The author and her teenage son relax in the shade with a morning snack at the base of Millard Canyon Falls in August 2020 (Photo – Kitty Cahalan)

In the 1860s, Henry Millard and his family settled in the hills above Altadena, where he kept bees and farmed an area then known as Church Canyon, having been the source of timber for the Plaza Church in Los Angeles.

By Kitty Cahalan

Although he did not leave until ten years later, the canyon where he lived still bears his name to this day. Millard Canyon Falls is a 2.5 mile round-trip woodland hike in the San Gabriels that begins from the Millard Trail Camp parking lot on Brown Mountain Truck Trail. Start by going up on the road that comes out of the parking lot. After camping, the trail branches off to the right and narrows into a single lane, where it winds through the canyon. During the cooler and wetter seasons, which last until they dry in late summer or fall, there are a number of stream crossings, as well as rock jumps, sturdy shoes that can withstand slippery rocks are therefore recommended. The trail is easy enough and short enough to serve as a first hike for parents with young children and ends (as long as the water lasts this season) at a beautiful waterfall in a shallow pool.

Note that many trails in the San Gabriels are temporarily closed as we face a hot and dry forecast for fall 2021, resulting in a fire hazard. Check the condition of the trail on the US Forest Service page.

Car park

From Loma Alta Dr in Altadena, take Chaney Trail north; turn left on Brown Mountain Truck Trail and walk down to parking lot below Millard Trail Camp. This modestly sized lot holds around two dozen cars and fills up early on weekends and holidays. Note that cars must display an adventure pass and that the door to Chaney Trail just above Loma Alta will lock at sunset.

Hiked: 8/5/2020
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