Family Photos at Eaton Canyon

I like to take family photos in Eaton Canyon. There’s a lot of space and it’s easy to get away from the other visitors and not worry about people walking through your shot. There are beautiful trees and rustic surroundings. It’s a very different setting than Descanso Gardens (lusher) or the Arboretum (more location variety).

This family of five is at Eaton Canyon in Pasadena posing for family photos. This mom, dad, and three school-aged children are grouped close together. Their outfits are coordinated with black, navy blue, and a teal sweater. In the background are tall trees and branches with green, gold, yellow and brown leaves. Image taken by Rebecca Little Photography Pasadena, CA.
(Above) Family photo at Eaton Canyon in Pasadena

Eaton Canyon Overview

Eaton Canyon 1750 N. Altadena Dr. Pasadena, CA 91107 (626) 398-5420

A 190-acre nature preserve at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains.

A $100 permit is required for family photography at Eaton Canyon and is usually not given for the weekends. Due to COVID-19, reservations are required to enter the park and only the main entrance on Altadena Drive is open. The reservation requirement will be lifted on June 1, 2021. As of June 2, 2021, reservations are no longer required. The farther you go into the canyon, the more rugged the trails become. There are many trails from easy to rigorous, a nature center, a stream or dry riverbed (depending on the season), the Mt. Wilson toll road, bridges, and a 40′ waterfall.

There are three entrances to Eaton Canyon:

  • Main entrance – at the Altadena Dr. address. At the bottom of the driveway is a parking lot. It fills up quickly on the weekends. There is an overflow lot that exits on New York Drive.
  • Midwick – at the intersections of Midwick Dr, Roosevelt Ave, and Altadena Drive. There’s a small dirt parking lot where the trail starts on Altadena, or plenty of neighborhood street parking. Due to COVID-19, this entrance is closed. The Midwick gate is open as of June 2, 2021.
  • Pinecrest gate – on Pinecrest Dr., which is off of Crescent Dr., which is off of Altadena Dr. There is no weekend parking on Pinecrest. Due to COVID-19, the gate is locked and there is no entrance at any time. The Pinecrest gate is open as of June 2, 2021.
This is a photograph of a middle-school-aged girl walking on a large, horizontal tree branch. The location is Eaton Canyon in Pasadena and she is here for family photos in the fall. She's wearing red leggings and a purple patterned short-sleeve top. The camera is below her and looking up at her. We see a large canopy of leaves and branches above her. She looks adventurous. Image created by Rebecca Little Photography Pasadena, CA.
(Above) Young girl showing her adventurous side during family photos at Eaton Canyon


Locations for Family Photos at Eaton Canyon

I stay on the main trails when I photograph families at Eaton Canyon. It’s convenient to stay close to the parking lot and the car. There are several locations near the nature center that provide nice backgrounds. There are areas of shade, large trees with fall colors, and dramatic-looking trees with large canopies.

It’s difficult to give exact locations. I follow the main trail and then turn to the right to find fall colors. Or walk on farther down the dry riverbed to find picturesque rocks and large climbing trees. Or use the narrow trail by the parking lot to find tall grass and flowers.

Three children in Eaton Canyon Pasadena, CA. there are two middle-school aged girls and one high-school-aged boy. He's wearing a deep navy blue sweater, the oder girl is wearing a black sweater, and the younger girl is wearing a deep sage green ribbed sweater. They are posed in a triangle arrangement with the youngest and shortest girl in front. Behind them are trees and bushes with leaves of gold, green, and brown. Image taken by Rebecca Little Photography Pasadena, CA.
(Above) Family photos for a holiday card taken at Eaton Canyon

Eaton Canyon Trail 3.5 miles, good for families with older children

You enter this trail from the main entrance parking lot. It’s best not to go at mid-day as there’s full sun for the first long stretch. It also gets pretty crowded. On-leash dogs are allowed. It’s a good hike for all skill levels and it’s rated easy to moderate difficulty. You’ll scramble over a few rocks and wade through streams to reach the waterfall at the end. In the spring there are wildflowers in the lower part of the canyon.

(Above) Family of five at Eaton Canyon wearing their Dodger blue
(Above) Young redheaded boy in the dry riverbed at Eaton Canyon

How is Eaton Canyon different from other family photo locations?

Lower Eaton Canyon is dry, dusty, and sunny. It has a desert vibe with lots of sagebrush and tall grass and big rocks. It’s arid and desert-like except during the rainy season.

The canyon is very different from the lush gardens of Descanso and the Arboretum. In contrast, at the gardens, there is a larger variety of plants and environments and there will be more variety in your family photos.

(Above) Couple in the dry riverbed posing for family photos in Eaton Canyon
This is a black and white photo of a young teenaged girls. She is posing for a family photo at Eaton Canyon. She's wearing a short-sleeve patterned top with flamingos. Her long black hair is lulled back into a ponytail. She's gazing at the camera with a slight smile. There is sagebrush, scrub brush, and rocks behind her. Image created by Rebecca Little Photography Pasadena, CA.
(Above) Black and white family photo taken at Eaton Canyon

Email me for family photos

Use the contact form or email me directly at

My studio is in Pasadena, CA and I accept QuickPay with Zelle, Venmo, credit and debit cards, cash, and check.


serving Pasadena, CA and surrounding areas since 2010


Form submitted successfully, thank you.Error submitting form, please try again. Or you can email directly at

Contact info



Phone 626-676-9295


Pasadena, CA



Privacy Policy

Terms of Service