Mount Wilson Loop via Chantry Flats

HARD 302 reviews
#10 of 197 trails in

Mount Wilson Loop via Chantry Flats is a 12.6 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Sierra Madre, California that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
12.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
4,274 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

birding

camping

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

These trails are gorgeous. However, they are also home to thick swarms of gnats, biting flies and mosquitoes. DEET, long sleeves , gloves, pants and head nets if you plan on going to the summit. The final leg has little shade and no streams to refill water until you get to the Observatories at the summit.

hiking
23 minutes ago

Great hike! However, like previous reviews stated it’s more that 12.6 miles. My fitness watch doc’d it as 17. 7 miles. Cafe at observatory was a lifesaver. Note: they close at 5pm.

We will def be back!

20 days ago

Great hike super easy overnighter but tons of bugs

29 days ago

Definitely challenging. Gnats, mosquitos, and poison oak are in full effect. Going up thru Sturtevant is particularly steep in last 2-3 miles to the summit; other side is more gradual. But the entire trail was shaded (at least 80%, minus the summit).

All Trails' directions leads you to the summit (DON'T USE IT). Google Maps to Chantry Flats. We clocked the full loop at 14-16 miles, not the 12.6 miles on All Trails.

Cosmic Cafe is a legit place to eat. Apple pie with ice cream was out of this world!

backpacking
1 month ago

completed this trail last weekend and we knew it was rated difficult but the mileage is way off. it says 12.6 but we charted 16.2 miles with an apple watch. make sure you have a full day to complete this hike. if you are not in top shape it will take you more than half the day. beautiful hike and definitely recommend.

hiking
1 month ago

Did a solo trip with my dog. It was my first time making it all the way to mt wilson. Very difficult after sturtevant camp cabins all up hill. Amazing views. Definitely will go back on a cooler day.

hiking
1 month ago

Awesome!!! Great views, mostly no sun. It’s 7 miles uphill and 7 miles downhill. On top they have a coffee shop only open Saturday and Sunday. I went memorial weekend the weather was perfect but it was 39 degrees on top lol. But my husband and I have such a wonderful time. I would gladly do it again.

hiking
1 month ago

Doing the six peak challenge and was told this was the easiest to start with. It’s actually really hard! It’s the lowest in elevation out of the peaks but has a very steal incline. I was expecting something easier. It is shaded almost all the way up which is definitely a positive. We we were sore for days after this hike!

1 month ago

Hiked this on Saturday 5/26. Arrived at 06:15 and parking was full. Luckily found a good spot on the road just outside the lot (when I got back cars were parked miles down the road!)

Nice hike up the creek and some nice waterfalls. Re-fueled at Stuyvesant (sp?) camp. Going got tougher after that with steep switchbacks, Got to the top in a little over 3 hours. Low cloud made it a complete whiteout unfortunately - and it was COLD! A bowl of chili at the Cosmic Cafe warmed things up.

The way down was much easier but interminable! The only time I had any concerns was at around 12 miles where the trail split and the sign was confusing. Apparently both options take you back to Chantry Flats. I took right (upper winter creek I think). A climb initially by then flat until the descent to Chantry Falls. Some nice wildflowers and squabbling Stellar's Jays!

A tough hike but a great day out!

hiking
1 month ago

Loved this hike. Went with a group of 4 other ladies. Part of the SoCal 6 Peak Challenge. We ended up doing about 18 miles of hiking. Very very challenging. This was the first of our six, lowest in elevation, but one of the toughest as incline. The last 3 miles going up is lots of switchbacks and steep, narrow trail. Loved the following the creek almost all the way up. It did rain throughout our hike, but the tree acted as a nice umbrella for us. Cold once we got to the peak and our body temps started to cool down as we rested. Loved the Cafe on top, nice lunch and headed back down. Start your hike very early so you can get out before dark.

hiking
1 month ago

The directions from this site will take you all the way up to the peak- so just search for Chantry Flats address instead. The peak itself has little to offer, Other than that this is a beautiful place- long walk. The switchbacks are steep so be prepared to burn some calories. Have fun!

