. The mountains were covered so heavily in snow, more than I have seen in my entire life, but when we got all the way up to Lytle Creek, the mountain tops were all that had snow. Besides a few dirty slushy piles here and there, no snow remained on the ground.

Good thing we had our hike.

Bonita Falls is approximately 1.5 miles and rated moderate on AllTrails. With only 334ft of elevation gain the trail is pretty level, but that doesn’t mean easy.

Depending on the route you take (there isn’t necessarily a clearly defined path, you’ll understand why soon), the hike starts by having you cross the creek fairly quickly and with the rains and snow we’ve seen recently that can be a challenge. I assume normally the water is calmer and lower, but when my husband and I went we couldn’t find a way to cross that kept us dry, so we removed our socks and shoes, rolled up our pants, and faced the cold water.

After you cross the creek, (you may end up having to cross once more depending on the side of the creek you end up on after your initial crossing), the trail is pretty straightforward.

You will be sending most of your time hiking up a dry rocky river bed, along the creek. Eventually, on your left-hand side, you will see the trail begin to climb up in and towards the mountain and you will most likely begin to hear the falls. That is where you turn.

During our visit we did run into a lot of mud and a bit of ice which made this part a little more challenging, but nothing too bad.

The First set of Falls

Before you hit the main fall, you will run into a smaller set of falls. After you snap your pictures here you’ll want to continue traveling along the left side of the small set of falls. It gets a little steep here, but just keep going, you’re minutes away and I promise it is worth it!

To get back you simply backtrack the way you came.

This hike was fun but different, and one I definitely wouldn’t mind trying again.

*This post outlines my personal experiences and opinions on this hike. I am not a professional or expert, nor do I have any formal hiking or survival training. Please hike and explore at your own risk.

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