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Pasadena, California, United States

Sturtevant Falls

A leisurely hike through an enchanted portion of the San Gabriel Mountains leading to a fifty foot waterfall.

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 (44 votes, 15 reviews)
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 3.7 miles / 6.0 km
Duration: 1-3 hours
Family Friendly • Dog Friendly
Overview: The trail from Chantry Flats to Sturtevant Falls has been a popular hike for those wanting to escape the urban sprawl of Los Angeles since the early 1900's. This is an easy hike and perfect for anyone new to hiking but be aware that the last 0.6 mile return to the parking lot is all uphill.

From the Santa Anita exit of the 210 Freeway it's a 5 mile drive to Chantry Flats. The road is very narrow and winding for the last 3 miles so take it slow. Once at the trail head you descend a paved service road into Big Santa Anita Canyon. In the canyon the pavement yields to a well maintained trail that skirts alongside the main stream under a canopy of Live Oak and Alder. Along the way you pass private cabins built in the early 1900's and pass by a system of concrete check dams that create their own series of waterfalls before reaching 50 foot Sturtevant Falls.

Tips: This is a very popular destination and as a result the parking lot is almost always full. Overflow parking is wherever you can find a spot on the side of the road before reaching the parking lot. Some choose to spend $5.00 Mon - Thurs, $10.00 Fri - Sun and holidays to park in the Adams' Pack Station lot. You will need a National Forest Adventure Pass to park anywhere except Adams' Pack Station.

There are several stream crossings before arriving at the Falls, so trekking poles or an extra pair of socks are recommended.

Points of Interest


Trail Head

Locate the paved service road to the right of the lower parking lot below the restrooms. Here you descend on pavement for 0.6 miles into Big Santa Anita Canyon, an elevation loss of 350 feet. As you descend try not to think about the ascent on the return trip.

Junction First Water Trail to Hermet Falls

This junction leads to First Water and the pools of Hermit Falls. Continue your descent on the paved service road.

First Manmade Falls

The first of several man-made concrete check dams built by the Los Angeles County Flood Control District in the early 1960s. These dams have mellowed over the years and have almost become part of the landscape offering the soothing sound of cascading waterfalls.

Winter Creek Bridge

Here the pavement ends as you veer right and cross the Winter Creek bridge to the old site of Robert's Camp where Big Santa Anita Canyon and Winter Creek converge. A trail sign offers a number of destinations and points the direction to Sturtevant Falls, 1 1/4 miles.

Along stream with cabins

The trail begins to narrow as you walk alongside the stream under a canopy of Live Oak and Alder. Along the way you'll see a number of privately owned cabins built between 1906 and 1937.

#67 Castle on the Creek

Here you pass by a sign reminding you to "Take care of the land. Someday you'll be part of it". Continue on and veer to the left passing #67 Castle on the Creek.

Fern Lodge Junction - Gabrelino Trail

15-JAN-11 10:14:54AM

Fiddler's Crossing - 1st water crossing

Veer to the right and follow the path lined with ivy to the first water crossing.

Second Water Crossing


Third Water Crossing

This is the last scramble to get to the falls. You should be able to hear it and catch a glimpse of it here. Continue on.

Sturtevant Falls

You have arrived at your destination. Take time to relax and enjoy the falls before turning around and returning the way you came.
Pictures in this guide taken by: Leighton
trail loves must visit here.... wonderful experience

by hairtransplant on Jun 05, 2015
First off started to late got their at 9:30 am. had to park down the hill hike up to get a pass place it on dashboard then hike up to trail hike.the hike itself was great very quiet and scenic.I recommend going during the week or on weekends get their at 7:00 am.
Visited on Mar 31, 2015

by poppieroireau on May 28, 2015
very nice indeed .. great love this place
Visited on Jun 05, 2000

by asrologer on Feb 20, 2015
I loved it! I took my little sheltie with me and we had a great time. It wasn't too hard, and it is so incredibly beautiful! Definitely going back.
Visited on Jan 05, 2014

by Alexandra.Downs75 on Jan 05, 2014
It was my husband's birthday and we were thinking of enjoying some excitements. So we quickly decided to go for hiking. I was a bit confused if I could really do that. But I found the hiking really slow and enjoyable. I'll definitely have a visit again and of course this time will be accompanied with lots of friends. I'm quite sure this time we will have a great fun together.
Visited on Jun 10, 2011

by Ozymandias on Feb 02, 2013
Great Hike in the morning before work. Had a quick hike to the falls at 6:00 AM and got back for work in time. Easy hike. The last .6 miles up is easy if you are in shape.
Visited on Nov 27, 2012

by alfredo.mejia on Nov 27, 2012
Nice trail. The hubby and I enjoyed it, but I wasn't impress with the waterfall. Over all it was a good time.
Visited on Jul 19, 2012

by ellaesbella on Jul 19, 2012
Great hike, unfortunately my 10yo didn't make it all the way (he has low muscle tone so sometimes conks out sooner than other kids his age), insisted on turning around about .5mi short of the falls - I gave in because I was a little worried about him making it back up the steep hill at the beginning. My hubby and 12yo made it all the way to the falls and back. If this hike is 'easy' I'm a little worried what a 'moderate' hike looks like. I did love it and want to do it again, maybe with a little more endurance work my youngest can go all the way, or at least DH and I can switch off who turns back early.
Visited on May 12, 2012

by therowleys on May 13, 2012
The wife and I decided to start hitting the trails as part of our "Stay Active" resolution. So we picked this trail as a kick off to our campaign!
Great trail!
At the start, its very easy (all downhill). The trail is clearly marked so there is no confusion where to go.
The falls are beautiful and breath-taking. BUT.... no one mentioned the hike back!!!
That last .5 miles back is all uphill! Butt kicker! But manageable.
Once we hit the top, it was all worth it.
All in all, a great day and a great start to our outdoors adventures.

Visited on Dec 31, 2011

by jimanikki on Jan 03, 2012
It was just another Sunday in Los Angeles and I felt like getting out of the city. It was a quick and easy ride to this trail and worth every minute of it. We will definitely be going back to the area to do some of the larger hikes in the near future.
Visited on Oct 16, 2011

by kevinmacey on Oct 17, 2011
Tons of shade, great way to spend a hot day outside. I went up on a Wednesday, and there was plenty of parking and very few people.
Visited on Jul 27, 2011

by jessiehogue on Sep 29, 2011
Love Love Love it ... just make sure to take water shoes, you will get wet crossing the creek to get to the final destination but WELL WORTH IT!!
Visited on May 14, 2011

by AztecQueen on May 19, 2011
Great hike but I hate that last hill.
Visited on Feb 20, 2011

by Amarina18 on Apr 16, 2011
This was a nice slow hike, good for the kids and to enjoy friends company.
Visited on Feb 08, 2011

by n2h2o on Mar 27, 2011
Pros: I loved this hike, was easy to get to, lots of shade lots of access to the stream, beautiful scenery, streams were easy to cross and lots of rocks to sit on once you reach the falls. Cons: Small public parking lot so I paid $10 to park in the packing station's lot, too many off-leash dogs. The pros far outweigh the cons, so try it for yourself.
Visited on Mar 13, 2011

by PaintedRed on Mar 14, 2011

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About the Author

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I've had a camera of some sort in my hands since I was twelve, best as I can remember.

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