Friday, December 23, 2011

Hike 2011.095 -- Sturtevant Falls

Hiked Thursday, December 22.

Wasn't really planning on a hike today, but I had some time this early afternoon, so I took a short walk to Sturtevant Falls. As with many of the recent hikes, it's one I've done before, but is very close to home, and that makes it convenient. Yeah, I'm aiming more at the quantity than the quality at the moment.

This trailhead starts at Chantry Flats. From the 210 freeway, take Santa Anita Avenue north. It heads out of Pasadena and through Sierra Madre, on into the Angeles National Forest. At the end of the road, that's Chantry Flats. An Adventure Pass is required to park here.

From the lowest of the three tiers of parking lots (which fill early on weekends and holidays), the trail to Sturtevant Falls heads down from the south end of the lot. The first 1/2 mile or so is paved and steep. Keep that in mind for your return to the parking lot.

At the end of the pavement, there's a stream (Winter Creek) which flows in from the left. A steel-framed bridge crosses Winter Creek. A large check dam slows the flow of the water down the hill.

Today, for the first time I've ever hiked here, the flow from Winter Creek was so low that I could actually walk right over the creek. Normally, I needed to use the bridge.

Once over the bridge, a sign says it's 1 1/4 mile to Sturtevant Falls. Along the way, several more check dams impound water, creating still, reflective pools beneath the canopy of alder.

After about 3/4 of a mile of walking with the river on your right, and passing by numerous cabins, you reach Fiddler's Crossing. Just before reaching Fidder's, you also pass a couple of trails, coming in from the left. If you head up then to the right, you'd be on the Sturtevant Trail, heading to an overlook of the falls before continuing on to Sturtevant Camp. The left trail also ends up there, but does not give an overview of the falls. Technically, hikers can go either way, while horses must go on the left trail.

Since I was only going to the falls, I did not take either of those two trails, but continued across Fiddler's Crossing (Santa Anita Creek) to the falls.

There are two more crossings further up the trail, but the water is so low that staying dry was not an issue.

Despite the traffic that this trail gets, I actually had about ten minutes of the falls all to myself. Sturtevant is substantially taller than Eaton Canyon falls, which you don't fully appreciate until you get right up to the pool at the base of the falls.

It's very scenic and peaceful there.

Probably 3.5 to 4.0 miles, roundtrip.


  1. Welcome back to San Gabriel Mountains! By now, most of the long hikes entail a snow traverse, so a Chantry Flat excursion is appropriate for non-snow hikers.

  2. That, and I want to use my Adventure Pass a few more times before I start working and won't be able to visit on weekday mornings. ;D

    Thanks for the welcome back.

  3. Glad to see you back in Cali and I'm happy that I can finally leave a comment (my puter wouldn't allow it before?). I need to start hiking near your neck of the woods. Lots to see and do. Talk to you soon!

  4. When I was using my office computer in Kentucky (after hours, of course!), they had their Explorer 9 set up in such a way that I could not post to my own blog (or post comments to anyone else's blog). I either had to use Firefox or a different computer (they would not allow me to install Google Chrome on the computer).