The North Etiwanda Preserve was established in 1998 to provide refuge for a number of rare and endangered species. The major draw of the North Etiwanda Preserve is Etiwanda Falls, which sits at the foothills of the Cucamonga Wilderness. Etiwanda Falls is a magical place of lush green narrows and cascading water, an unusual site in the desert landscapes of Southern California. With the ever growing popularity of Etiwanda Falls and it’s proximity to major cities, graffiti vandals and litter bugs have become a nuisance. Even with that minor deterrent, this is a “must see” location for hikers in the Inland Empire. In this guide I will provide directions, maps, photos, and a detailed hike description.
Directions And GPS Tracks:
- To hike the North Etiwanda Preserve to Etiwanda Falls, drive to the parking lot located at 4890 Etiwanda Ave, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91739. From the 210 Freeway, take the Day Creek exit and head north. Day Creek with wrap to the east and dead end into Etiwanda Ave. Go left and head north on Etiwanda Ave until you reach the parking lot. The parking lot is pretty large, but fills up quickly on the weekend. Do not park along the street outside of the parking area, or you will get towed away.
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- Distance: 3.5 miles
- Elevation Gain: 826 ft
- Minimum Elevation: 2067 ft
- Maximum Elevation: 2871 ft
- Time: 1-3 hours
- Difficulty: Easy
- Dog Friendly: No
- Permit Required: No
- Parking: Only park in the designated lot. Rancho Cucamonga police will have your car towed away if you park anywhere else along the street.
- Season: Year Round
- Hours: Sunrise to Sunset
- Trail Condition: The trail is steep, well maintained, well marked, and easy to follow
- Cell Phone Reception: Pretty good
Hike Map And Elevation Profile:
0.0 Miles- From the North Etiwanda Preserve parking area, head north towards the gated dirt road. There will be a gate to the north and a gate to the east, head though the gate facing north. Continue hiking north with beautiful view of the San Gabriels up ahead. You’ll also be able to look back on Rancho Cucamonga to the south, and see San Gorgonio to the east.
0.25 Miles- You’ll come across an informational sign that tells the history of water harvesting in the area. Early ranchers and farmers had to be creative and inventive. Ditches and canals were used before the construction of the wooden flumes in 1883. The flumes eventually decayed and were washed away in a flood. The flumes were replaced by clay pipes that are still visible today.
0.5 Miles- The trail will fork. Take the right fork and head through the open gate. Taking a left at the form will put you on a different trail that eventually loops around to the main path to Etiwanda Falls. You can take that option if you’re looking to add more distance to your hike.
1.0 Miles- You’ll pass a road intersection. Had you take a left at the fork from .5 miles, this is where that road would have dropped you off. Continue hiking north and straight ahead.
1.5 Miles- You’ll have finished most of your uphill hiking at this point and be presented with some pretty spectacular views when you turn around. When you see the more modern steel and concrete water transport unit, you’ll know you only have a few more steps to go.
1.7 Miles- The entry to Etiwanda Falls is pretty magical if you can visit on a weekday when there aren’t a lot of people. You’ll be instantly transported to a canopy of trees with flowing water underneath.
Immediately to your right you’ll see the first fall on offer. The main creek flowing through the canopy of trees passes over a flat slab of rocks and falls around 10ft to a pool below, and that pool then falls around 15ft.
From the main fall at the entry to Etiwanda Falls two more creeks fork back. These two creeks feed the main fall at the entry. The views for the creek on the left are far more impressive than those on the right.
To explore the creek on the right, you’ll need to cross over the main creek at the entry of Etiwanda Falls and begin hiking on the use trail that parallels the right side creek.
The best falls to see are if you take the left fork from the entry. Just like on the right side creek, you can follow a use trail for the creek on the left fork.
Once you’ve spent enough time exploring the falls and creeks on the right and left forks from the entry, you can return the way you arrived and exit back to the parking lot on the main trail.