Lower Buckhorn Falls is an impressive yet elusive waterfall in the high country of the San Gabriels. Its located near the more popular Cooper Canyon falls but receives much less visitors. The 70 foot waterfall cascades down vertical cliffs and is surrounded by dramatic rock formations.
The very stunning Lower Buckhorn Falls, May 2020
The trailhead for the Lower Buckhorn Falls hike starts at the Day Use Parking Lot at the far end of Buckhorn Campground. Note that Buckhorn Campground is not open year round. It closes during the winter months until the spring.
High country scenery
As you follow the Burkhart Trail down, you’ll be able to hear the sparkling Buckhorn creek to your right and below. Eventually Burkhart trail descends down into the confluence of Buckhorn and Cooper Creeks. Here you leave the trail and follow Buckhorn Creek south for 0.8 mile.
Journeying up this gorge, you get to experience one of the finest and most beautiful unspoiled alpine canyons of the San Gabriels. Although some of the off-trail scramble is a long trudge with some boulder-hopping mixed in, the canyon is picturesque with its many cascades and dotted with pines.
Buckhorn Creek flow, May 2020
Boulder-Hopping in Buckhorn Creek, May 2020
Eventually, the thunderous roar of flowing water gets louder and you get an eyeful of the grand waterfall. It is quite the view to behold. Its height makes it more spectacular to watch as water tumbles down the towering rocks, emitting a drizzling spray.
70′ Buckhorn Falls in May 2020
To return, scramble back downstream and return to the Burkhart Trail.
Hiking Distance: 3.4 miles round trip; on trail and scramble