Etiwanda Falls is a waterfall located in the San Bernardino National Forest north of the North Etiwanda Preserve. The 3.5-mile round trip hike follows a wide rocky dirt path that runs north through a portion of the North Etiwanda Preserve to a rocky slab area above the waterfall. Although technically not a part of the North Etiwanda Preserve, Etiwanda Falls is accessed from the Preserve.
Distance: 3.5 miles out and back
Duration: 2.5-3.5 hours
Elevation Gain: 800 feet
From the 210 freeway in Rancho Cucamonga, exit on Day Creek Blvd and head north about 2.2 miles to Etiwanda Ave. Turn left on Etiwanda Ave and follow 0.4 miles to the North Etiwanda Preserve at 4890 Etiwanda Ave in Rancho Cucamonga. Walk to the trailhead.
Note: If the parking lot is full, do not park in any No Stopping or No Parking Zone along the street. If you do, your vehicle may be towed away by law enforcement.
Etiwanda Falls Hike Description
The trail leading to the Etiwanda Falls is rocky and fairly steep. It’s not quite as wide as a fire road but more spacious than most hiking trails. Between the trailhead and the falls, there are two junctions with other trails in the North Etiwanda Preserve. To get to the falls, you walk straight, past the junctions and follow the trail as it curves slightly to the right.
The other trails eventually connect and lead to Day Canyon and the picturesque, Day Creek. A nice hike with fantastic views of Cucamonga and Etiwanda Peaks that you can do another time. For now, stay the course and hike to Etiwanda Falls.
Because you will be hiking to a point above Etiwanda Falls, the views are not nearly as dramatic or visually pleasing as other waterfall hikes such as San Antonio Falls, Fish Canyon Falls and Sturtevant Falls. Even the relatively tiny Monrovia Canyon Falls has more visual appeal. When it’s flowing, of course.
Even so, Etiwanda Falls is still a worthwhile waterfall hike. Even with the “above-the-falls” view. Some hikers climb down the canyon’s dicey walls to get below the falls. But the rocks are slippery, treacherous and definitely not recommended. Just enjoy the views from the top.
Be sure to watch your step while at the falls as the rocks are very slippery. Also, don’t forget to use plenty of Deet or another insect repellant as there are normally hordes of mosquitos and biting horseflies near the falls. You can hike north of the waterfall alongside the East Etiwanda Creek to experience the enjoyable and scenic area that feeds the waterfall.
Etiwanda Falls is not a majestic waterfall. Know that in advance. This is the kind of hike you do because you enjoy the Outdoor Nation and are looking for a moderate level, relatively short hike. The topside waterfall at the end is a small bonus for your efforts.