Mt. Wilson via Chantry Flats

HARD 13 reviews

Mt. Wilson via Chantry Flats is a 12.7 mile loop trail located near Sierra Madre, CA that features a waterfall. The trail is rated as difficult and primarily used for hiking, trail running, birding, and backpacking. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

12.7 miles 4844 feet Loop

dog friendly




trail running


wild flowers


A strenuous day hike through a beautiful section of the San Gabriel mountains with a 50 ft. waterfall. Standing prominently above Pasadena, Mount Wilson is a Southern California landmark. The 5,710 foot summit is home for an observatory responsible for the most detailed photos of Mars as well a vast array of antennae for local LA radio and television stations. While the summit is steeped in astronomical wonder and tremendous views of Los Angeles, the trails are the real beauty of this hike. There are several trails you can take to the top of Mt. Wilson, but this challenging 13 mile loop is the most beautiful. It starts at the Chantry Flats trailhead above Arcadia, and includes a one mile detour to view the beautiful Sturtevant Falls before climbing 4,200' to the top of Mt. Wilson. This is the first of six southern California summits in the 6-Pack of Peaks bundle. Done in sequence, they provide great training anyone preparing for bigger hikes such as Mt. Whitney or Half Dome. Each hike in the 6-Pack is progressively higher in altitude, and all have respectable distance and vertical elevation gain.

14 days ago

This hike is pretty moderate and long but worth the distance. You'll see a waterfall during spring. A lot of shade and very green.

16 days ago

awesome hike did it 2 weeks ago, your hiking 80 percent of the trail thru the forest. The hike was tough though, bring plenty of water.

18 days ago

One of the best hikes around. Beautiful scenery, very relaxing and destination is great

1 month ago

This is a great hike. Took my pups and couple friends with me. By the end of the day we were pooped, my pups just collapsed and fell asleep in the car right after, we all just wanted to go home and shower haha! The hike back is the worst, especially towards the end. But it is an awesome hike

1 month ago

Don't do this trail on a hot day.

1 month ago

I really did not like this hike. Primarily because of the bugs. That could change depending on the season but when we went they were terrible. The peak is not exciting but still...when you finish the hike you feel accomplished.

1 month ago

We made it to the top. The hike is more like 14 or 15 miles. It is definitely brutal on the legs, but very beautiful at the top. It was a good hike for once in a lifetime.

2 months ago

Good trail although it can be a little confusing coming down the Winter Creek side, following the fire break. Someone has marked the correct way with chalk. I don't know how long it will last though.
On a lighter note, I almost died three times! Coming down from Mount Wilson, we ran into a juvenile rattlesnake spread out across the trail. Luckily it slithered away as we came upon it. Halfway down, before we got to Winter Creek, we saw a mountain lion cub running down the trail about hundred feet ahead of us. It disappeared around the corner and we never saw mama but I started talking to myself and whistling loudly. Finally about 2 miles from the trailhead we were walking along and heard a noise. I couldn't figure out what it was but finally I looked up and saw the trees were moving. It turned out, just past call box 4, a big 50 foot tree fell down and broke across the trail. It knocked down the telephone wire for about a quarter-mile.
Fun hike and I didn't really see anybody all day long maybe four people? A good challenge for my dog, and Australian Shepherd mix.

2 years ago

Incredible hike!
I did this loop, started at Chantry Flat, came back via the Manzanita Trail. So it was counter-clockwise. The way up is rough, lots of elevation climbing, and you actually start out in a canyon. So it might be colder at the beginning.

But definitely worth the trip. Hardly anyone there, even on a warm beautiful day.

Grab a printed map at the Chantry Flat store first. And get some chili on the way back. They also have some great cabins for rent in the canyon, info at the store.

3 years ago

Great day, temps in mid 70s. We had the place virtually to ourselves. We didn't see anyone after the Falls until we got to past Hoegee Camp on the descent. Really beautiful trails and the Mt Wilson Observatory is really interesting. The switchbacks on the way up can get brutal in spots but worth it. The views were fantastic and there was a lot of wildlife. We saw a few deer and lots of birds and lizards.

3 years ago

Any hike where you ascend to a summit is usually a excellent hike well worth the effort. Mount Wilson is no exception. I started at the uppertrail of chantry flat and by the time I made it to the ridge I was still feeling good. Note that once you come to the ridge you should see a lot of sunlight from the other side of the bushes on your left. At any point here you should be able to cross the bushes and find another path where tall grass surrounds you and you can follow this path along the ridge instead of behind the mountain and have beautiful re energizing sights for the next mile and a half or so. Also note that once you come back to the toll road and you should stay to your right side of the path as you might miss the path that leads to the summit and instead descend the mountain toward alta dena. After you hit the summit you can have lunch from your pack or at the cosmic cafe if you went on a weekend and even take a tour of the observatory, which by the way makes this hike very special because you will feel like a little kid on a field trip once summiting and a mountain and seeing these really cool telescopes and stuff! After that you can go back or descend the mountain via the stourtevant falls trail which is also an excellent trail. I recommend coming up that way though. all in all this hike took me 5 hours with a 30 minute lunch break. and left me begging for more but sore as hell. add an extra mile to your already 14 mile hike to check out stourtevant falls if you have the energy.

3 years ago

This trail guide was really helpful. It's a pretty slow and steady climb. I have done San J and Baldy prior and at first I though this was easy till the last mile to the top or so. This trail was well marked and the only addition to the directions here is at the top. You will walk quite a ways through the complex and out the exit before you will see the "gravel parking lot". Make sure you bring plenty of water and yes the trail is very busy!

4 years ago

This is a beautiful hike! It is covered probably 90% of the time which keeps it cool which is nice and since it was spring the wild flowers were in full bloom. I would recommend this to anyone. It is a bit steep when you get to the switch back so be prepared. Also the Cafe at the top is only open on the weekends so don't do what we did and expect a meal at the top and not pack a lunch=) Oops thanks goodness for power bars and trails mix.