No need to drive six hours to see a waterfall. Eaton Canyon hikes start with a city view and end with a 50-foot cascade into a reflecting pond. The easy, almost flat walk suitable for children begins with a surreal cityscape of downtown Los Angeles; soon you're crisscrossing a shallow creek on stepping stones and meandering on a nearly 1.5-mile trip buffeted by overhanging trees in the San Gabriel foothills and Angeles National Forest. Hiking boots are preferred. Tennis or running shoes work. Wear flip-flops and you'll bust your ass. Warning: The trail can get crowded, and morons sometimes leave trash. Deadly warning: Climbing to the top of Eaton Canyon Waterfall is dangerous. Its near-sheer face means idiots must be rescued regularly. Other than that, it's all good. There are two ways in, so park at either the Nature Center or at the Pinecrest gate, all explained on the Eaton Canyon Nature Center website. Observe parking signs carefully. 1750 N. Altadena Drive, Pasadena. (626) 398-5420,

—David Futch

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