Sturtevant Falls Hiking Trail is located in the foothills above Arcadia and Pasadena in the heart of the Angeles National Forest. This is only one of many hikes available in the Chantry Flats area, but it is my favorite hike because of the reward at the end of the hike – the waterfall.
Once you reach the Chantry Flats area, find a parking spot and purchase a parking tag (Wilderness pass) - they cost $10. There is a general store at the flats that sells snacks, gear, maps, and parking tags.
Now you have to make a decision: You can have your picnic lunch right at the flat in the nicely designed picnic area with marble tables and benches and barbeques- or you can pack your lunch in your backpacks and eat the waterfall. I personally prefer to eat next to the waterfall.
Start your hike at the bottom of the parking lot then descends down the paved road. On your way down observe the beautiful scenery of tree-filled ridges to the distance and listen to the distant sound of running water.
At the bottom of the road, you will cross the river over a bridge that takes you to the junctions of many trails. Follow the trail that continues along the river (you should see a marker pointing towards the falls.
Tip: The trail junction, right after the bridge, is your last chance for a bathroom break. There are no facilities from that point to the falls.
Along the trail, you will be enjoying the lush greenery, jungle-like trees, the sound of running water, and mini man-made falls (due to flood control dams). You will also see old rustic cabins that were built from the late 19th century to the early 20th century.
You will start hearing the waterfall way before you see it. The nice soothing sounds will encourage you to keep going, even though you might be exhausted by then.
After crossing the river for the last time you will see the clear pool first then the waterfall. Depending on the season, it might be a trickle or it might be a torrent. But it is rewarding either way.
Take your lunch or snacks out, find a rock to sit on, and enjoy the view.
You do need a rest at the falls because the trip back is actually more strenuous than the trip down. Do you remember the long steep road that you had to descend before you started your hike? Well, now you have to climb back up the same road to get to your car.
Tip: This might be obvious to professional hikers, but please remember to bring a lot of water with you – especially during the hot summer days. Hiking boots and sticks would be helpful but not mandatory. At the least wear boots or sneakers that you won’t mind getting wet.
From the Foothill Freeway (I-210) take the Santa Anita Avenue exit north. Follow Santa Anita Ave. through the residential neighborhood until it ends at the foot of the mountains. Pass the yellow pipe gate and continue 3 miles (4.8 km) into the mountains to the end of Santa Anita Canyon Road.Santa Anita Canyon Rd Arcadia, CA 91006 (626) 574-5200
More information at: www.simpsoncity.com/hiking/sturtevant.html