Distance: 4ish miles round trip
Time: 1h45m including 15-minute picnic
Elevation gain: around 600 feet gain and loss
Drive: 30 minutes by car from Pasadena old town
Trails of the Angeles hike no. 17 (but we stopped where this route drops down into the Arroyo Seco gorge)
In the middle of a Sunday afternoon when the sun had just come out, we wanted something short, sweet, and quickly accessible from Pasadena.
We parked on the Angeles Crest Highway rather than driving down to the car park by the picnic area, and enjoyed the half mile down the steep winding road.
Starting by crossing the bridge at the south end of the car park, we followed the hike as described until we got to what the book describes as an ‘unmarked junction’ with the Arroyo Seco trail heading southwest (now clearly signposted, to Altadena). Having walked most of the time until now along the riverbed among trees (with ten or so easy river crossings involving stepping stones), we were enjoying being higher up and out of the trees, so we opted to ignore the rest of the route and strike off down the (still closed) southwesterly trail (naughty us).
We walked far enough (maybe a bit more than half a mile) to round a bend that brought us out in evening sunshine, where we had a panoramic picnic on the path (not much danger of seeing anyone else) before retracing our steps.
The book version isn’t the ideal walk for pretty views, and we can’t comment on the quality of the waterfalls (pretty much non-existent right now would be our guess), but if you include the walk down from the main road and do our prohibited variant, you get some nice ones.