Los Angeles County: A Day Hiker's Guide
Nature always has the last word. Maybe that’s the lesson to be learned from the on-and-off-and-on-again waterfalls of Rubio Canyon in the San Gabriel Mountains. The falls, beloved by Southland hikers for more than a century, were snuffed out in 1998 when Rubio Cañon Land & Water Association workers, attempting to reroute pipe damaged by the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, accidentally triggered a massive rockslide. Tons of rock rubble buried a half-dozen heavenly cascades: Moss Grotto, Ribbon Rock, Grand Chasm, Lodged Boulder, Roaring Rift and Thalehaha. Hikers were furious, as were local conservationists who, for decades, had questioned why the canyon’s sanctity was violated by miles of pipe when the water company’s small number of customers could be served by wells and other sources at the base of the mountains. The tiny water company said no way it could afford to clean up the mess. Lawsuits and legal claims were readied. Finally the U.S. Forest Service agreed to build a road into the canyon and haul out the rock debris. The water company, concerned about getting stuck with a $3 million invoice for the Rubio Canyon rock removal, appealed the Forest Service’s decision.