Fish Canyon Falls

7/1/16 Update:  This trail is temporarily closed due to recent fire. 

Fish Canyon Falls trail is located in Duarte, CA and the trailhead is located in Vulcan Material Plant. At the end of Fish Canyon Road, there is a sign for trail. Follow the sign to the parking lot. This is a popular hike due to the waterfall attraction so I made sure to get there early. We arrived at 7:15 am and shocked to see many cars already! Oh no! As I was getting us ready, I realized that most of them were in a group. It must have been a Boy Scout Hike with Dad event or something because father-son pairs came out of every car. Now, I was on a mission to hurry and get a head start.

We hiked this trail in April when the wildflowers were still in bloom. So many interesting smells!



At about 0.7 miles, you will come to a bridge. You are now leaving the Vulcan Material property and heading in to Fish Canyon. Soon you will forget about the quarry. Small dogs will need to be carried over the bridge. Those gaps are big! I had to carry Xena too. She didn’t even want to try it. Smart girl.


You kidding, right?

After the bridge, we hiked along the creek. You can hear the creek along the path. That’s another reason why I recommend hiking this trail when it’s not crowded.


We went down to the creek to scope it out too.


The trail was well-maintained. Interesting history of Fish Canyon and educational information were provided at several locations.


At one time, there were over 100 cabins in Fish Canyon. Unfortunately, they were all destroyed by fire and flood but remnants of some of the cabins are still visible from the trail. The last stretch to the waterfalls is an uphill. Watch those little paws on rocky terrain! A bit of scrambling is required in one short section but it’s very doable.


We met Becky from Lovz2Hike that day.

We made it after 2.5 miles. Here is the 3-tiered 80 foot waterfalls in front of us.



We took a break here until the Boy Scout troop caught up with us. It’s time to head back. 🙂 But kids asked if they can pet Xena and she is soooo cuuuute (their words). So we stayed a bit longer so kids can give her treats and pet her in turn. Xena gets overwhelmed with a group so I use “one at a time” approach which is more manageable for her. My highly sensitive introvert fur baby. We share a lot in common. A perfect match. 🙂

It was no longer overcast and the blue sky was stunning against the canyon. And by now, more hikers were on the trail. A group after a group after another group… I am not sure if it had anything to do with the Earth Day being the day before but we came across LOTS of hikers on the way back and Xena wasn’t the only 4-legged hiker any more.


Good to Know:

  • Hike date:  4.23.16
  • Total distance (RT) and type:  5 miles, out and back
  • Elevation gain:  844 ft
  • Trailhead:  34.157175, -117.923836 (copy/paste in to your GPS app)
  • Parking lot available at the trailhead
  • Open to the public April – September 7 am to 7 pm & October – March 7 am to 5 pm, 7 days a week. Dogs are allowed on Saturdays and Sundays only.



Happy Hiking!

Follow us on Instagram!

Jones Peak via Bailey Canyon

Hello everyone! Sorry for the late post. This is a hike I did end of November. I usually post a hike within a month but with holidays and all, I just got around to write about it.

The trailhead starts western side of the parking lot in Bailey Canyon Park (address provided below). Follow the footpath and pass through a turnstile then turn right. You will be on the pavement but do not worry, this part is short. Keep going until you see the Flash Flood Area sign. Trail changes to dirt behind the sign and things get better.

Jones peak 7

When you reach the first Bailey Canyon sign, go straight towards the waterfall.


When we came across the second sign, we went towards Bailey Canyon Trail. From here on, it was all uphill and we had fantastic views of San Gabriel and L.A. basin along the way. Soon, we reached at Indian Lookout Point. There are couple benches at this lookout. This could be a good turning point if you are a beginner.

Continue on Bailey Canyon Trail. I love everything about the next picture. Two of my favorite girls in the nature and the moon above on a clear blue sky. Let me translate the scene for you.  H: ‘”Are you coming?”  X: “Don’t you think we should wait for mama?”


Single track continued all the way to the peak. This area was so green! Just lovely. Some parts of the trail was shaded like here but most of the trail is exposed and it reminded me of Sam Merrill Trail in Altadena very much except it wasn’t crowded.


After hiking uphill for 3.2 miles, we reached at Jones Peak at 3,386 feet. There is no sign for the actual peak on the trail so you have to look for a footpath that goes up the hill on your right away from Bailey Canyon Trail. There is a bench to sit and enjoy the view. We had the whole place to ourselves for 10 minutes or so until a group of about 10 hikers – maybe a meetup group – came up and took over the place. I got distracted and forgot to take photos there. Sorry.. We had our water/snack break and left the peak leaving the place to the group. It was around 10:15 AM and we wanted to get down before it gets too warm.




