A loop on multiple trails through one of the most picturesque and popular canyons in the San Gabriels. Multiple stream crossings, river cascades, shaded canyons and a 50 foot waterfall give way to thick forests, vine-covered trails, Jeffrey Pines, and eventually chaparral slopes of the front range. A beautiful trail with varied landscapes and plenty of places to extend your stay – either by camping or taking spur trails deeper into the mountains. A highly-recommended trail.

Santa Anita Canyon is a beautiful area of the San Gabriels, full of varied landscapes and a fairly dependable 50 foot waterfall – Sturtevant Falls – which doesn’t take all that long to get to. The landscape is populated by turn-of-the-century Forest Service canyons, a few campgrounds, and an old outdoor resort. It’s also pretty close to the L.A. basin sprawl, which means this area is capital c Crowded.

Every single time I’ve come here, no matter what day, no matter the weather, no matter what time – the parking lot at the trailhead is packed solid. But don’t be discouraged or scared away. You can park in the lot or along Santa Anita Road on the way in with an Adventure Pass, or you can pay ten bucks at the Pack Station / General Store and use their dirt lot.

From the parking lot, head south to the trailhead, which follows a narrow paved road down a sharp decline. It descends 325 feet on hard pavement, without shade. It’s not necessarily the most pleasant way to begin or end a hike, but it’s the fastest way down – so what are ya gonna do?

If you’re interested in getting off the pavement as quickly as possible – and don’t mind adding a little bit of distance to your total trek, you can hop on the Hermit Falls Trail. This will take you down to the creek bed, where you can either add on a little bit more boulder-hopping to meet up with this hike, or take a side trip to the tiered Hermit Falls – a great spot for swimming and pool-jumping. If you don’t mind a tiny bit of added distance, it’s also a nicer way to reach the bottom of Santa Anita Canyon.

But for the purposes of this trail, stick to the pavement.

The road winds and switchbacks its way down into Santa Anita Canyon, where it eventually turns into a more narrow road, then a dirt road, then a more traditional dirt trail.

On the descent, you’ll hear the sound of falling water. If you like that sound (and you should), be happy – because you’ll be hearing a lot of it for the rest of the hike. After the floods of ’38, a series of concrete flood control dams were built over much of the canyon watershed near Los Angeles. Over time, the dams have become overgrown with greenery and moss, so they’re not nearly as intrusive as you’d imagine a large concrete dam to be in the middle of the forest.

As the trail continues, it crosses a short bridge over Winter Creek and reaches a junction with the Winter Creek Trails and the First Water Trail (which is where you’ll pop out if you took the Hermit Falls detour). From here, continue north on the Gabrielino Trail.

You’ll skirt alongside the roaring (at least, in the wet season) creek and quickly come upon the first of the many rustic Forest Service cabins you’ll see along the route.

There are 80 cabins scattered along the creeks, built between 1907 and 1936. Each of the cabins were built by their individual owners, and definitely display their unique styles. No two cabins are the same — and while some are definitely more … um, rustic … than others, I wouldn’t mind spending time in any of ’em.

Some other hikers have criticized this trail for not ever feeling like a wilderness — and that’s a fair criticism — especially for these early parts of the trail, where most of the crowds are congregated. But smelling the cabins’ campfires on the weekends, or watching a few cabin-dwellers work on their labors of love outside really gives the impression of hiking through one of the old mountain resorts that used to dot these landscapes. It’s an experience that’s rarely duplicated near Los Angeles and should definitely be appreciated.

The trail continues through a few small “villages” of these cabins before splitting away from the water and heading into the ridge above the creek. At this point, you can continue north toward a cabin called “Fiddlers’ Crossing.” This trail will cross the creek three times — which can be a bit tricky if the water’s running high — cut through some ivy-covered landscapes, and take you to the base of Sturtevant Falls.

Sturtevant Falls is a beautiful, cascading 50ft waterfall, filled with that trademark icy San Gabriel water. The falls empty into a shallow pool, surrounded by sycamores and some dry boulders. Like I said, it’s freezing, but you can wade in and dunk yourself in the water if you’re in the mood. If it’s hot out, expect there to be a sizable crowd at the foot of the falls. It’s a very popular spot, but it’s definitely worth the trip.

