Not all sleeping beauties rely on a prince for a grand awakening. Monrovia Canyon Park’s namesake 30-foot waterfall rises and shines in full force after a solid rain—and slips into something slimmer, yet still lovely, the rest of the season. The falls can be reached from three starting points, and we recommend making a morning of it by hiking the 3.4-mile roundtrip Bill Cull Trail, which starts near the entrance kiosk. This route parallels the canyon’s access road before meeting up with the designated Self-Guided Nature Trail, where you’ll bear left. After about a quarter-mile, merge onto Falls Trail. The path hugs the canyon’s western wall, skimming above and over a stream through a lush canopy of forest. Take your time and step carefully as there are some drop-offs. Continue on the gently undulating trail until you reach Monrovia Canyon Falls, a two-tiered sparkling tumbler bisected by a granite ledge and surrounded by oaks and bay trees. Boulders are strewn about the waterfall’s base like seats before a stage, so find a perch and enjoy nature’s performance.
TIP: The Peach Café (141 East Colorado Blvd.) in nearby Old Town Monrovia serves breakfast and lunch until 3 p.m. The blueberry pancakes and chocolate waffles won’t disappoint.
From I-210 8 miles east of Pasadena, exit Myrtle Ave. and go north for about a mile. Past Old Town Monrovia, turn right on Foothill Blvd. After two lights, turn left on Canyon Blvd. and watch for the park entrance on your right after a mile (1200 N. Canyon Blvd.) Park outside or inside the grounds. Here’s a map of Monrovia Canyon Park and the Waterfall Trail. Car entry $5; buses $8. Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends; closed Tuesdays as well as Christmas Day and July 4th weekend. Afternoon trail traffic tends to be lighter. No bikes on trails. Dog-friendly!