Mount Wilson Loop via Chantry Flats

HARD 239 reviews
#12 of 153 trails in

Mount Wilson Loop via Chantry Flats is a 12 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
12.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
4015 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
11 days ago

Awesome no bugs right now

hiking
20 days 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
29 days 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
1 month ago

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

1 month 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
2 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
3 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
4 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.

hiking
5 months ago

Very strenuous hike but beautiful and serene. I took the Chantry Flats loop but took a side trail to Switzer falls before heading to Mt Wilson using the upper trail. This was a very challenging hike given the steepness & elevation change. Hiking poles a definite must have. I thought I packed enough water but consumed every bit of the two liters with another half mile to get to the top. The elevation change was a major factor as I was affected with altitude sickness which caused me to drink more water in order to avoid dehydration. I began feelings leg & ankle cramps by the time I reached the top. After a much needed break & late lunch I made sure to consume/pack excess water for the trek down. I strongly recommend packing at least three liters of water to ensure staying hydrated. Next time I'll try the lower trail but will definitely be more prepared with at least three liters of water. Also be advised, the mosquitos & gnats are relentless, you will be under attack the entire length of the trail. Strongly encourage long sleeves, full pants, head/face net and/or bring some deet or Off to spray over your clothing if nothing else. Otherwise it will not be a fun trip. Happy trails.

backpacking
5 months ago

Great hike! Lots a varied terrain and foliage. Great views as you get to the top. A lot of shade helps the temps, though it covers views as you head up, but I'll take that trade! Saw several deer at Spruce Grove camp. It was way too hot (90+) when I went, but otherwise is a manageable hike. No joke about the bugs. Bring a head net and forget worrying about how it looks. I gave five stars for doing this when it's NOT 95 degrees.

6 months ago

The bugs really took away from the fun of the hike. Enjoyed the first and last few miles along the creek. Bugs started about 3 miles in once the trail leaves the creek.

hiking
6 months ago

Bugs and flies were unrelenting today. Beautiful sweeping views! The trail seemed to take forever in the summer heat. Bring lots of water, bug spray and sunscreen.

hiking
7 months ago

Hike was great except for the bugs! We fought swarming gnatlike bugs all day. Insect repellent had no effect, as bugs would not land or bite. They just swarmed around your face constantly. At times a face net would have been great.

hiking
7 months ago

After an attempt to summit here in March that had to be cut short, we decided to start early and give it a full go. We went counterclockwise, and got a treat of the stream and falls on the way up. I enjoyed the telescopes at the top, as well as logging benchmarks and finding some geocaches. Then the hike down the familiar route taken in March got us back with plenty of daylight to spare.

https://youtu.be/2-L6wz4weEs

hiking
7 months ago

This is a challenging hike and the day we did it was the hottest day in So Cal this year. The amount of bugs on the way up were insane. There was a good 3 miles of continuously swatting them away from my face. We only stopped once about 4 miles in and only for a couple minutes because we didn't want to get slaughtered by the bugs. Very cool streams and waterfalls and the hike is shaded by trees the whole time. I'm glad I did it but felt reaching the top was uninspiring. This one was more like a exercise in self torture with no great views at the top. Definately go in cooler weather.

8 months ago

Great hike! Bug repellent was definitely not enough for the amount of bugs you will encounter. The hike up is mostly shaded, and pretty easy to follow with great signs leading the way. The last 2 miles or so of switchbacks were definitely a killer, but aside from that, the hike was pretty doable. We took the old toll road down and there wasn't many shaded areas so a hat and sunscreen are highly recommended. If you have bad knees or bad ankles, trekking pole will help greatly. There is a little cafe at the summit which is only open on the weekends. And there are bathrooms and places to fill your water on top. Get there early to get a good parking spot!

hiking
8 months ago

No parking at the trailhead by 6:50, had to park 0.8 mi down the road. Lower part of the trail was packed, but closer to the summit there weren't many people. Got eaten alive by bugs (20 bites on one leg, through leggings), and it didn't seem like it was just mosquitos, someone mentioned that there are horseflies in June. Cafe at the top had good food, but staying at the top for an hour definitely made the hike feel dragged out. The loop I did (approach from the east, descent along the west) kept us in the shade for a good portion of the hike, especially on the ascent.

I remember doing this hike maybe four years ago and being eaten alive by bugs and then deciding to never do it again. I had forgotten just how bad it was, and I did it as the first of the six-pack series this year. The views were gorgeous but I probably will opt to not hike it again for another four years, since I prefer hiking at elevation to big bites.

8 months ago

Beautiful hike, but horrible bugs!

hiking
8 months ago

These trails are the prettiest in the L.A. National Forrest. However, they are also home to some of the thickest swarms of gnats, biting flies and mosquitoes I've experienced in California. DEET will NOT protect you. Long sleeves , gloves, pants and head nets if you plan on going to the summit. Or, do what I did, and just wave your arms all the way to the top like a lunatic. The final leg has little shade and no streams to refill water until you get to the Observatories at the summit.

hiking
8 months ago

I did this trail as an out-and-back from Chantry Flat to Mt. Wilson instead of a loop as described on this page. The total mileage ended up being around around 16 with 4000+ feet elevation gain (including the distance from the trailhead to my car). It was very crowded at Chantry, so I had to park about a mile down from the trailhead. The total mileage would've been around 14 miles had I parked closer.

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