Fish Canyon Trail
During the “Great Hiking Era” of the early 1900’s, Fish Canyon was one of the premiere outdoor recreation destinations in the San Gabriel Valley. At one time over 50 cabins dotted the canyon, along with several miles of trails, and a dance hall at the mouth of the canyon.
During the fire of 1958 and the subsequent flooding of 1959, most of the cabins were destroyed. Only four cabins remained until the mid 1970’s when they were torn down. Today, there is one trail left in Fish Canyon and remnants of the cabins can be found along the trail.
Access to this superb natural and historic attraction was severely curtailed when Azusa Rock expanded its quarrying operation in the mid 1980’s. In 1997 the City of Duarte received a grant through the 1992 Safe Neighborhood Parks Act to provide a new access to Fish Canyon, and to restore the existing trail.
The hike to Fish Canyon Falls is 9 miles round trip. The elevation gain is 2,280 feet and the trail is rated moderate+. An easier 3.2 mile hike through the canyon can be accessed at the rear of Vulcan Material’s Company property. Please check Vulcan’s website for information regarding access to the shorten trail.
The trailhead is found on the west side of Encanto Parkway north of the entrance to the Van Tassel fire road. From the trailhead, follow the trail up the brushy hillside. At about the one-mile mark, the trail levels out and winds through a shady wooded area. After coming out of the wooded area you’ll come to a graded plateau. At this point you’re very near the quarrying area. Go left towards the rusty water tank. (Remember, this is private property – do not wander around). At the water tank turn left up the abandoned fire road, and follow the ridge. When you meet the two-mile mark you’ll see a chain link fence indicating that you are leaving private property.
As you descend into Fish Canyon beware of the poison oak – it’s abundant and poisonous all times of the year. The hike into the canyon is about one mile in length and offers many beautiful vistas of the canyon.
The hike through the canyon is an easy hike along a sometimes-narrow trail. Watch for cabin foundations and remnants of those who previously lived in the canyon. This is the most beautiful section of the trail; enjoy the soothing stream and the diverse plant life. When the trail ends it’s time to cross to the other side of the stream. This can be quite a trick when the water runs high. After about 1/3 mile you’re rewarded with the spectacular site of Fish Canyon Falls. This is a great place to rest before heading back.
Please note: Portions of the Fish Canyon trail are steep, rocky and narrow. Hiking boots are recommended. Hiking can be very dangerous. Hike at your own risk.
Access Through the Azusa Rock Quarry
Vulcan Materials Company also allows access to Fish Canyon through the Azusa Rock Quarry:
2013 Access Dates:
- Saturday, April 13, 2013
- Saturday, April 20, 2013 (Earth Day Weekend)
- Saturday, April 27, 2013
- Saturday, May 4, 2013
- Saturday, May 11, 2013 (Mother's Day Weekend)
- Saturday, June 1, 2013 (National Trails Day)
- Saturday, June 8, 2013
- Saturday, June 29, 2013
Reservations are not needed. Gates will open at 7:00 a.m. and free shuttle service will run throughout the morning to the trailhead, with the last trip up at 11:00 a.m. Parking on the site is also free.
All hikers are required return to the Azusa Rock site by 3:00PM.
As a safety measure, all hikers will be asked to sign-in so an accurate head count can be maintained. The trail access will be cancelled in the event of rain or if other adverse conditions should arise.
DOGS – Dogs are allowed on the shuttle van and trail. However, dogs must remain on-leashes at all times. Also, dogs must not be left alone at any time.
Note: Access to the Fish Canyon Trails through the Azusa Rock Quarry will be closed from November 16, 2012 through December 31, 2012 due to erosion prevention work.