Good to Know:

  • Hike Date:  11.29.2015
  • Distance:  6.4 miles
  • Elevation Gain:  2,240 ft
  • Restroom at the trailhead / Free parking
  • Trailhead:  451 W Carter Ave, Sierra Madre, CA 91024
  • Rated moderate – difficult


I just got back from my annual after holidays desert trip. I can’t wait to share the trip with you! I had a wonderful time in Joshua Tree National Park. But before then, I have another hike to share. This one is from December. Stay tuned. 🙂

Happy Hiking!

Race for the Rescues 10.24.15

THE RESCUE TRAIN is a unique, 501(c)3 non-profit, no-kill organization dedicated to eliminating animal suffering and euthanasia through hands-on rescue work, dedication to spay/neuter, education and awareness.

The Rescue Train hosted its 10th year Race for the Rescues 5k/10k yesterday. Xena and I were happy to be part of this great event once again.

Why race:

Because animals do not have a voice. Four million cats and dogs—about one every eight seconds—are put down in U.S. shelters each year. Most of these animals die unwanted and alone. Race For The Rescues believes that by uniting animal lovers and animal welfare organizations to work together we can change those heartbreaking statistics and make our world a kinder place.

Race for the Rescues raised over $426,000 this year to help 37 amazing animal welfare organizations. AND, all 40 dogs who were up for adoption were adopted at the event!! It was such a great day. Here are some photos from the event. We hope you can join us next year.


Inspiration Point via Castle Canyon Trail

It usually takes about a week for my body to get used to Daylight Savings and it takes about the same time when we change back in November. Instead of doing my usual routine – lay low and take easy – this year, I woke up at 5:20 am and met up with friends at dawn to hike the Inspiration Point in Altadena.

Inspiration Point via Castle Canyon

View of downtown LA

Castle Canyon Trail starts from Mt Rowe Railway Trail on top of the Echo Mountain. My previous post on Echo Mountain has the trailhead information. We reached at Inspiration Point after 4.62 miles and 2909 feet in elevation gain. We ate the delicious sandwiches Jackie made and shared snacks while enjoying the view.

Mountain bikers meetup maybe… FYI, Castle Canyon is only for hikers. Inspiration Point is reachable by other nearby trails as well.

It’s been about 5 years since I hiked this trail. Is it possible that my fear of heights got worse over the years? I hope not. . Some parts of Castle Canyon was very narrow -barely one foot width – with pretty steep decline off the edge. My heart raced and I felt my anxiety coming on. It’s mind boggling.. It’s unlikely for me to forget about the narrow, cliffy parts of the trail. Only thing that makes sense is that it didn’t bother me that much back then. But, I refused to believe that my fear of heights is getting worse! Can it? Can a phobia get worse over time seriously? How am I supposed to hike Machu Picchu and other amazing places on my bucket list if this gets worse? I am hiking with a (mental) disability!! OMG

Anyway, shocking my system was a good call after all. I did not leave my couch after I got home and took a bath. I was thoroughly exhausted. I slept for 10 hours that night and woke up feeling fresh! I didn’t experience any side effects of the Daylight Savings time change. 🙂 Happy Hiking!

Popular Echo Mountain Via Sam Merrill Trail

Do you like switchbacks? This one is for you!

Winter Hike #5:  Altadena, CA

It was such a clear day! I’ve hiked this many times before but never seen downtown LA from here until then. I was hiking with friends and their dog. I was happy for them that they can experience Echo Mountain on such a beautiful day.

I remember this one time, it was so foggy, I hiked the entire thing with poor visibility. It was cool in an eerie way.

A picture of my sister from the foggy day hike - 03.20.2009

A picture of my sister from that foggy day – 03.20.2009

Sam Merrill Trail is well-maintained and is rated moderate. There are distance markers – 1 mile, 2 mile – to guide you. The distance from the trailhead to the Echo Mountain House (click for the history, fascinating!) ruins is 2.7 miles (image from flickr) and the elevation gain is 1,478 feet. That’s a pretty good hill workout, don’t you agree?

Sam Merrill Trail takes you up to Mt Lowe Railway Trail where the trail levels out – you won’t get lost, just enjoy the switchbacks. I knew I was getting close to Mt Lowe Railway Trail when I could hear people cheering. 🙂 At the junction, you want to turn right. You are about 0.1 miles away from the Echo Mountain House ruins. Enjoy reading the history and seeing the old pictures and of course, the view of San Gabriel Valley and the city of Altadena!

