What could be more soothing than adding the sound of flowing water to your zen experience of forest bathing? The place is Cooper Canyon Falls, deep in the San Gabriels, reachable via a 3-mile (round-trip) out-and-back hike on the Burkhart Trail from Buckhorn Campground.
The path immediately descends into the canyon and does so continuously as you hike in. Along the way, you’ll bathe in the classic Angeles “treesome” of Jeffrey pines, Douglas fir, and incense cedars that you might easily mistake for redwoods. As you enjoy the views into the canyon, look for Steller’s jays and gray squirrels tree-hopping. At about the 1.25-mile mark, you’ll cross a flowing stream next to moss-covered cedars, and shortly afterward you’ll pass a trail junction that bends left to Cooper Canyon Campground.
Continue on for a quarter-mile, passing an overhead view of the flowing falls, and take a sharp, steep left turn down to the base of the mini cascade. A handy rope is there to ease your way down. In spring, the falls enjoy a surge from the melting snow and, with plenty of boulders, this spot is a perfect place to settle in and enjoy the calming sounds of rushing water as you bathe in the presence of a lovely forest.
To get to Buckhorn Campground and the Burkhart trailhead, take the CA-2/Angeles Crest Hwy. for 33 miles from La Cañada Flintridge and turn left into either the Buckhorn Day Use lot or the campground. Adventure Pass required. Dog-friendly!