Mt. Zion Loop - Sturtevant to Winter Creek Trails is a 7.8 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Sierra Madre, CA that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
A beautiful multi-landscape trail with many waterfalls and trees. Offers a challenging and well-maintained trail. Big Santa Anita Canyon offers something for everybody. If you are traveling with young children, the short hike from Chantry Flat to Sturtevant Falls is rewarding and great for an easy morning or afternoon hike. However, if you're interested in something more substantial, you can follow the Big Santa Anita Loop trail. The scenery along the trails in this area is really beautiful, especially along the river. There are many waterfalls, albeit most of them manmade, but are sure to soothe your soul. Plentiful greenery in the form of trees, shrubs and various indigenous plant life make this trail special in its own right. Add to that incredible vistas of both the canyon and the mountains surrounding Mt. Wilson. Many times you'll have to remind yourself you are in Los Angeles County! The loop climbs steadily from the area of the 55-foot tall Sturtevant falls. The highest point of the main loop is about 3400 feet. Many hikers choose to bring trekking poles for this trail. A remote campground about 3.5 miles into the loop offers up some picnic tables, pit toilets, and of course, a place to make camp if you choose to stay overnight. There are roughly 6-7 spots and if you plan on having a fire, be sure to bring along your fire permit. Another unique aspect of the Big Santa Anita Canyon loop trail is the variety of terrains you'll cover. Sometimes you'll be deep in the forest and at other times you'll feel like you're in somewhat of a desert. If you are a local, this is a great hike to do over and over again. However, beware that during the summer months, it can get quite hot and the bugs can be very annoying, especially while standing or sitting still. The Adams Pack Station in Chantry Flat offers some supplies and essentials as well as treats such as ice cream, soda, and water. Parking can be very crowded on the weekends in Chantry Flat and you'll likely need to park along the mountain to get a spot in the mornings. Make sure to have an Adventure Pass to park along the road.
amazing hike,where I was able to appreciate nature .hard and difficult .
I forgot to check-in and record when we arrived, but I rate this a 5 based on the following: there are several signs that indicate the hike names and length of those hikes (in miles) throughout the park. There's about 70% shade which is a huge plus since not many hikes have a lot of trees, there is parking but not a lot so it's a good idea to carpool if you have a big group, and if you arrive after 7:30am there's additional parking available for a $10 fee. (Be prepared to have cash) Just remember to bring a backpack with water and a trash bag for ALL your trash. It's very disappointing to see trash littered in our park. Also, there are bathrooms but many throughout the trails are out houses.
tough hike but we'll worth it
Went here thinking I'd hike the lower winter creek trail, but went to the upper winter creek trail instead. a bit more intense and I didn't bring enough water but it was worth it. I'd do it again. loved the fact that it was mostly shaded.
Different type of hike than usual. Most of the work is done in the forest under the shade from the trees. More bugs than I anticipated but nothing a little OFF can't take care of. Cool scenery. You go through a couple of camp sites, so there might be campers. Pay attention to the signs and have your map handy because there are multiple forks you'll cross on this one. Completed the loop in about 3.5 hours going at a fast pace, minimal breaks, and jogging about of a third of the way back.
I did this trail counter clockwise with a friend and came across a large black bear about a quarter of a mile southeast of Spruce Grove Campground. It must have been 500-600 pounds. After a brief standoff, the bear walked off the trail, and we continued up the path. Once we got to Spruce Grove, we saw trash strewn across the ground at a campsite, presumably by the bear. Black bear attacks are rare, but if you ever come across one, make noise and move away slowly. Running away is the last thing you want to do. The bear might think you are prey and make chase.
After passing through Spruce Grove, we arrived at Sturtevant Campground and rested for a couple of minutes. We then took a short trail up to the helipad, which we thought was the Mt. Zion Trail. The pad offers a great east facing view of the Santa Anita Canyon, so it wasn't a complete waste. After returning to the camp and wandering around for a bit, we finally located the Mt. Zion Trail and began the steep but shaded ascent to the summit.