If you’re looking to escape the throngs near the foot of the falls, backtrack to Fiddlers’ Crossing where the Gabrielino Trail heads away from the water. Here, the trail splits into the Upper and Lower Gabrielino. The Lower Upper Trail has a more gradual ascent, but is also the route for equestrians in the area — so you’ll probably run into some trail presents along the way.

More importantly, the Upper Trail misses some of the best scenery in the entire canyon. So skip it and head on the Lower Trail instead.

This section of the trail is single-track, and will probably be much more secluded than anything you’ve hiked so far. Most people who hike along the creek are just headed to the Falls and back, so you’ll have a bit more private time as the trail ascends a steep ridge that overlooks the section of the creek you just hopped through. Eventually, you’ll get yourself a nice semi-aerial view of the falls, too.

The trail then wraps around the southern edge of the waterfall and leads right to the top of the falls, themselves. You can get yourself some dizzying straight-down views, overlooking the cascading water beneath you. Also, you can look really cool to the people at the bottom of the falls, who probably won’t know how you got up there. Here’s a view of some fellow hikers resting to the right of the big drop.

From here, the trail landscape changes. You’re no longer hiking along a broad, boulder-strewn creek — but now you’re walking on a jagged path cut into the rock, while the water beside you roars through narrow cascades. The sounds are peaceful, the trail is shaded by trees, and the air is cooled by the mist from the creek. It’s an incredible section of trail, so take the time to enjoy it — or stake a claim on one of the stream-side boulders and have a snack.

The creek eventually widens out again, and the roar of the cascades returns to the gentle bubbling of gentler water — although you’ll probably still hear some distant falling water from the scattered flood control dams throughout the canyons.

The trail climbs away from the creek for a bit, and winds through some smaller side canyons that are absolutely covered with ivy, which further softens the sounds of the running water. If you want some scenery that says, “I am not in Los Angeles,” this is where you want to be.

The Upper trail eventually meets back up with the Lower Gabrielino Trail at Falling Sign Junction. Hang a right at the junction and continue on toward the Spruce Grove Campground. This is the longest stretch of the trail so far that’s not within earshot of running water. But this dry section of the trail is short lived — soon after getting a few good views of the surrounding peaks through some breaks in the forest canopy, the trail meets back up again with the water and follows alongside it again, stopping only for a few shallow crossings.

You’ll pass the small Cascade Picnic Area, which is really just a single table and an outhouse next to another flood control dam. Not that much to look at, but a quiet place to stop for a break if you’d like.

The trail continues along the creekside through dense, cool forest until it reaches the rather expansive Spruce Grove trail camp. While still technically a trailcamp, this is one of the more developed backcountry campgrounds I’ve seen in the San Gabriels. Lots of fire pits, stoves, tables, and even a pair of vault toilets. When I walked through, there was a large group of hikers sitting and eating their lunches at the tables. It didn’t look like any of them had backpacking gear, so I’m guessing they were either a hiking group out for the day or a group coming back from Sturtevant Camp, which is just a few minutes further along the creek. I’m a sucker for camping next to water, so I may have to head back up here with a tent sometime soon.

Just after the Spruce Grove Campground, the Gabrielino Trail continues deeper into the San Gabriels, toward the West Fork and De Vore Campgrounds. Instead, head on the Sturtevant Trail, which you’ll only be on for about an eighth of a mile.

You’ll pass near the entrance to Sturtevant Camp, the last remaining working camp from L.A.’s “Golden Age of Hiking.” It’s a fully functioning backcountry resort, and has a handbuilt log U.S. Forest Ranger station that’s the oldest surviving one in the country (built 1903) still in its original location. The camp was owned by the Methodist Church for years, although the good folks at Adams Pack Station raised the funds to purchase the area in 2015. In the future, they plan to restore and renovate the cabins and hold events in this incredible historic location. You can use their web site to reserve a cabin ahead of time.

You can also walk into the camp to look around if you’d like. If a staff member is working (something the Pack Station hopes to improve), you can also tour some of the historic buildings at the camp. If they’re not around, you can still take a ride on the Big Swing!

santa-anita-canyon 2

the oldest Forest Service structure in the country still in its original position

santa-anita-canyon 3

the historic lodge and dining hall, now enclosed

santa-anita-canyon 7

The “Big Swing” and some of the many on-site cabins

Continue along the Sturtevant Trail as it skirts along the flood control dam and crosses the creek. At the junction with the Upper Zion Trail, hop onto the Upper Zion and say goodbye to the water and cool canyon breezes. This section of the trip crawls up the north side of the Mount Zion ridge, passing through a short section of Jeffrey Pines before getting back to that all-too-familiar low San Gabriel scrub.

