Who knew that a gorgeous 50-foot waterfall existed within 30 minutes of LA? This girl! Sturtevant Falls was my favorite hiking discovery when I moved to Los Angeles. Being a Midwest girl who moved here from Tennessee, I missed all of the luscious greens and quiet wilderness. I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t have to drive hours or spend an entire day hiking to find it! Chantry Flats is just north of Pasadena. From the 210 in Arcadia, exit Santa Anita and head north. Staying on this road, you’ll pass through a gate and begin the steep winding climb. It’s an amazing 5-mile drive with insane mountain views. The road ends at Chantry Flats where a Forest Adventure Pass will be required to park. Here you’ll see a ranger station, picnic areas, and the last working pack station in California. After parking, head down the paved Gabrielino Trail for 0.6 miles into the woods where the trail becomes rustic and surrounded by Alder and Oak trees. Crossing the bridge above Winter Creek, you’ll enter Roberts Camp, a cabin community that has been around since the 1900’s. Horses and Mules deliver supplies to the residents from the pack station at Chantry Flats. After leaving the camp and coming into the open, you’ll boulder hop and follow the sound of the waterfall. At 1.4 miles you’ll come upon the stunning 50-ft Sturtevant Falls surrounded by a pool to dip in and rocks to rest and eat lunch on.
Sadly, in my webseries episode I only found a small trickle of a fall after California’s long summer drought. The best time to visit the falls is in early spring after the snowfall melts and the waterfall is at it’s fullest. I enjoy doing this hike because it is close enough to get to and short enough to do in a couple of hours. If you want to continue on, the trail heads to Sturtevant Camp where you can stay or continue on to Mt. Zion Trail and Winter Creek Trail. The entire loop is 9.4 miles and can take up to 6 hours. Beware though, my first attempt to continue on I found myself dealing with an angry rattlesnake and chickened out running back to the waterfall. One of these days I’ll check out the whole trail…just maybe not alone.
Tip: This trail gets very busy during the summer and on weekends. The best time to go is in the spring on a weekday. When it’s busy, the parking lot also gets incredibly crowded but for $5 Mon-Fri or $10 Sat-Sun you can park at Adams pack Station Lot. Dogs are welcome on leashes.