Cooper Canyon Falls is a 25-foot waterfall tucked away in the upper canyons of the San Gabriel Mountains. Set beside the Pacific Crest Trail at the end of a 1.6-mile hike that begins in the scenic Buckhorn Campground, the main drawback of this hike may be the relatively short season where the falls have a roaring flow from winter snowmelt. Late spring is the best time to visit for the falls, though the large pool beneath remains deep enough for a dip a little later in the season.
The main things to watch for on this trail are the easy-to-miss spur trails branching off of the main path. The spur to the falls descends a short and steep hillside, navigable with a little additional help from a rope left there, to the pool area at the bottom of the falls.
During the warmer days of summer, additional spur trails within the first two-thirds of a mile from the trailhead also branch off from the main path and steeply descend the mountainside down to swimming holes perched in a picturesque canyon.
The trail to Cooper Canyon Falls drops 700 feet, so most of the work on this hike will be on the way out and back up to the trailhead.
A vault toilet and picnic bench are at the trailhead. There is no trash collection or water here. An Adventure Pass is required, and the nearest place to purchase an Adventure Pass is at Newcomb's Ranch restaurant, located 7 miles west on Highway 2.