Once upon a time, there used to be a fancy resort there…bowling alley and all. The place must have looked beautiful inside. It used to be also called “White City” due to all the lights from the resort area at night. I can’t imagine going up there on an incline car though but then again, not everyone is afraid of heights. 🙂 Check out the link above, you will see the photo.

I led my friends down to the picnic area to find some shade and a picnic table. We were lucky, we found two empty tables. We settled on one of them and had a picnic. Thanks for packing lunch for me too, Jackie! What a nice surprise! It was quiet and we were the only ones there except the hikers who passed by occasionally. We had a private party. 🙂

The trail is mainly used for hiking but it is also used for trail running and mountain biking as well. So be sure to look out for them. Most people we ran in to were friendly and especially dog-friendly that day. We met all sizes and types of dogs on the trail, which is always fun.

This hike is popular so you can expect medium to high traffic depending on what day and what time of the day you go. You can expect this trail to be crowded during weekends. It’s also common to see hiking groups – boy scouts and meetups – here as well.

Details on the Trail:

  • Dogs on leash
  • Free street parking
  • Distance:  5.4 miles
  • Elevation gain:  1,478 feet
  • Note: views, local history, lizards, wildflowers

Good to Know:
Hiking here in summer is brutal even in the morning unless you can finish hiking before 9 am. There is almost no shade. Even though the trail is open all-year around, I think January – March is the best time.

Happy Hiking!

Bill Cull Trail to Waterfalls

I had a very interesting hike today and I am excited to share with you! With Xena having the black coat, it is very important for me to find trails offering shades (at least majority of the trail) in the summer and it is not that easy in southern California. While having my breakfast, I was searching for such trails on and came across Bill Cull Trail in Monrovia.  It sounded promising so I got us ready quickly as possible then headed out.

Monrovia is about 41 miles away from my house so my excitement had to be put on hold temporarily while sitting in the LA traffic. Once you get off the exit from I-210, there are signs for Canyon Park. Finding the trailhead was easy. Some people parked near the residential area and walked up to the trailhead to avoid paying $5 parking fee in the park. I thought about it briefly then decided to forego. It’s already 11 AM and all. It is about 1 mile walk on the pavement on uphill. No thanks.. Xena would pass out by the time we get to the trailhead. Today being a weekday and all, there was a plenty of parking spaces which was nice. When I went inside the Ranger Station to pay the fee, the lady ranger told me Xena can come in too. She said it’s a dog friendly place. Love that!

The trailhead is little north of the Ranger Station and there are two trails, take the one on the left. For about 0.6 miles, it’s exposed to sun. Xena was not happy and looked at me as if I was crazy. (“Sorry Z, it will get better”, I promised) I begged her to keep moving. The power of treats! The rest of the trails to the waterfalls was mostly shaded and pleasant.


It is a great hike for all levels.  The trails are well maintained and the climb is gradual.  It did not feel like we gained 725 feet in elevation. You have to cross over 3 little streams which is always fun!

We got to the waterfalls in an hour including a few stops due to Xena’s temper tantrums (I didn’t take a photo of it even though it was funny because I don’t think she would appreciate it) and stopping for water breaks. When we got to the waterfalls, we both were happy!  🙂   It’s time for snacks!


On the way back, we were about 0.6 miles from the trailhead (we were almost out of the shaded area) on Bill Cull Trail when we ran in to a rattlesnake. Eeeeeeeekkkk!!! I screamed like a little girl! My gosh, just look at it! Wouldn’t you?? Luckily, Xena was on a leash and I was able to protect her.


We gave it a plenty of space but it didn’t move for 5+ minutes. Being a sensible hiker and all, I googled what we are supposed to do. It said to avoid it if we can. Go around it…ok…hmm…. Unfortunately, Bill Cull Trail is narrow and there was no space for us to go around the creature. Reluctantly, we turned around and had to retrace a little bit. When we met up with Waterfall Trail again, we turned right (turn left if you are going to the waterfalls) and headed toward the Nature Center and the picnic area. Thank goodness for the park guide I picked up at the Ranger Station earlier!! From there we walked to the Ranger Station which was less than a 1/4 mile. What an adventure! We hiked 3.57 miles due to the bit of retracing we did. Otherwise, it should’ve been 3 miles in total.

Happy Hiking!

Details on the Hike:

  • Trailhead: 1200 North Canyon Boulevard, Monrovia, CA
  • Restroom: One near the Ranger Station and another one near the Nature Center
  • Distance: 3 Miles
  • Elevation gain: 725 ft
  • Note: waterfalls, lizards, horses, rattlesnakes, bears