Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
350.00 ft (106.68 m)
Trail type
2.00 mi (3.22 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The hike to Bonita Falls heads up a dry wash on the eastern edge of the San Gabriel Mountains leading to a tall narrow waterfall that drops down a ledge and into a shallow pool that is good for wading in below. While the distance is relatively short, the route is unsigned and heads over round stones, making the hike a little more technical and slower paced.

This hike doesn't follow a defined trail, but instead heads up a route made up of round river stones before reaching a turnoff that leads up a final climb to the base of the falls. Owing to the rocky terrain. and a stream crossing at the beginning, the hike is not easy, however it is common to see children making the hike up to the cool shallow pool. The wide dramatic wash shows the power of a storm in shaping the landscape, with these storms also shifting stones around so there is no permanent trail in place. Hikers will instead need to hug the base of the mountains to their left until a green thicket of trees indicates the presence of the water source streaming out of the narrow canyon. While a GPS track will help find the waterfall canyon, paying attention to previous tracks along the mountain base will also indicate where to leave the rocky wash and begin heading uphill. 

Eventually the trail reaches the end of the canyon where the falls drops for over 100 feet into a shallow pool below where you can often find people cooling themselves on warm days. It's possible to scramble up boulders on the left side of the falls for more epic views, however the ground and boulders can also be very slippery over here.

Parking for the hike is along Lytle Creek Road on any of the open gravel pull outs. A National Forest Adventure pass is needed for parking. These are available for $5 at a number of locations, including the nearby Lytle Creek Ranger Station (1209 Lytle Creek Road), however many locations are open limited hours so it is best to plan ahead for purchasing yours.

There are outhouses located along the parking areas, but no other amenities available anywhere along the hike.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

National Forest Adventure Pass required

Open Year-round



Excellent views.


Lots of graffiti. Trail is unmarked.

Trailhead Elevation

2,860.00 ft (871.73 m)

Highest point

3,205.00 ft (976.88 m)


Big vistas
Family friendly

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Lodging + Camping

San Gabriel + San Bernardino Mountains, California


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