If the short hike to Sturtevant Falls leaves you yearning for more, get more by continuing up Santa Anita Canyon to Spruce Grove Camp. Beyond the falls, the trail takes on a greater feeling of wilderness immersion. This section of Gabrielino Trail gets less foot traffic, making it a great retreat for those times when you need to feel far from LA.
To get to Spruce Grove Camp, start from the trailhead at Chantry Flats, descend to Roberts Camp and follow the directions to Sturtevant Falls. Three quarters of a mile from Roberts Camp and half a mile below the falls, Gabrielino Trail splits off to the left. There is an upper and lower trail to choose from. The “lower” trail is longer and duller, designed for those on horseback who miss out on the scenic stream-side path. Take the upper (top-of-falls) trail as it climbs the ridge just above Sturtevant. Here you can look down at the cascade viewers below.
Rejoin the stream above the falls as it passes through a narrow gorge. The trail is carved into the rock here as it passes pristine pools. Just ahead, the canyon widens and you will enter a lush woodland. The banks of the creek are dressed with ivy and ferns, and tall conifers provide comforting shade. While the trail to Sturtevant Falls is fairly flat and gentle, this stretch of canyon requires some real hiking. Spruce Grove lies a thousand feet higher than Sturtevant Falls, and you will feel that increase along the trail.
The trail continues up the right bank to a marker pointing to the left. Cross the creek here and hike up the east wall of the canyon. You will arrive at Falling Sign Junction. Take the right toward Spruce Grove. The sounds of the creek return, as you approach Cascade Picnic Area, where you will find one picnic table.
Press on 3/4 of a mile farther to Spruce Grove Camp. The trail continues up the creek through the woodsy canyon, offering fresh air and a “now this is nature” feeling. Spruce Grove Trail Camp has seven campsites, available on a first-come first-serve basis. The trail camp has picnic tables, fire pits and even vault toilets. This is a great spot to have a picnic, and either head back to Chantry Flats or press on deeper into the San Gabriel Mountains.
Return the way you came for a 7.5-mile round trip trek, or for just two miles more, cross over Mount Zion to Hoegees Camp and follow Winter Creek down to Roberts Camp to complete the Santa Anita Canyon Loop.
To get to the trailhead: Take the 210 east through Pasadena to Arcadia. Exit Santa Anita and head north. Go up the mountain for 5 miles until the road ends at Chantry Flats. Display your National Forest adventure pass and park your car in the lot.
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.
|Hermit Falls |
This 2.5-mile heads down canyon away from Sturtevant Falls toward a 30-foot waterfall. The lush canyon and the babbling creek are quite calming.
|Upper Zion Trail |
The trail from Spruce Grove Camp up Mount Zion is 1.5 miles long.
|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.