Presidents Day Hike Part II: Cooper Canyon Falls

Nothing like watching a little 30 Rock, drinking an Old Rasputin, and blogging! It’s time for Part II of my Presidents Weekend Adventure: Cooper Canyon Falls. This hike was chilly, so we all added an extra layer of clothing (and I brought out my mittens).

After leaving Vetter Mountain (post picnic), we continued 12 miles up the road to Cooper Canyon Falls (hike #25 in my book “101 Hikes in Southern California”).

We screwed up a little.. apparently Buckhorn Day-Use parking lot, and Buckhorn Campground are 2 very different places. We parked in the Day-Use lot, searching for the trailhead and ultimately created our own path, thinking it was the real path.

After our “trail” headed off a steep cliff we decided to head back to the parking lot and re-evaluate. It was a super steep trek back to the car.

Super steeeeep.

We went back to the top and came up with a new plan. This is when we noticed the discrepancy in the signage and the directions in our book. We headed down the Angeles Crest Highway about 500ft, where the entrance to the Buckhorn Campground is located.

Now we were back on track after our “woopsie”. Unfortunately, at this point it was 2:15pm which is late in the day for a hike. Long shadows begin in the afternoon, making hiking along a steep edge tricky. Little did we know that the Buckhorn Campground is super deep, so it took a mile of walking before we even got to the trailhead. At least it was a pretty walk and we all want to come back and stay at this campground.

We all prevent forest fires!

There were so many giant trees, I had to give one a hug. I’m a tree-hugger.

Giant trees!

Finally we got to begin the hike. It was extremely steep and snowy. This photos don’t show the heights and cliffs involved. We also spoke in a whisper as we headed into dense areas where I’m sure animals were hibernating.

We continued until 3:15p, which was when we really needed to turn around and head back to the car (in order to make it back to LA in time for a dinner party). We plan on coming back to this hike in the summer (and camping too), because I think we missed a critical path. In all our hiking, it never sloped down toward the falls. We could hear the waterfall the entire time, but we didn’t seem to be moving any closer to it. This hike confuses me and considering how beautiful it was it deserves another go.

Group photo before we headed back to the car.

On the way back, we stopped at Newcombs Ranch Restaurant and Bar, 6 miles down the road for an unsuccessful bathroom break. Thankfully they make really good hot cocoa.

This was a cute place. It almost made me wish we didn’t bring Subway sandwiches so we could have stopped in there for lunch. But then again, Im positive Ill be back. It’s so hard to believe we were an hour outside LA playing in snow, hiking, wearing gloves, drinking hot cocoa. What a fun way to spend the holiday?! And other than the cost of my hike book and gasoline, it was free!


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