Canyon Park is another hidden gem in Southern California where you can enjoy nature, have a picnic, or go on a hike to a waterfall. Canyon Park is situated at the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and is operated by the city of Monrovia.
The park offers several picnic areas, educational tours, and a nature center. The picnic areas have tables and barbeques. At the Nature Center, you can enjoy displays of local flora and wildlife indigenous to Canyon Park. Learn about the early history of the Canyon residents, and the present-day natural hazards in visiting a wilderness environment.
For my family, the best feature of the park is the hike to the year-round Monrovia Falls. There are 3 different trailheads for this hike. You can start from near the entrance gate for a 1.7-mile moderate hike (one way).
You can also choose 2 other trailheads for a 1 mile and ¾ mile easy hikes to the falls. The hike is mostly shaded with a canopy of Oak, Maple, Sycamore, and many other trees. You will be walking along a year-round stream and occasionally crossing it.
Along the way, you will see a lot of squirrels climbing trees and you will hear birds making their mating calls.
The park is also home to the Trask Boy Scout reservation. This is a large facility for boy scout campouts. Another hiking trail climbs up a steep paved road to the reservation and then continues on above a dam. It is a difficult hike, but very rewarding.
Tip: The park allows dogs, so bring your best friend with you. You will both be happy.
There is a small fee to park ($5 cars), but you can avoid the fee by parking on streets outside the park. This will definitely add to your hike (about 0.6 miles), but that might be a good thing.
The Park is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
Outside of normal business hours, there is nothing stopping you from hiking the trails. You just need to park outside the park gates.
The park and waterfall trail can be enjoyed the whole year, but the best time to visit is during spring. The forest will be greener and the flowers are blooming. The waterfall will be especially plentiful after the rain.