This section of the trail has its fair share of history, too. This was the original route of the trail to Sturtevant Camp, built in 1896 by Wilbur Sturtevant himself (and, one assumes, some helpers). After a series of fires and landslides in the 1950s, the trail fell out of use until the Sierra Club and volunteers from the Big Santa Anita Gang rebuilt the route in 1985. There is a small plaque dedicated to these volunteers at a short spur trail that leads to the peak of Mount Zion.

The summit itself isn’t much to write home about, and the trail that leads to it has sections that are heavily eroded, but the trail is so short and you’ve already come so far that it’s worth the tiny side trip. The summit is surrounded by high chaparral, but you can make out the surrounding landscape of Mount Wilson and get a nice view of the entire Santa Anita Canyon.

Go back to the Mount Zion trail, and follow the trail as it switchbacks down the south face of the mountain. This section of the trail is a bit steep, and shade is scarce. But if you’re coming this way, it’s all downhill, so you probably won’t even notice unless it’s a sweltering summer day.

If that’s the case, worry not. It’s only one and a quarter miles to Hoagee’s Camp, the former site of another group of riverside cabins, destroyed by fire in 1953. It is now another well-maintained trail camp, with a few of the old foundations and chimneys of the cabins still surviving.

If you want, you can skip Hoagee’s and continue back to Chantry Flat on the Upper Winter Creek Trailhead. You’ll be on the trail for one extra mile, and you won’t get any more views of the river, but if you want to avoid climbing back up that steep paved incline at the beginning of the hike, that’s the route to take.

The Lower Winter Creek Trail, however, is far more picturesque, and has the added benefit of being next to the water for the entire time. If you take this route, you’ll pass a few more cabins, cross the water about another half-dozen times, and hike for just 2 miles before getting back to the Chantry Flat trailhead.


When you’re done, be sure to stop by Adams’ Pack Station for some good food and conversation. The weekend barbecues are super tasty!

Santa Anita Canyon is also a a great place to catch some local fall foliage, too. The trees were still green here, but the ones falling were beautiful in the wind:


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Casey Schreiner

Founder and Editor-in-Chief at Modern Hiker
Since founding Modern Hiker in 2006, Casey's work on the site has appeared in regional and national publications, including the Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, the Associated Press, CNN, New York Magazine, High Country News, and others. He has broken several national news stories about outdoor vandalism and policies and his first book "Day Hiking Los Angeles" is available for pre-order.
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This post was written by Casey Schreiner on February 17, 2008


  • Tom Houpt says:

    I did the Upper Trail yesterday and it was a pretty good time. Less intense than I thought it would be. Once we got onto the upper trail, the amount of people we say was cut down by at least 4/5ths. Most people definitely are just shooting for the Falls, which are not to be missed. The place can get serene and some of the landscape views are incredible. I would recommend this hike.

    Parking wise, I just bit the bullet on this one and paid the $10 for parking. Those with adventure passes we scattered all along the road as you approach the trailhead. If you could snag one of the closer spots, do it, for those than cannot, you could be looking to add 1-2 miles each way due to how far you have out you have to walk.

  • swanson6676 says:

    how are the falls and stream these days? Is there much water? Been thinking of planning a hike up there soon.

    • kathryn says:

      I hiked to Hermit Falls a few days ago (Oct 24) and there was a fair amount of water. I hadn’t been before, but there was water in the stream for most of my walk at the bottom of the canyon, and water in the pools and at the falls themselves. I wasn’t quite brave enough to rapel down the boulders with that knotted rope (I was hiking solo– and that looked terrifying anyways) BUT the falls sounded pretty substantial. Also, everything was quite green from the recent rain! The bottom of the canyon was really lush and gorgeous.

    • Ryan says:

      Just went today. Not a ton of water but a good amount considering the drought. Such a great hike. The final stretch is extremely lush and for a tint stretch feels like it could be a rainforest. I say go for it.

  • Thanks so much for this great guide (and the whole website existing and blah blah :) ! Went for my first real big-girl hike yesterday and did this trail, and it was absolutely beautiful.

