If you have hiked Santa Anita Canyon Loop, you probably wondered, were can I find more great trails like this? The answer is Upper Winter Creek Trail, a 2.75-mile track on the east wall of Santa Anita Canyon with 600 feet of elevation change. This trail can be used to replace Lower Winter Creek Trail on Santa Anita Canyon Loop to create a slightly larger ten-mile loop that trades in creek crossings for canyon views. You can also combine Upper and Lower Winter Creek Trails for a shorter hike from Chantry Flats, a 4.85-mile loop with 1,000 feet of elevation change. Both loops are excellent ways to employ Upper Winter Creek Trail.
To hike the Winter Creek Trails loop, first make your way down the paved road from Chantry Flats to Roberts Camp, dropping 350 feet over 0.6 miles. Cross over the bridge at the low-point of the hike at approximately 1,800 feet, and turn left up Lower Winter Creek Trail. The creek-side track weaves up a sylvan canyon that receives less foot traffic than Gabrielino Trail to Sturtevant Falls on the other side of Santa Anita Canyon. Above Hoegees Trail Camp and the junction with Lower Zion Trail (2.1 miles from the start), Upper Winter Creek Trail climbs out of the canyon and back to Chantry Flats.
Upper Winter Creek Trail follows the creek to one more crossing and begins up the side of the canyon. After 0.15 miles on Upper Winter Creek Trail, you will reach another junction, this one with a trail climbing 4.5 miles to Mount Wilson, the San Gabriel Mountain’s famous observatory-covered summit. Turn left at the junction to return to Chantry Flats and climb higher up the side of the canyon.
The forest trail is fairly well shaded, but there will be gaps in the trees that offer expansive views over the canyon as you climb to an elevation of 2,800 feet. When you spot the terraced parking lot of Chantry Flats, there is another mile to go. The trail turns downhill and wraps around the wall of the canyon, passing a seasonal spring. When you hit pavement on Forest Route 2N41, turn left and drop the final 1/3 of a mile to Chantry Flats, passing a picnic area en route to the trailhead at 2,150 feet.
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: 34.196194, -118.02265 (34° 11′ 46.29″N 118° 01′ 21.53″W)
|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.
|Sturtevant Falls |
This 3.25-mile hike visits a 60-foot waterfall and a lush cottage-lined canyon.
|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.
|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.
|More trails in the San Gabriel Mountains |
Explore other destinations in the range.