Eaton Canyon Natural Area Park (hereafter Eaton Canyon Park) is located where the mountain stream debouches into the foothill wash at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains. Eaton Canyon itself is a major canyon beginning at Eaton Saddle near Mount Markham and San Gabriel Peak. Drainage flows into the Rio Hondo, then into the Los Angeles River.
Various agencies have jurisdiction over the canyon:
- Lower 2/3 below the Toll Road Bridge (1,250'): Eaton Canyon Park (960' at the parking lot) is Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation.
- Upper 1/3 below the Toll Road Bridge: City of Pasadena Water Department.
- North of the bridge: US Forest Service.
- The Mt. Wilson Toll Road to Henninger Flats (2,600'): Los Angeles County Forester and Fire Warden (Fire Department).
Eaton Canyon Park has a Nature Center, which reopened with a newly-constructed building on 11/21/98, after the previous building was destroyed by the 10/93 Altadena Fire. Inside are displays of local animals, geology, ecology and a well-stocked bookstore. Plants blooming now are labeled and there is a book with pictures of all the other plants to aid in identification. Outside is a native plant garden, also labeled. Around the building are nature trails highlighting different things: the Mary Shannon Preschool Trail for small children, the Fire Ecology Trail showing how the common shrubs respond to fire, and the Oak Terrace Trail interpreting the local landscape. Brochures are available inside the building.
Eaton Canyon was named for Judge Benjamin Eaton who was hired by Don Benito Wilson to bring water to his Fair Oaks Ranch.
Click on the map to browse
From I-210 East: Take the Altadena Drive Exit, and go north on Altadena Drive.
From I-210 West: Take the San Gabriel Boulevard Exit (signed for Eaton Canyon Nature Center), continue past Sierra Madre to Altadena Drive, and turn right (north) on Altadena Drive.
The entrance to Eaton Canyon Nature Center is 1.6 miles north of I-210, just past New York Drive on the right (east side), marked with a large entrance sign. Drive down the winding entrance road to the parking lot at the end of the road.
By Trail: Altadena Crest Trail and Mt. Wilson Toll Road from bridge, also from equestrian trail cut-off on Toll Road.
Warning: this list does not get updated as often as the hikes listed in the region tables. Consult Mt. Wilson Region Hikes for the latest listing.
Season Name 26.1 5 1500 nov-may Eaton Canyon Nature Center to Henninger Flats 27 9 4500 nov-jun Mt. Wilson Toll Road - Altadena to Mt. Wilson 27.1 9 -4500 nov-jun Mt. Wilson Toll Road - Mt. Wilson to Altadena 27.22 18 4500 nov-jun Mt. Wilson Toll Road - Altadena to Mt. Wilson Round-Trip 28 13 4100 nov-may Altadena to Henninger Flats, Idlehour Trail to Eaton Canyon, Idlehour Trail Camp, Inspiration Point, Castle Canyon, Echo Mountain, back to Altadena 34 2.5 800 nov-jun Mt. Wilson to Harvard-Wilson Saddle, Mt. Harvard 39.3 12
3150 nov-may Bailey Canyon to Mt. Wilson Toll Road, Henninger Flats, Eaton Canyon Nature Center
- Eaton Canyon Nature Center: New Site and Old Site
- John Muir's The San Gabriel Mountains and mirror site
- Seasons of the San Gabriels, Eaton Canyon, May 5, 1999
- Seasons of the San Gabriels, Coyote Canyon, January 9, 1999
- Mark's Pasadena Hiking Page - satellite image and animal pictures
- Page with 117 KB Photo
- Christopher Earls Brennen's Lower Eaton Canyon
- Gary Kinsley reports that in early 2000, Eaton Canyon - Ecological Issues is one of four videos being shown on Channel 56 on Charter Communications on Fridays at 7 p.m. (Only one of the videos is shown each Friday, but the schedule is not announced in advance.)
Go to: Field Guide to the San Gabriel Mountains: Places
Copyright © 1997-2000 by Tom Chester and Jane Strong
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Updated 2 October 2000.