  • Mari says:

    Hiking this beast today with a small group of future-teachers from UCLA. We’ve been using Modern hiker for our weekend hikes. So happy this site exists :)

  • Gloria says:

    We did this hike yesterday and it was great. We did the 9 mile loop and saw some great just starting fall foliage. The waters of course were very low. We started about 630 am, so the weather was perfect and the trail wasn’t crowded. Loved it !!

  • Sara says:

    Great article! Have you tried camping there yet? I wonder how well this would be converted into an overnight backpacking adventure.

    • Santa Anita Canyon is one of my favorite places to camp – lots of trail camps to choose from, not too far to hike in with firewood, and LOTS of opportunities to explore once you set up camp.

  • happy hiker says:

    Great review on this trail..will put on my list to hike. Cheers.

  • AdelaTirado says:

    my boyfriend and I are looking for a challenging hike. We loved Escondido falls and the grotto and are looking for something like that. Can you recommmend some great hikes?

  • Wendy says:

    Novice question, but I am trying to plan a day (and, a 9-mile hike seems like it would take a good part of the day!): bathroom facilities?

  • Cassie says:

    We just did the hike up to Mount Wilson and it was awesome! Definitely difficult, but worth it. Just a note, we took the Manzanita/Winter Creek Trail (depending on what map you look at) down to Hoegee’s. If you do this, the trail splits to the right and then another that looks like it connects to the Backbone Trail on the left. Follow to the left and then it splits again and head left. There are no markers here. Thankfully we guessed correctly. Also, the Pack Station has upped their prices to $10.

  • Akiko says:

    Hi all,

    I was thinking about trying this trail this weekend. The description said the trail is pretty clear, but could get confusing at times. And if you have a map and know where you’re going, you would be fine… I love hiking, am still an amateur, don’t know how to read the map. Is there any change I could get lost? Thanks!

  • Eric says:

    Adam’s pack station I believe. Again beware of mountain bikers.

  • terry m says:

    my wife and i are going up this weekend. we are novice hikers. any last minute updates? i read above there is a store/park ranger to call. is there a name of that store?

  • Eric says:

    How long is this hike? According to some source it’s only 7 miles. Not that it’s a big deal, it’s a beautiful hike either way. But beware of mountain bikers. A good chunk of the loop is very narrow and I was shocked to see mountain bikers on some real narrow steep trails and some of them don’t slow down. couple of them nearly ran me over, and had it happen on a steep narrow trail someone would have gotten hurt. this is a accident waiting to happen.

    Also ran into a rattlesnake. so beware.

  • Nate says:

    You could call the park rangers up there and ask. They have a general store. I’m sure someone there could tell you if the flies are gone.

  • Cesar says:

    Hmmm….thanks for the info Nate..I was planning to go within 2 weeks. Hopefully someone can keep us updated on that fly situation lol

  • Nate says:

    Great hike! My wife and I loved it! Did the whole thing and I have to say I’m wiped :) We are novice hikers though… I’d just like to warn those who are considering this trail in the next few weeks, it is FULL of flies… almost to an unbearable level. If you stop for anything they instantly swarm you, bite you and crawl on you. It makes it hard to take a rest of any kind until you rise out of the canyon. I was told they should be gone in the next few weeks, but just thought I would warn others.

  • Chris says:

    My wife and I are novice hikers and about half of this total trail this weekend. It was absolutely beautiful and well worth it. We had to park about a mile away from the parking lot along side the road because it was so crowded. To answer the question above, there are 3-4 stream crossings on the way to the falls which are about 6″ deep. My wife got to try out her waterproof boots and we realized our balance is not what we thought. Wonderful trail and gorgeous views, especially nice once you get past the crowded falls trail.

  • Jay says:

    I have a question with re to bringing higher end camera equip. We’re debating doing this hike this Sunday(Easter). We did the Bridge to Nowhere hike in late March and enjoyed the multiple river crossings(about 3-4′ deep and fast) but I know my camera equip wouldn’t appreciate that.

    So I just want to make sure when you guys refer to streams, they are indeed “hop rocks across a stream” and we shouldn’t expect to be waist deep or higher crossing a river. Just trying to gauge what to bring. Any advice is appreciated. Great site!!!

