Southern California Creeking
© 1996-2022 by Gary Valle' and Gary Gunder

Arroyo Seco

Switzer Picnic Area to Switzer Camp



Angeles National Forest, north of Los Angeles, California


Switzer Picnic Area (3288’).


1) 360
Average: 360 fpm


Switzer Camp, just upstream of Switzer Falls. (2928’).


Arroyo Seco's tiny drainage rarely generates enough water to be runnable. It usually takes a MAJOR rainfall event to get it going, If the snow level is too low there may not be enough water. If it hasn't rained heavily during the last few hours there may not be enough water.

The USGS Arroyo Seco gage read about 3.0 when we did this segment. Both Chilao and Mill Creek rain gauges recorded about .75 inch of rain. The Opids gauge recorded 1.22 in the previous 6 hours. The 12 hour rain total at Big Tujunga Dam was 2.68 inches. Opids Camp 12 hour was 3.22 inches. Oddly, the major “El Nino” storm did not do much in the San Gabriel Mountains. Ventura and Santa Barbara got hammered. Matilija Dam 48 hour was 9.17 inches. Perhaps the best Arroyo Seco indicator was Mt. Wilson, with a 24 hour total of 2.75 inches

The one mile descent took about 3 hours. There were only about 3-4 carries, all because of wood. In general, on this day, the creek was remarkably clear. This is the first of three segments we paddled on Arroyo Seco. The other two are:

Related information:


© 1996-2022 by Gary Valle' and Gary Gunder
(To enlarge an image, click on it. )

Put-in at the Switzer Picnic Area.

Steep, congested creeking, just below the put-in.

The gradient on this run averages about 360 fpm.The snow level was just above us, and at times snow mixed with rain.

Most of the following photos are in sequence working down the creek. They show only a small portion of the drops and features.

Looking down Switzer Falls to the plunge pool below. This approximately 50 ft. falls has a twisting 10-12 ft. drop leading to the main falls. The pool is shallow and confined. We didn't run it.

Southern California Creeking
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