Hike The Etiwanda Falls Trail

Hike the Etiwanda Falls Trail

In This Guide
  • Turn by Turn Directions & Video For the Hike
  • How to Get to the Etiwanda Falls Trail & Parking
  • What to Know Before You Go
Distance3.5 miles (5.6 km)
Hike Time2 Hours (Total)
Difficulty (?)Moderate
Total Ascent (?)790 feet (241m)
Highest Elevation2,825 feet (861m)
Fees & PermitsFree
Dog FriendlyNo
Park Website (?)North Etiwanda Preserve
Park Phone909-387-5940
Stay In Touch - - -

The Etiwanda Falls Trail hike feels like you’re a world away from the nearby LA suburbs. Starting in North Etiwanda Preserve, you gently hike up through the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains, with glimpses of the prominent mountain peaks along the way. After a short 1.6 miles, you’ll reach Etiwanda Falls, tucked into a shady canyon. The trail is easy to follow, the workout is good, and the scenery is beautiful.

Where is the Etiwanda Falls Trail?

Although there is plenty of parking at North Etiwanda Preserve, the trails are very popular, and spaces fill up quickly. I recommend doing this hike at 630am when the park opens. There are no bathrooms at the trailhead.

Use this trailhead address:
North Etiwanda Preserve, 4890 Etiwanda Ave, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91739

North Etiwanda Preserve Hours
Double check the park website to confirm these opening hours.
Etiwanda Falls Trail Directions 2
North Etiwanda Preserve is easy to find on most maps and is well maintained.
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There is a huge parking lot which will fill up on weekends and busy periods. If you park outside of the lot, be careful of the no-parking zones.
Etiwanda Falls Trail Parking
Finding the right trail can be confusing at the start. Go straight through from the parking lot for the trail to Etiwanda Falls.

Gear for the Hike

I recommend wearing light hiking gear for this hike. In a pinch you can get away with fitness clothing. The trail is wide and easy to follow, but rocky, so trail runners or hiking boots will work best. If you have sandals it will be tough. The route is also exposed and in the summer can get very hot; bring 1L of water and sunscreen.

Etiwanda Falls Trail Directions 19
Most of the trail surface is rock like this, so wear shoes that can handle it.

La Sportiva Spire

The La Sportiva Spire boots feel like comfortable sneakers but offer the protection of hiking boots. They’re great on everything from short hikes to longer hikes of 10+ miles. You don’t want to skimp on your feet.
Reviews & Lowest Prices: WomenMen

Opsrey Stratos Blue

I test a lot of gear, and for short to medium day hikes, travel, and everyday use, the Osprey Stratos (men) and Osprey Sirrus (women) are consistently the best. They’re lightweight, hold a hydration bladder to make drinking water easy, have lots of pockets to organize gear, and most importantly, are incredibly comfortable. Check out the reviews; they are impressive.
Reviews & Colors Here: Osprey Stratos (men) and Osprey Sirrus (women) 

Garmin Inreach Mini Beacon

If you’re not familiar with the Garmin InReach technology, it allows you to send and receive text messages where you don’t have cell phone signals. You can also get weather reports and trigger an SOS to emergency responders. Even if you don’t have an emergency, sending a quick message telling a loved one that you’re okay or are running late is well worth the cost. The Mini fits in your palm and weighs next to nothing. Read my review and see the lowest prices and reviews at REI (or Amazon).

Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated February 2020.See All of My Best Gear Picks Here

No company pays me to promote or push a product, all the gear you see here is gear I use and recommend. If you click an a link and buy gear, I get a small commission that helps offset website expenses. There is no cost to you.

Etiwanda Falls Trail Maps

Although the trail is easy to follow, there are other trails at the park and random signs with arrows and hikers at multiple points. Sometimes it can get confusing. Follow the directions below to get to Etiwanda Falls. There’s a trail map on the park website (at the top of this guide) if you want to explore the other trails.

Click To View Map

Hike the Etiwanda Falls Trail Map Downloads

Download the Hike GPX File

View a Printable PDF Hike Map

Fenix 6 Pro

I’m a big fan of GPS watches to follow my GPX track (which I also use as a sleep, wellness, and fitness tracker) and my current watch is the Fenix 6 Pro Solar (full review here). I load my GPX tracks onto the watch to make sure I’m in the right place, and if not, the onboard topo maps allow me to navigate on the fly. It’s pricey but it has a great battery, accurate GPS, and tons of functionality. If you want something similar without the maps and big price tag, check out the Garmin Instinct which is a great buy (prices on REI and Amazon) and does a lot of the same things.

Elevation Profile

Etiwanda Falls Hike Elevation

3D Map

Etiwanda Falls Hike Ed
The hike climbs gently, but it’s not a big mountain uphill. Etiwanda Falls sit at the end of Etiwanda Canyon.

Hike Brief

George Day Cabin Ruins
If you have the time, you can explore the other trails of North Etiwanda Preserve, which include an interpretive center and ruins of an early settler, George Day. Photo Wayne Hsieh

Etiwanda Falls Trail Hike Directions

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Video Directions

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Turn by Turn Directions

Etiwanda Falls Trail Directions 4
Go straight through the gate at the far end of the parking lot. There are signs with hikers pointing in other directions; they are for other trails.
Etiwanda Falls Trail Directions 5
The trail is wide and easy to follow.
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Go straight through the intersection with the stone post.
Etiwanda Falls Trail Directions 7
To the left at that intersection is a pavilion that hosts some interpretive displays. It only takes a minute to hike there if you want to check them out.
Etiwanda Falls Trail Directions 8
Otherwise continue straight on the trail. There are a couple of these trail markers with distance and elevation along the way.
Etiwanda Falls Trail Directions 9
You’ll pass an interpretive display about the early water pipelines.
Etiwanda Falls Trail Directions 10
At the next junction go straight through. The signs of hikers left and right on the stone pillar is a little confusing.
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You’ll go through a gate and starting hiking uphill.
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Look for glimpses of the high peaks as you hike up the trail here.
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At the next intersection, go straight through. You’re actually in San Bernardino National Forest now.
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Another intersection, keep going straight.
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The trail levels off here and you get incredible views up Etiwanda Canyon.
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When you get to the water overflow drain, keep left and follow the trail uphill.
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And after a short uphill you’ll reach Etiwanda Falls! Feel free to explore the area but be careful on the wet rocks.

Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.

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