  • Michael says:

    What a great hike. We went this weekend, followed your path and had a wonderful time.

    But about the parking situation: beware hidden “No Parking” signs! Many others were parked in spots that were no parking zones, and also got parking tickets. Just like LA, they’re parking ticket happy up there.

  • Cesar says:

    This trail sounds so fun. Is there a number I can call to make sure all the main trails are open? I made the mistake of heading over to the Crystal Cove State Park in Laguna Beach yesterday and it was closed :(

  • colleen says:

    yes the are mosquitos use skin so soft products. They smell better than off and work good.Yes you could go as a beggener. But i recoomend just hikking to sterivant falls for the day. Bring water and pack a lunch.

  • emily says:

    hi, are there mosquitos? also, would you say this is a good trailer for a beginner? are there a lot of steep hills? thanks

  • oren leshem says:

    Hello Modern,
    i have some questions if you dont mind.
    i have a 5yrs boy will he be able to do this trail?
    we are now in August is there going to be water at the fall?
    do you think we can camp there? and if so do i have to reserve a spot?

    • Modern Hiker says:

      Oren, a 5-year-old could probably make it from Chantry Flats down to the falls and back, but I don’t think you’d want to take him on the full loop. Be prepared to carry him on the steep incline on the way back out, too.

      The water should still be flowing, and there are campsites further in the canyon. I believe most of them are first-come, first-served, but the bigger group sites may allow reservations. Check out this page on the Angeles National Forest site for more info.

  • Devin says:

    Can you swim in the water??

    • Modern Hiker says:

      The river water is usually not high enough for swimming, but there are a few swimming holes along the way. Look for some south of Chantry Flats, toward Hermit Falls, and a few above Sturtevant Falls, too.

  • Me says:

    Hi, I would like to try this hike clockwise. In other words, start at Chantry flats down the windy path, get to the lower winter creek trail, continue through the loop, finishing with the Lower Gabrielino trail. I’m a novice hiker with a bad sense of direction. Can anybody give me some advice? Are the signs well marked? I understand there are signs going counterclockwise, but what about clockwise direction? When I reach the junction of the Lower/Higher Gabrielino trail, will there be signs indicating which is which? Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks.

  • anamuco says:

    I love this area and this trail. Be very careful if you take the upper winter trail. My daughter and I had to pass by three rattle snakes, two of which were babies.

    Just FYI if your going there. Be careful.

  • maryrocks33 says:

    Beautiful hike…long and even longer because there are so many places to stop and play….bring more water than you would expect and leave with much stronger glutes and hamstrings:)

  • Mike says:

    I just did this trail today and it really nice and shaded the whole way until the downhill past Mt. Zion. There were reports from other hikers that there were rattle snakes on the downhill but I did not encounter them.

  • alex92126 says:

    Now that the weather is begining to warm, are there bear activities reported here? What about snakes?
    Curious because we want to do some camping here.

  • sadie says:

    Did this hike today using this article as a guide and it was AMAZING!
    It’s true, as another commenter said- this article confused the Lower with the Upper- Upper is the Equestrian Trail and Lower is what takes you right above the Falls. SO BEAUTIFUL!
    Walking sticks are helpful for the stream crossings and parking was $10 at the pack station. Worth it. We did everything in about 5 hours.
    Thanks so much for these awesome write-ups!

  • Debbie says:

    Patty … what a wonderful story of you and your family in this wonderful area of the Angeles. I couldn’t help but wonder about how life would be like living in one of those cabins.

    Modern Hiker … I did this hike recently on the weekday and it was definitely a great hike. I will be leading a group here in a few weeks. I definitely recommend coming here on the weekday mornings. Almost did not see a single person until I was on the way out. Great escape!!

  • Patty says:

    I have a picture of one of the burned out cabins and Googled 1950s santa anita canyon fire so I could put a date on it. So nice to come upon this blog, Modern Hiker. I am an old time hiker. My folks bought one of the cabins down here for $750 in maybe 1950. We called it Gremlin Haven. Some cabins were numbered, others named. Our cabin and biffy escaped the fire, but our tool shed burned down. We remember the rangers Mac and Red. Wonderful guys. My dad remembered holding my hand walking me down to the cabin when I was 2 and 1/2. Is the Bailey bridge still there? Mom was a nurse at the Methodist camp at Sturtevant, so we knew that well. My oldest sister tore her achilles tendon on a rock in the creek next to our cabin and mom had to piggyback pack her out. My other sister made a fire prevention poster (in 4th grade) based on one of the burned out cabins and she won the contest (a $25 savings bond). Oh, and we loved the people who owned and ran the Chantry Flats store. I’m coming back. Thanks for the travelogue.

