Miles: 3.2 roundtrip
Hours: 1.5 to 2 hours
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
If you're looking for a shaded hike that feels you are hundred's of miles outside of Los Angeles, this is your hike! With the beautiful Alder Oak tree's covered in Ivy, providing a canopy of shade and the serene creek that flows along the trail, you will feel you have escaped the city life entirely. This hike is dog friendly as long as you have a leash. There are many parents who even hike with their young children on this trail. Just be aware the last 0.6 miles on the way back is moderately steep, on weekends this trail is very popular so either go really early or midday to avoid large crowds.
What to Bring
- 1 liter of water at least
- first aid kit
- hammock (completely optional, but why not?)
- Adventure Pass
- Sense of Adventure!
The Chantry Flats area including Sturtevant Falls was started in the 1890's by pioneers who came to California for the last bit of the Gold Rush and for the start of the hiking boom that occurred from 1900 into the 1930's. The first cabin built was Hermit's cabin, it is no longer standing but there is a nice hike to what is now Hermit Falls; a cliff jumping hang out. These pioneers built camps and pack stations for hikers passing through, the only camp still standing is Milton Sturtevant's Camp. Just after you pass over the bridge you will see a plaque for Robert's camp, there is a picture of what once was to give you a better idea of how it once looked. If you decide to take the lower winter creek trail after backtracking from the waterfall you will also pass Hoegee's camp and eventually get to Sturtevant camp, a quaint camp with cabins and a "big" swing. All the trails are beautiful and worth the trek.
This hike starts out as a reverse hike, you start off going mostly downhill (steep for the first 0.6 miles) and return going mostly uphill. The good news is most of the hike is an easy uphill until the last 0.6 miles on the way back. Pace yourself downhill, depending on the time of day this part of the trail may be fully exposed to the sun so come prepared and stay hydrated. After you make it downhill the trail will turn into dirt and you will enter into a whimsical forest of Alder Oak, Oak and Sycamore trees. You will hear the creek flowing next to the trail and relaxation and curiosity will consume you. You will cross a small bridge shortly after hitting the dirt trail, this is the last restroom stop on the trail so plan accordingly. This is also where the plaque and picture for Robert's Camp is located.
Follow the signs for Gabrielino Trail to Sturtevant Falls from the bridge, the trail will come to a junction at 3/4 mile from Robert's camp, proceed up the canyon rock hopping across the stream. Admire the combination of the Chaparral eco system with the Los Angeles forest eco system, it's beautiful! You will notice beautiful Yucca, Holly berry shrubs, white top buckwheat and chamise all mixed among the Alder Oak, Oak, Sycamore trees and Ivy. You will also pass by many privately owned cabins along the trail, please be respectful. After 1 1/4 mile you will reach the beautiful 60 foot waterfall. There is plenty of room at the bottom of the falls to picnic and relax, you can even hang a hammock between a couple trees and take a nap.
Take it all in. If you pay attention to the very top of the falls you can sometimes see people hiking the lower winter creek trail to Hoegee's camp. When you are fully rested and ready to head back you can either take a detour up lower winter creek trail to get a view from the top or you can stay on Gabrielieno trail which leads back to the parking lot and up the steep incline. Trust me the work is worth it! Happier, Healthier one Hike at a Time.
Adaire to B Brave!