hiking
2 months ago

I am writing this after my ibuprofen has had a chance to kick in the day after! I am an older, slower hiker but I peaked this mountain yesterday. It was challenging yet so rewarding. It became steep after Spruce Grove Campground. The shaded, foggy trail kept me cool...making the uphill trudge more bearable. I loved reaching the top and going to the lookout area immediately to the right when you summit. You will find the elevation/Mt. Wilson sign there. After that, a trip to the Cosmic Cafe for some tasty food is a well earned treat.
I thought I got off trail on the way down. I would recommend getting the map at the little store at Chantry Flats. It includes the locations of all the campgrounds, call boxes, river crossings, etc. and can be helpful when your electronic devices don’t work.
My phone tracked this hike as a 17.5 miler...but that includes my doubling back when I thought I had gone off the trail I was supposed to be on AND getting to my car parked a ways from the trailhead. If I can do it, you probably can too!

hiking
2 months ago

Did this route counter clockwise. It’s not 12.6 miles, more like 17.5 from our car at chantry flats. Beautiful hike up & down. I was pleasantly surprised how much I liked it. Trail gets pretty steep from sturtevant campground up to the summit. We also had great weather.

2 months ago

Did this hike Saturday. Hard but enjoyable. We didnt have gps, but thank goodness another hiker did. We would have gotten lost for sure. Hiked up the backside first. Road less traveled. On the way down lots of trail splits. Ended up going 15.52 miles in 5.52 hours. Mt Wilson is badly marked and no elevation sign at top for photo op! Doing the 6 Pack of Peaks. 1 down 5 to go. Cucamonga Peak is next.

hiking
2 months ago

We hiked Mt Wilson early April. If you plan to hike during the weekend, make sure you arrive no later than 6am if you want to park in the lot. It gets filled really quick. As for the hike, it was a fun hike with the stream crossings. We did the loop around 14.6 miles in about 7 hours.

Check out our YouTube video:
https://youtu.be/HKCKhwmzuk8

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Socal hikes and beyond

hiking
2 months ago

Just went this past weekend with a hiking group starting out the 6 pack, and it was such a great time! We got there as soon as the trailhead opened and there was a line at the gate to get in, completely packing the parking lot as son as the gates opened a little after 6, so I would definitely recommend getting there at opening time like we did. Plus it takes pretty much all day anyway to hike it. restrooms at the trail head. Need Adventure pass (available at trailhead) or National parks pass to park or you will get ticketed. Let me just say, I was so impressed with the accommodations at the top! Actual bathrooms, running (hot!) water, a cafe with fresh hot food, coffee, plenty of seating-- such a great stop for lunch, I wish I brought money for coffee or something! A bit bummed we didn't take a picture with the sign, I couldn't find it. A bunch of cool camping spots on the way up, offering both cabin lodging or regular tent camping spots, might go back for camping some time. Folks at one of the cabins even offered us coffee and let us meet and greet with their puppers! I would recommend bringing bear spray-- although we didn't see any on our hike, we did see evidence of them, and they have been spotted frequently. Also bug spray, it got a bit buggy towards the end but not super horrible. TONS of poison oak lining the trail, so be mindful. Shaded most of the way and still went through 3 liters of water. Great views from the top, neat little places to check out along the way (including a tree swing, volleyball court, archery etc at one of the camping spots), beautiful waterfalls as an added bonus :)

hiking
3 months ago

Hiked to the summit Thursday, April 12, 2018 on a beautiful clear day. Three of us went up Winter Creek Trail to the top and then down Sturtevant trail and connected with Gabrileno Trail (meets this trail at the Sturtevant campsite) back to Chantry Flats. The full loop was 13.75 miles of which the last 1/2 mile was a fairly steep (albeit on a paved road) climb which was a bit of a kick in the teeth after going that distance and being an Illinois flat lander!

At first having reached the summit I was like “I wouldn’t rate this a hard climb” but after finishing the full loop I would concur that it is a hard level hike due to the length and unless you are used to hiking long distances don’t take it lightly.

Great views from the “bench” which you reach at about the 5 mile point on the way up. We could see all the way to the coast and great perspective of Los Angeles.

This was our first of the Six pack we hope to achieve over the next couple years while our son goes to school out in SoCal!

Great time of year to go I guess as we had no gnats or flies (which apparently are a big issue on the hike later in the summer).