  • Ricky says:

    I am part of a small crew and we are looking for a cabin/barn lost in the middle of the nowhere but reachable with the car, within greater Los Angeles.
    We think you are the best persons in your area to ask the about question.
    I look forward to receiving your advises and I thank you in advance for your help!


  • titansoldier2007 says:

    wow i didnt know there were hikes there. must do it soon

  • Alex92126 says:

    Planning on a hike and overnite stay at one of the campsites. Any suggestions, are reservations needed, best time to go, water? Any help. This will my wife’s first backpack hike and camp. We normally car camp :-).
    Any and all info would be helpful.

  • Zebra24601 says:

    I had a long (on-line) debate about a tree of the same species, up Winter Creek. I was debating whether it was a Coast Redwood, or a Giant Sequoia, but I am now mostly convinced that it must be an incense cedar.

  • Danny says:

    Did this hike the day before Easter (yesterday, 4/3/10). Beautiful trail. Didn’t even mind the extra mile we had to walk from where we parked to the trailhead (due to no parking at the trailhead). The area around the waterfall was crowded, but the rest of the hike was peaceful.

    Regarding the above write-up: Did not see any Jeffrey Pines. Jeffrey Pines have very long needles. We did see some short-needled trees, spruce/fir. And one young redwood tree, near the footbridge; that was a surprise!

  • Jarrod says:

    I did this hike over the weekend and it kicked my ass in every way that it should have been kicked in the ass. Awesome hike.

    A couple things I want to add:

    Caution is tremendously needed on the lower trail over the waterfall. Mist from the rushing water made the ledge we walked through slippery, which caused me to slip and almost fall off the jagged ledge into the rushing water to the waterfall.

    Caution is also recommended on the Mt. Zion Trail as the trail you walk on is not very wide at some points, and we had a couple people lose their footing. You don’t want go tumbling down the mountainside.

    Also on the Mt. Zion Trail, on the way up, look out for fallen trees along the trail. One we had to climb over as it was blocking the path (and impossible to go around) and the other that blocked the path we had to crawl under.

    A med kit is recommended.

    But worth the 6 hours and 9 miles.

  • Zebra24601 says:

    Not a problem hiking in light rain, although if heavy rain is forecast, Sierra Madre (which controls most of the road) shuts down the road to Chantry Flats.

    On the drive in, you’ll see a USDA Forest Service sign that says, “Entering Recreational Fee Area,” (or something like that). You can park below that sign without an Adventure Pass. Never measured the distance, but I’d guess it’s at least 2 miles from the end of the road.

  • Jarrod says:

    I’m going on a day when there might be rain. Do you recommend a rain hike here? Also, do you still have to pay the Adventure Pass if you park along the road leading to the parking lot?

  • colleen gibson says:

    The earlier in the year you go the better chance too see all the beautifulsites of the forest. My favoriate time is warm spring.. I like to see all the different animals and creatures.

  • Zebra24601 says:

    Yes, the water is running nicely. Still much easier time getting to Sturdevant Falls versus getting to Eaton Canyon Falls last week.

    My blog entry for yesterday’s hike: http://myown100hikes.blogspot.com/2010/02/chantry-flats-feb-16-2010.html

  • Matt says:

    Any idea if there is much water in the falls right now?

  • colleen gibson says:

    So this is crazy i looked up the forest and i find pictures and everything. I have been going here since i was born and before my parents have a cabin here… So i was consantly here and still am sometimes. Any questions just email me! colleen_gibson@ROCK.COM

  • Rob says:

    This place was great. Great views, and something you dont expect in Los Angeles. One correction i see though is that the Upper trail is the Horse trail not the lower trail. I would stick to the lower trail, it follows the river bed, I think the posting describes this but missidentified it. When you get to the Falling Sign Junction stick right as it says and head over to the Spruce Grove Campgrounds

  • Angela says:

    Did a short day hike along the trail to the falls to see if a backpacking trip would be worth it since its a really dry november-it most definetly is worth it. For anyone who wants to know what this trail looks like as of late last month go to my myspace pictures and click the sturtevant falls 10/09 album. i love water and its one of few places in LA with any running right now.

