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Trail Canyon Trail #13W03

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.0 (9)

The most popular hike in Big Tujunga. Continue to Tom Lucas Camp or Indian Ben Saddle for alone-time and great views.


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Map Key

6.6

Miles

10.6

KM

Point to Point

5,152' 1,570 m

High

1,903' 580 m

Low

3,298' 1,005 m

Up

48' 15 m

Down

10%

Avg Grade (5°)

36%

Max Grade (20°)

Dogs Leashed

Features River/Creek · Views · Waterfall

Family Friendly Many people do the first two miles to the waterfall as a day hike.

Need to Know

Water options are few and far between once you're up to Condor Peak Trail

Description

In 2017, this became the most popular hike in the Big Tujunga area, but few people venture beyond the waterfall at mile 2. If you opt to continue beyond the falls to the Condor Peak Trail or Indian Ben Saddle, you are treated to views of Mendenhall Ridge, Pacoima Canyon, and the west fork of Fox Creek. From here, there are multiple choices for backpackers to join other trail systems, including the Pacific Crest Trail.

The trail starts at the end of Trail Canyon Road #3N34 and follows a tributary up and over a small ridge then drops down to the main canyon where there is a foundation of a house burned in the Station Fire (2009). The trail follows the stream passing a shaded picnic table then climbs the shadeless west side of the canyon. It passes a very popular waterfall which is the main destination for most trail users. There are no official trails down to the base of the falls.

The trail then drops back down into the canyon with multiple crossings and occasional shade from alder, cottonwood and oaks trees. About 1 mile past the falls there is a single campsite with a metal ring and partial shade. It is usually referred to as "Lazy Lucas". From here the trail is rougher but easily passable as it continues up the canyon, climbing a switchback around a narrow part of the canyon then dropping back into the canyon again. There are several trees to step over and a few to go under. Tom Lucas Trail Camp is located at the upper end of a large meadow under a thick canopy of bay trees. Once a popular camping location that had three three grills, three tables, and a pit toilet (on the other side of the trail) only the grills remain.

The trail continues to follow the canyon upstream passing Big Cienega and another meadow, then climbs out on a series of long switchbacks. The trail condition deteriorates as it leaves the canyon bottom but is passable though a thicket of ceanothus and chamise. It reaches the top of the ridge where there is a junction with the Condor Peak Trail on the right. The trail follows an old fire road north to Indian Ben Saddle and a junction with the Mendenhall Ridge Road #3N32.

From the saddle, the trail drops down into Upper Pacoima Canyon and follows it upstream. It climbs out of the canyon and ends near Deer Spring on the Santa Clara Divide Road #3N17 a short distance west of Mt. Gleason. This section of trail has not been maintained in many years and is very difficult to find.

Please consider joining a volunteer trail crew to help maintain this trail. While it may be tempting to clear brush on your own, Forest Service authorization is required to ensure protection of forest users and natural resources.

Flora & Fauna

Bobcats, raccoons, mountain lions, bears, deer. In the canyon bottom there is occasional shade from alder and oak trees. On the slopes, there is chamise, manzanita, scrub oak, mallow and bush poppies. Nice wildflowers in spring. Poison oak is abundant. Watch for rattlesnakes.

Contacts

Shared By:

Mark Fitzsimmons with improvements by Alan Coles

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 9 votes

#10402

Overall
  4.0 from 9 votes
5 Star
33%
4 Star
44%
3 Star
11%
2 Star
11%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#996

in California

#10,402

Overall
3 Views Last Month
942 Since May 6, 2018
Intermediate/Difficult

0%
0%
43%
29%
29%
0%

Photos

Hiking Trail Canyon Falls with the pup.
May 8, 2022 near La Cres…, CA
Tom Lucas Trail Camp and meadow
Mar 17, 2021 near La Cres…, CA
Cottonwood trees along Trail Canyon Trail.
Mar 17, 2021 near La Cres…, CA
Trail Canyon Falls
Feb 25, 2021 near La Cres…, CA
Trail Canyon Falls
Mar 17, 2021 near La Cres…, CA
Trail Canyon Trail
May 8, 2018 near La Cres…, CA

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Check-Ins

Feb 11, 2021
Naomi Dauermann
We enjoyed the hike a lot until about a mile or so past Lazy Lucas— thorny bushes partially blocking the trail led to our turning back. — 5h 00m
Jan 12, 2021
Alan Coles
Went to Tom Lucas camp. Trail is better but many trees to go over/under and lots of brush. 10mi — 9h 00m
Jan 1, 2020
Andres Alfaro
6.6mi
Dec 28, 2019
Ernie Linares
May 19, 2019
Paul Montoya
Jan 19, 2019
Chuck Hernandez
Sep 2, 2018
Lyndsay Peters
Did the first 2 miles and had a lovely time! Trail needs some love. 2mi