Friday, June 17, 2016

Friday Hike Day: Lewis Falls, Azuza

Tickle torture.
The trail to Lewis Falls is still well hidden and little known enough that you can have it to yourself. It is way up the mountain toward Crystal Lake and there are no trail markers. The road was closed for years, opened then closed again due to fire damage. It only re-opened a few months ago. 

Trying to get a shot of one brother, captured two...Can you see him?
The only marker is a NO FIRES sign that faces in the opposite direction. GPS via google maps will take you right to it, though you can't tell when you pull up. Park on the side of the road, there is a shoulder and use your Adventure Parking Pass. There are NO restrooms! You can use the restrooms at the Soldier Creek picnic area before you arrive at the trail head. This is NOT a stroller friendly hike and I do not recommend baby in a back pack style carrier because, as you will see in the following pix, the trail requires ducking, squatting and climbing up, over, and under tree branches, logs and rocks.

Ducking under! This branch got me right on the back of my shoulder as I tried to go under and thru. Ouch!
It is only about 1 mile to the falls but can feel intense at moments due to the ducking and climbing, which keeps it interesting. It's definitely not a flat trail. Trail is mostly shady which contributes to a bit of creep factor. The old cabin ruins don't help. There are also a couple cabins that are still in use, so be respectful of private property.

Climbing up rocky 'steps'.
Since the trail still doesn't get much use, it can be confusing to follow in a few spots. Five minutes in, you will come to a large boulder. Do not be fooled in thinking the trail leads along the left of the boulder toward the creek! It actually leads right to a switch back. You will head behind a private cabin, upwards and into full sun for a little while before returning to the creek for a few crossings.

This is not Lewis Falls.
The creek and falls were still flowing but the pool at the base of the falls certainly had a lower water level than the first time I did this hike with a friend. It's only ankle deep but still refreshing and beautiful to look at. Flies were more of a nuisance then I remember then the last time. Depending on the season, and drought conditions, the creek water flow could be very low.

Lewis Falls!
The falls are located in a small, narrow canyon. Boulders provide a few spots to sit. Beware of mosquitoes, large black ants, spiders and red ants, depending on the season. This trail is not boring. The climbing and the lush environment keeps it interesting.

Wild flowers, other flora and fauna are in bloom right now, at the end of spring. I don't think I saw any poison oak but be careful anyway. I wouldn't be surprised if there was some growing along the trail. Parts of the trail are nearly over grown and very narrow. The blooming foliage also attracts plenty of bees. 

This trail is so enchanting. If there was ever a forest populated with would be this one! I can imagine them watching us stomp through their mossy neighborhoods. Be sure not to leave anything that could disturb them or their eco system, like trash.

I am sure these solar glares are fairies flying too close to my camera phone. Aren't they beautiful?
This is a very kid-friendly hike due to it's short distance and the visual and physical interest factor. The views from within the enchanted forest and along the side of the road, can not be beat. We give this a mid-to high rating on the adventure scale. You may see various birds and is snake season and though we didn't see any along the trail, we saw one attempting to cross the road on the drive up. Stay aware and toward the middle of the trail as much as possible.

See you next week.
Start the day outside! 

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