  • Adrian says:

    would it be wise to hike at night here? (if possible)

  • Octopushat says:


    Thanks for the great write-up on this amazing trail! We hiked up to the “Falling Sign Junction” just before Spruce Grove on Sunday (8.23) and it was other-worldly. We are already planing our return trip, and would like to try an overnight!

    We did see 2 rattlers on the trail before the falls, and witnessed SAR personnel heading into the canyons to rescue a hiker who had evidently fallen from the top of Sturtevant Falls when he attempted to go off-tail, so be careful out there!

  • monica says:

    I love your blog, I am very new to it, and I was wondering if you could tell me if there is any danger (bears, any other animals…). I am tourist here, and I would love to go for hiking, is it safe out there?Which hiking trial is the safest?
    Thank You

  • laura says:

    This has been so helpful. My husband and I are going on an overnight backpacking trip with 3 kids(the youngest is three) and from this info, I think I can modify this trip perfectly. I loved all the pix and video was great!

  • ashley says:

    Great information, thanks so much! It really is a beautiful hike….i will have to check out the other areas that you mentioned the next time I go.

  • Michelle says:

    In case of emergency!

  • Michelle says:

    One more thing — does this hike get cell phone reception? I hike a lot in Angeles above La Canada and it doesn’t work.

    • Modern Hiker says:

      Michelle, you might get some service on the mountain ridges, but I doubt you’ll get any bars in the canyons. What do you want a cell phone for in the woods, anyway? :)

  • Michelle says:

    Thanks for making this hike sound so alluring, I am going to hit it this week!

  • Sami says:

    beautiful beautiful hike!!
    Its absolutly enchanting and charming :]
    I don’t even realize how far I’ve been hiking till I get back to my car and my back is all sweaty. That when you know its amazing.

  • Mytch says:

    I am from Colorado and love to hike. This is one of my favorite hikes i have ever done. Nice tree cover and beautiful scenery. You can jump right in the clear pools and lounge. This is a must hike!

  • Michelle says:

    omg this place is beautiful i’m going their for my school camp thingy. it’s awesome i hope it’s snowing if it is it’ll be like so awesome bie.

  • Megan Mc. says:

    Thank you for this blog, it’s very helpful. I’ve been in the Sierra this last year and am itching to get out in the backcountry once again and for LA, this seems to be closer to a backcountry feel than most places nearby.

  • Katie B says:

    Lovely year end hike to the waterfalls. Interested to read that the cabins are privately owned… Do they ever come on the market? Thanks!

  • SASHA says:

    I just got home from doing this hike, Chantry Flat to Sturtevant Falls. This was my second visit, will venture off further next time. Truly amazing and very well kept, dreaming of you Sturtevant and your incline…

  • Micaela says:

    I was wondering if I could get the total distance from Chantry Flat to Mt. Wilson via the Sturtevant Falls trail. Does anyone have this information? I did this hike today and I’m interested to know how much I hiked. Awesome Hike.. Great Views, beautiful scenery, and a strenuous workout!

  • Joe says:

    I’ve done this hike three times now — once as an overnight, staying at Spruce Grove. It’s a nice campsite, somewhat marred by the fact that the trail goes right through the campsite so your morning solitude will be interrupted by early morning trail runners.

    But it’s a fabulous hike, one of my favorites.

  • Modern Hiker says:

    Gambolin Man,

    This is really one of the most beautiful canyons in the San Gabriels. Hands down.

    Smog won’t work its way into the canyon, although you may be able to see it (along with the less ugly, but still view-obscuring haze) if you climb out of the canyon to one of the nearby peaks. While you’re inside the canyon, though, you’ll just be enjoying the running water and tree cover!

  • BSAC Cabin Owner says:

    Casey – please email us if you would like to attend an open house at one of the BSAC cabins in April or May and we’ll send you more info. We own one of the cabins and wondered if you’d like to see it up close. The wife and I enjoyed your blog.

  • Gambolin Man says:

    Sounds beautiful, ModernHiker – I don’t know this area at all. One day, though! “cause you really make it sound alluring and special / sacred! Important question – does LA smog seep through out there?

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