The summit has a large opening that's surrounded by bushes, so it doesn't offer much in terms of views. However, there is a smaller opening located a few feet to the south with a better, south facing view. Overall, the summit was a nice change of scenery after hiking in the canyon for over an hour. It is a peaceful place that feels hidden from the rest of the world.
The descent from Mt. Zion offers some of the best views of the entire hike (they might even be better than the summit itself). After not too long, we ended up at the Lower Winter Creek Trail, near Hoegee Campground. According to AllTrails, we were supposed to take the Lower Winter Creek back to the parking lot at Chantry Flat. I have taken that trail before though, and it is similar to the Sturtevant Trail in terms of scenery (the beginning of the Mt. Zion Loop). It also leads to the crowded paved road, which we took at the beginning of the trail. With that in mind, I decided to mix things up and take the Upper Winter Creek Trail back to Chantry Flat. The upper trail offers nice views of the canyon but is apparently a couple of miles longer. It was worth the extra effort, though.
All in all, this was a great but challenging hike. It offers a wide variety of scenery, which isn't always the case in Southern California. Make sure to bring at least two liters of water and be well rested.
This trail is mostly up hill and takes a lot of working your back to get to mount Wilson.
It was challenging but worth it!!
Beautiful forest hike! We went to the Mt Zion summit from Lower Creek and went back the same way so we didn't do the loop. That was 7.6 miles so I'm assuming the loop is actually longer than what is mentioned in the trail profile. Regardless though, the hike was mostly shaded and was extremely peaceful. Once you go down the fire road from the Chantry Flats parking lot, the trail splits after you cross the wooden bridge. It seemed like most people went to Sturtevent Falls as I barely ran across anyone at the Lower Creek trail to Mt Zion. I saw about 3 to 4 groups on the way up and saw no one on the way back until I reached that trail split I mentioned above. I didn't expect such a quiet and peaceful trail since the parking lot is so crowded! There are several creek crossings but nothing too big (my Shiba Inu was able to do it with no problem). There were multiple cabins on the way up but most of them looked abandoned...or maybe it's just poorly maintaned? Not really sure. After a few miles going up, you reach Hoegee's Campground. I did see a tent here so it looks like an active campground. Once you pass that, you will see a sign that tells you the way to upper winter creek and Mt Zion, I was initially going to go to the Upper Winter Creek trail to do the loop, but mountain summits always tend to seem more attractive to me so I decided to follow the Mt Zion trail. The forest hike does change once you go on the Mt Zion trail. You will be exposed to the sun and the path becomes a lot more narrow and the trail is not maintained as well. Brushes were overgrown but nothing too bad. There were a LOT of bees and I had a constant buzz sound near my ears. I'd probably not recommend it if you are allergic to bees. The summit was unfortunately not as amazing! There were so many brushes and trees around you, that it just didn't really seem like a summit to me. And again....bees! Although the summit wasn't as great, the trail to get there is actually really nice! I think the view on the way back at certain areas are actually better than the summit! Must do Mt Wilson next time!
Btw, I would not use the restrooms at the Chantry Flats parking lot.....I'm not sure how often they are cleaned but it was by far one of the worst I have seen....so bad that you can't really get to the toilet without stepping on "accidents." Word of advice, go to the restroom before you drive up Chantry Flats Rd!
That this loop but returned on upper Winter Creek. If you were turn on upper Winter Creek then you go downhill into chantry flats. Trail is pretty well marked just one or two places where having the map from the ranger station helped. This is a US national Forest so make sure you pay for the parking pass at the ranger station which is $10. The full loop using upper winter Creek was a 10 mile loop. Not much parking at the ranger station many people park along the road going up to it. I went on Mother's Day so that could be why there were many people there. This hike passes Sturtevent falls. Has lots of nice views
The trail was really pleasant. So much better than a couple years ago. Lots of water flowing. Green. A zoo at the bottom. But lovely as you get deeper into the trail. Either get there when the road opens or do like I did (if you can make the hike with good time) and start at noon to snag someone's parking spot who is leaving. Completed in 3:23, not a ton of rest time. I went counterclockwise, I think this was the best way to go.