Canyon Quick Links
LOWER EATON CANYON
"A low elevation route with predominant waterfalls and long hikes."
WCCM Class: 4CIV R
Two 120’ropes, one 60’ rope, outfits for a class C canyon with multiple mandatory swims, 30’ of webbing, steel rappel rings, bolts at each drop but be prepared to build natural anchors. Self rescue and group rescue gear with head lamps.
Expected Time Commitment
Car to car for a small solid team 10 hours if water flow is high or low.
+ Warning! Canyon is impassable under heavy water conditions. Hike to the bottom of last waterfall to verify if conditions are passable
+ 5 rappels
+ Several 4th and 5th class down climbs.
+ Several swims, swiftwater rope systems may be required
+ One known strainer pool to be aware of during swims in heavy water flows.
+ Hypothermia and heat exhaustion during high water, high air temperature days
+ Mandatory jumps and slides not in accordance with the WCCM
Non Technical Obstacles
Long hike with tricky route finding needs for the approach. Bush whack with a steep loose down climb at the final drop in section. Snakes and bees prevalent throughout.
Reccommended Time of Year
Late spring, summer and early fall. This route is a long low elevation front country canyon with a back country feel and commitment. This canyon is basically south and west facing with a narrow shady section.
*Near the city of Pasadena head north off the 210 freeway on Alta Dena drive.
+ Park along the road at any of the dirt turnouts above Eaton Canyon Nature Center. The closer to the base of the hill the shorter your hike will be.
+ As of the winter of 2004 the main road to Henniger Flats was washed away in sections creating a need for an alternative start. Inquire ahead of time at the Eaton Canyon Nature Center on trail alternatives and conditions.
+ Hike the road up hill towards Henniger Flats.
+ Once at Henniger Flats follow the road up past the camp towards a large saddle where the road makes a “T” junction. Make a right and follow this road downhill staying right. You will reach a large turnout area before the road banks left and back uphill.
+ From the “T” intersection down to the turn out the road will be following above a deep canyon called Esme canyon. You can look across Esme to see an old brushed in road with a line of old telephone poles. From the dirt turnout you will need to locate a steep trail that drops directly down into Esme canyon.
+ At the bottom of Esme hike down stream a few yards then find a route to climb back up the opposite side of the canyon to the old brushed over road. Follow the road for a while until it dead ends into a large brushed-in turn around area. At this point you will be able to see down into Eaton Canyon Narrows.
+ You will need to make a hard right, find and follow a small trail that will contour up Eaton Canyon far above the stream bed. This trail will wander down to a severely washed out area that must be down climbed to the base of the canyon. Watch for loose rock and potential rockfall. Helmet up!
After gearing up hike then down climb several obstacles
+ Rap #1 45′ bolt cyn right – up out of sight
+ Rap #2 35′ bolt cyn left – black hanger
+ Rap #3 80′ bolts cyn right – out ln the face of the canyon blocking boulder
+ 2+ hours of wading, swiming, down climbing and hiking with possible small rappels or jumps to navigate
+ Rap #4 60′ natural anchor - into possible swim **bolt has been chopped
+ Continue hiking down canyon 10 minutes
+ Rap #5 bolts cyn left rap into possible swim watch for other hikers when you throw your ropes, tricky rope pull, possible swim at bottom.
Follow established hiking trail back to the car park. You will cross under the out of service bridge after about 20 minutes. Use this as a possible exit point depending on where you parked your car.