Altadena, CA 91001
This short easy hike travels up a narrow history-filled canyon to a charming double waterfall. At the turn of the previous century, the canyon was home to Rubio Pavilion, at the base of the Mount Lowe Incline Tramway, which escorted visitors to an immensely popular resort atop the ridge to the west. A hundred years later, only the foundation remains and nature has rebounded to provide a rustic hiking alley. It is 1.3 miles round trip with 350 feet of elevation gain to reach a duo of stacked cascades within a narrow section of the canyon.
Beginning from the trailhead along Rubio Vista Road in Altadena, hike north up the west side of the canyon. The single track traces the west side of the canyon along the route of the long-removed trolly line into the canyon. The unmaintained trail is in great shape, offering brisk hiking over the first half mile to the Rubio Pavilion site. The pavilion was operational from 1893 to 1936 as the starting station for the steep tram ride up to Mount Lowe. The pavilion was crushed by a storm-driven boulder, but sections of the foundation are still visible from the trail.
Just past the foundation, the trail turns left, climbing out of the canyon and up the ridge to Mount Lowe along the path of the old tram line. When this happens, continue straight up the creek on a rapidly diminishing trail.
A tenth of a mile of off-trail rock hopping brings you up the creek to a double waterfall. The bottom half is named Ribbon Rock Falls and the top is Moss Grotto Falls. The pair is well suited for each other. When you are finished, hike south back to the trailhead or consider a few extensions.
Directions: About 35 minutes from our area. Take the US- 101 South to the CA-2 N and CA-134 E to E Corson St in Pasadena. Merge onto E Corson St. Turn left onto N Lake Ave. Turn right onto Dolores Dr. Make the fourth right on Rubio Canyon Road. After 1/4 mile, turn left to stay on Rubio Canyon Road, and then make a quick right on Rubio Vista Drive. Less than a quarter mile up, find the trailhead on the right side of the road between houses numbered 1351 and 1342.