This 2.6-mile round trip hike visits a short waterfall downstream from Sturtevant Falls in the Angeles National Forest. Hermit Falls receives fewer visitors than its neighbor but is a popular swimming hole for cliff jumpers in the spring and summer. The trailhead is at 2,180 feet, while the falls are at 1,430, making this is an upside down hikes where the uphill comes at the end.
- Hermit Falls is one of the Los Angeles waterfall hikes.
Hiking to Hermit Falls
Set out from Chantry Flats in the San Gabriel Mountains and descend the paved road toward Roberts Camp. On the downhill side of a horseshoe bend in the road, 0.18 miles from the start, turn right on the dirt trail labeled First Water Trail. Follow this winding single track down into Santa Anita Canyon.
The top of First Water Trail is exposed to sun and views. The lower switchbacks find shade beneath the trees growing along the creek.
After another 0.55 miles, First Water Trail reaches the bottom of the canyon. Turn right and begin walking south past retreat cabins in the hamlet know as Roberts Camp.
After a short distance, the trail along the bank comes to an end above a man-made dam. Rock hope to the other side of the creek and pick up the trail heading downstream. Hermit Falls is half a mile away.
The lush canyon provides a peaceful stroll. The route crosses the babbling creek once more and climbs up the east bank, before dropping down on the pools above Hermit Falls.
In the summer, the water above Hermit Falls makes a great swimming hole. The waterfall is bordered by ledges to jump from and flat rock perfect for sunning. When the flow is sufficient, a pair cascades above the falls form a natural water slide.
No real trail goes to the base of the falls, but those up for a technical climb can descend a steep rock face alongside the falls. Cliff jumping is another way down. While that can be dangerous, you are bound to see hikers engaging in the activity on weekends when the water is high.
In the spring, crossing the creek along the trail to Hermit Falls may require a bit of wading. The flow typically diminishes in summer months, but the trail remains pleasant in July and August when a nice shady hike and a refreshing swim are desirable.
A visit to Hermit Falls can easily be combined with a hike to Sturtevant Falls or other trails in the area (like Santa Anita Canyon Loop). Dogs are welcome on the hike to Hermit Falls. Bikes are permitted to use these trails too (though this outing isn’t particularly appropriate for mountain bikes). A National Forest Adventure Pass should be displayed in vehicles parked at the Chantry Flats Trailhead.
To get to the trailhead: Take the 210 Freeway to Arcadia, east of Pasadena. Use exit 32 for Santa Anita Avenue and head north at the end of the offramp. Drive 5 miles up Santa Anita Avenue, going into the mountains. The road ends at Chantry Flats.
Trailhead address: Chantry Flats Road, Angeles National Forest, Arcadia, CA 91006
Trailhead coordinates: 34.1955, -118.0225 (34° 11′ 43.8″N 118° 01′ 21″W)
|Sturtevant Falls |
This 3.25-mile hike visits a 60-foot waterfall and a lush cottage-lined canyon.
|Hoegees Camp |
This 4.25-mile hike follows Lower Winter Creek Trail through a beautiful wooded canyon to a backcountry campground with fourteen first-come first-serve sites.
|Santa Anita Canyon Loop |
This 9.5-mile loop visits two peaceful creeks in sylvan canyons, passing a 60-foot waterfall and plenty of beautiful wilderness.
|Upper Winter Creek Trail |
This 2.75-mile long trail can be used to extend Santa Anita Canyon Loop or create a 4.85-mile loop with Lower Winter Creek Trail.
|More trails in the San Gabriel Mountains |
Explore other destinations in the range.
|Monrovia Falls |
This 1.6-mile to 3-mile hike in Monrovia Canyon Park follows an enchanting canyon up to the base of the 30-foot waterfall.
|Cooper Canyon Falls |
This 3-mile hike leaves from Buckhorn Campground and visits a short waterfall in an enchanting glen of tall pines.
|Fish Canyon Falls |
This 4.8-mile round trip hike leaves from an active rock quarry and progresses up a beautiful canyon to a mesmerizing multi-tiered waterfall.
|Millard Falls |
This one mile hike visits a 50-foot waterfall up one of the most scenic canyons in the range.
|Switzer Falls |
This 4.5-mile hike starts out above and finishes below a 50-foot tall waterfall.
|Trail Canyon Falls |
This 4-mile hike ascends a mountain-framed canyon to a 30-foot beauty on the east side of the San Gabriel Mountains.
|More waterfalls around Los Angeles |
Explore other waterfalls in the Santa Monica and San Gabriel Mountains.