Sturtevant Falls

Sturtevant Falls, Sierra Madre California

Sturtevant Falls is located a few miles North of Sierra Madre California in Big Santa Anita Canyon. The Canyon looks like something straight out of a storybook. It’s filled with cabins, oak trees, rambling brooks, stone walls and picturesque cabins.  If you’re lucky, or unlucky depending on how you look at it, you might even run into a black bear. If magic really exists in the world, you’re most likely to find it in this canyon.
The hike to the falls is approximately 4 miles round-trip from the parking area at Chantry Flats.  The trail to the falls is wide, well maintained and usually very busy.  Chantry Flats also serves as the starting point for the Mount Wilson trail, the Mount Zion trail, the Gabrielino TrailHermit Falls, Hoegees Camp, the Spruce Grove Camp and the Santa Anita Canyon Loop. Sturtevant Falls is one of the few waterfall hikes in Southern California where pets are permitted, so the trails here attract everyone from families to hardcore backpackers, but most of the casual hikers confine themselves to the Sturtevant Falls trail.

Starting at Chantry Flats, the first part of the hike to Sturtevant falls descends several hundred feet on a paved road to the bottom of the canyon. Locals call this section “Heart Attack Hill”. From the bottom of the canyon, you follow the creek upstream for a little over a mile until you reach Sturtevant Falls. You will pass several cabins and make 2 or 3 minor stream crossings. Your feet may get a little wet.
Many people choose to turn the Sturtevant Falls hike into a loop. You can re-trace your steps and follow the creek back downstream.  If you bypass the paved road and continue to follow the creek for about a mile, you will hit Hermit Falls. Many locals use Hermit Falls as a swimming hole in the summer time.  From Hermit Falls, you can take the Billy Goat trail back to Chantry Flats completing the loop. This trail is relatively steep and can get muddy after a rain storm.

There are 2 campgrounds located in the vicinity of Sturtevant Falls, Hoegees Camp and the Spruce Grove Camp. Both campgrounds are walk-in only. The restrooms are primitive and running water is not available, so you will need a way to purify the water from the creek.  Many backpackers use the camps on the way to the summit of Mount Wilson. I’ve never seen more than a small handful of people use the camps at any given time.

To reach Chantry Flats from the 210 in Sierra Madre, exit onto Santa Anita Ave and follow it North towards the mountains. After about 3 miles, Santa Anita Ave turns into Chantry Flats Road. The last section of the road is 3 miles of perilous mountain driving which dead ends at the parking lot for Chantry Flats. The gate to Chantry Flats is open from 8 am- 8 pm. Parking is 10$ per day, or you must display a current Forest Adventure Pass which can be purchased on site.
Additional Information about Sturtevant Falls Can be found at these websites:

Gabrielino Trail

Hermit Falls, Sierra Madre California
Hermit Falls Swimming Hole


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