A simple and straightforward reverse canyon hike to a quaint waterfall located in the higher elevations of the San Gabriel Mountains, which includes ample shade from the towering alpine and oak trees scattered along the 3-mile out-and-back trail.
- There is a large selection of coffee shops in La Cañada Flintridge (the city before entering the Angeles Forest via Angeles Crest Highway) off Foothill Boulevard. While taking the off ramp to the Angeles Crest Highway, instead of taking the left to the mountains you can go right and Foothill Boulevard is the next light down. Depending on what you're looking for, here are a few I enjoy before my adventures:
- Consider taking the 134 East to the CA 2 North in order to avoid any and all congestion that occurs downtown. Once you're on the CA 2 North, you'll merge onto 210 East / CA 2 and take the first exit directing towards the Angeles Crest Highway. After passing the Angeles Forest entrance, you'll pass the Mount Wilson Red Box Road and continue driving along CA 2 and you'll be passing Newcombs Ranch Restaurant and Bar (feel free to stop for a meal before or after your hike). After passing Newcombs Ranch, you'll want to keep a look out for Buckhorn Campground 7.4 miles after the ranch. Pull inside the campground entrance following the signs towards Buckhart Trail where a parking lot will be located along with the trailhead being on the north side of the lot.
- NOTE: You need a Southern California "Adventure Pass" to park. If you do not have one, you can purchase a pass for $5 at Newcombs Ranch Restaurant and Bar. If you're planning to hike in the Angeles Forest quite a bit, consider purchasing the annual pass for $30. Either works depending on the amount of activity you plan to do within the year. However, be sure to check the Angeles Designated Recreation Sites list in case the parking requirements change at a later date.
- The trailhead for Buckhart Trail begins at the northern most part of the parking lot where you'll spot a sign for "Pleasant View Ridge Wilderness - Angeles National Forest".
- Follow the trail north, running parallel to a stream originating from Little Rock Creek.
- A few paths will veer off from Buckhart Trail leading down towards this stream and many campers from Buckhorn Campground make their way down to relax near the water. Be extremely careful of the loose gravel if you decide to head down to the stream.
- After following the trail for 1.5 miles, a split with the Pacific Crest Trail will occur. Stay heading north at the split and keep an eye out for another split heading down towards Cooper Canyon Falls.
- You'll be able to spot a short switchback a few yards past the PCT split, be extremely cautious heading down. A climbing rope is present to help in the decent to the base of the waterfall.
- Once you reach the bottom of Cooper Canyon, relax by the water before heading back the way you came in the direction of Buckhorn Campground.