3 months ago

Great hike. Steep from Sturtevant Camp to just past 1/2 way rest area. Cosmic Cafe for food open weekends. Great scenery. Mostly shaded. Very busy from Chantry Flat to Sturtevant Falls but not bad after. Depending on time of year can be lots of bugs. Adventure Pass needed to park or you can buy one at trailhead for $5.00 day pass. Part of 6 Pack of Peaks. Went on Tuesday and only saw 5 hikers including one idiot who liked to talk loud on cell phone and liked to talk about terrorist. If you read this, please stop hiking, your an idiot.

3 months ago

Awesome hike! Make sure to leave before 8pm.(We got locked in.) :0)

hiking
3 months ago

This is a fun and strenuous hike. There is good tree cover and there are a few places along the trail where it's easy to take a wrong turn, so I'd recommend paying close attention. The observatory and cosmic cafe at the top are fun features. If you're in the mood for seclusion, this may not be the hike for you, but if you're feeling like a mountaintop banana split, then go for it.

hiking
4 months ago

I did this hike today and my biggest tip is be prepared. If it's in the winter or not even entered spring, bring a snow jacket because it is COLD and possibly snowing at the top of the mountain. Bring food, electrolytes, enough water, hiking poles (it DOES help), and maps.

I would definitely take screenshots on ways to get up to the mountain and down the mountain, it helped so much when my friend and I missed some turns. If a beginner went on this hike, I'd start early. We started close to 8 and it still took us about 7 hours, not counting the hour we spent at the summit. The difficulty of this hike is high because of the TIME it takes to complete it. Like it's JUST long. SO long... I didn't experience any bugs at all, but there are PLENTY of poison oak at the beginning of the hike, so wear long sleeve and pants. I feel very proud to have completed this because it is a challenge.

hiking
4 months ago

This trail is a great long hike for beginners! It was for sure a challenge, but very doable and well populated. Had read a lot about bug issues, but this time we experienced no bugs at all! The viewpoint at the top had some gorgeous sites and after a little walk through the parking lot, there was a great place with tables to hang out and take a break. Great hike! :)

hiking
4 months ago

Definetly worth the hike. Gets pretty tough past Sturtevant campgrounds especially carrying 40 lbs of weight backpacking.

hiking
5 months ago

Awesome no bugs right now

hiking
5 months ago

It was a really intense hike. The waterfall at the beginning wasn't worth the extra mile. All the buildings on the first and last mile were kind of creepy walking alone in the woods (I'm guessing they're all rented out and full of life in the summer but right now it feels like a scary movie). The views were nice, I feel like there are better ones in the area, though.

I'm happy because I wanted something fairly challenging and definitely got that. Also I got there at about 7:30am on a Tuesday and saw a total of 9 people on the trail, so that was awesome

backpacking
5 months ago

NO BUGS IN JANUARY
Do to a temporary road closure from the recent rain and rock slides, we had to improvise and start at the top, then loop down and end back at the top. My girlfriend and I just completed this loop on an overnighter while backpacking. We camped at Spruce Grove camp. Amazing hike and beautiful views the whole way. Definitely bring trekking poles for this type of elevation gain. If you don’t have poles you can rent them at adventure 16 for $7 the first day and $2 every additional day. Also I read so many reviews about how terrible the bugs are on this hike. Let me say that we had no problems with bugs at all as we hiked the loop earlier this month (January).
Cheers!

hiking
6 months ago

What a great hike. Long. 15.2 miles. Great elevation gain. Hiking poles are a must. Bring plenty of water. Enjoy the views!

6 months ago

Lots of elevation makes this trail challenging, but it's absolutely worth it. Gorgeous scenery and a beautiful observatory at the top. This trail is a must!

hiking
7 months ago

great hike! perfect way to spend Thanksgining. although we were going to try to make it up to Zion, luckily a fellow hiker told us the sign located near the campground is wrong it says it is only 1.5 miles more. Really is 3 to 4 miles more, glad we asked.

hiking
8 months ago

Rosa was visiting her family so I took our 8 year old son who had some difficulty but the snack bar at the top was worth it.

hiking
9 months ago

Be mindful that the directions for this trail lead you to the peak of Mt Wilson, meaning you hike down the mountain first, then back up. Also, the trailhead can only be accessed after 10 am, it's behind a locked gate until then, with no access. The views are beautiful and it's cool to see the equipment up on the mountain, the amount of flies ruined the hike for me.

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