Mount Zion Loop - Sturtevant to Winter Creek Trails

HARD 259 reviews
#8 of 215 trails in

Mount Zion Loop - Sturtevant to Winter Creek Trails is a 9.3 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Sierra Madre, California 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.

DISTANCE
9.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,339 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

backpacking

camping

hiking

mountain biking

trail running

bird watching

forest

partially paved

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

over grown

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. In this scenic loop trip form Chantry flat, you'll climb by way of the Gabrielino Trail to Sturtevant Camp, and return by way of the Mt. Zion and Upper Winter Creek trails. You start down a paved road (.06 mi) . There is a restroom at the end of the pave road. You edge along side a number of small cabins. At 1.4 miles, amidst a beautiful oak woodland, you come to a 4 way junction of trails. Take the time to see 50-foot-high Sturtevant Falls, a worthy trip. Take the middle (lower) trail -the more scenic and exciting alternative. This trail slices across a sheer wall above the falls and continues through miniature cascades and pools. About 2.8 miles into the hike you will reach Cascade Picnic where ther are restrooms. Another .7 you will reach Spruce Grove trail Camp. This is a nice place to stop for a snack or you can continue to Sturtevant Camp which is .1 miles where you can relax and have a swing. Cross a dam and take the MT. Zion trail to upper Winter trail.

Great day for a hike on one of the best days of 2019 so far. Having been a local hiker of these mountains for over 40 years I am amazed at how popular this activity has become in the past 10 to 15 years. I arrived at the trail head parking lot at Chantry Flats around 6:15 to snag one of the last parking spots available. Started out on the counter clockwise version of this loop at 6:25 along with many others, but soon had passed many of them and was now in the quiet of the forest except for the sounds of rushing water that is heavier than normal after all of the rains this season. It took about 4 hours with a couple of breaks to complete the loop, and even though there were a lot of hikers here early today it’s easy to not feel to crowded here provided you take the less traveled path. Most people come here for one of the trails up to Mt. Wilson so I’m sure that’s why I didn’t see many people after the first 30 minutes, but wherever your destination come and enjoy this beautiful area, just please try to keep your group sizes down so everyone can enjoy.

hiking
4 days ago

Pretty nice hike! Went in mid March after all of the rain so the river and waterfall were going strong. Made some of the river crossings (of which there are a lot!) a bit dicey. Definitely glad I had waterproof boots for this one. Went early mid week and it was very quiet and cool in the canyons.

I’d maybe say this is more on the moderate end than hard. Not a ton of fast elevation changes and trail was in pretty good shape. Only part that made it difficult were the river crossings.

I took the lower falls trail on both sides which is nice and much more scenic - though that’s where you end up crossing a lot so if you want to avoid that maybe take the upper trails. Lovely to walk along the river though.

hiking
1 month ago

Awesome hike , good trail conditions , my favorite hike at Chantry Flats . I wouldn’t say it’s strenuous if you hike on a regular basis , it’s a good 9.5 loop , definitely start down the asphalt road and back Upper Winter Creek Trail not the other way around , it’s better not to end walking back up the 1 mile asphalt sun exposed road at the end of your hike . It’s a beautiful 80% -90% shaded trail . Coming down Zion is sun exposed . There is a lot of history on the trail , Sturtevant Camp , the cabins along the way , Hoagie Camp you pass on the way to Upper Winter Creek , the whole Trail is a delight .

1 month ago

Best hike I’ve done period. Great tree coverage throughout most areas - more foot traffic near bottom but once you get up and out there’s barely anyone. Note that there are some complications with the trail which can make it challenging for some people. I recall one section being pretty narrow to walk on and had to be very careful walking that section with my dog since it was a drop off to the side. Also a tree fell over the trail at one section so you have to climb over the trunk. beautiful peak at the top!

2 months ago

Would not call this hard. Beautiful views over creek and waterfall and many rustic cabins.

2 months ago

Excellent trail for Running!

hiking
2 months ago

Nice mostly shaded hike with some nice fall colors. Definitely do the detour to the waterfall and backtrack back (please don’t scramble up the hill back to trail). December was a good time to do this as it was cool all day in the shade and no bugs.

2 months ago

4.5 stars for a 30min drive from LA without traffic.
We went to the falls and took the lower creek trail after which was beautiful, and my pedometer registered 11.3 miles.
4h50m including the Mt Zion peak, a short snack, and getting from and to the car.

Saw a deer up close. Woodpeckers. Bear poo.
Little hazy towards the city but the trail and mountainsides were pretty.

hiking
3 months ago

A perfect four hour hike!

3 months ago

Shady. Well maintained. Really pleasant trek.

hiking
6 months ago

One of my first Mountain Summits. Small yes, but was fun none the less! Great panorama view at the top.

backpacking
6 months ago

**HOEGEES CAMPGROUND is on the East side - by the junction of Lower and Upper Winter Creek trails, after you've descended from Mount Zion. This map has it located at the North, which is Camp Sturtevant's location, where you can get water.

Loved it! But the ridgebacks after Mount Zion, which is worth a visit, were pretty tough. Made sure to stop every few for a break. Great views, despite the vegetation at the top of Zion. If I had to do again, I’d go later in the day, set up camp at Spruce campgrounds, refill water at Camp Sturtevant and hit up Mount Zion or Wilson the next day.

Planned to camp but saw bear scat in the Hoegees campground, then a ranger said, “Be sure to use this new food box, in case the bear comes.” He was gone before I could clarify if he meant “a bear” in general or “the bear” as in, a specific one that regularly visits. I had been there a few hours & since nobody else was setting up camp, I decided to pack up and head back to the parking lot.

hiking
6 months ago

Really beautiful nearly the entire hike, great views. However, if you shit in the woods please pack out your toilet paper and pack out your food trash. Leave no trace.

hiking
7 months ago

Absolutely loved this hike. There were people on the trail but you get some lovely unobstructed views. More shade than I expected, but still be prepared with enough water, as always! We got a late start around 10am and to be fair we were not feeling amazing by 3ish, but we still really enjoyed ourselves. Definitely recommend, more like moderate difficulty if you're relatively in shape.

hiking
7 months ago

BRING A BUG NET!

have done this trail and all the variations up to Wilson and every time I'm grateful to have the bug net!

Did this on a Wednesday 7/18 at 6:30am. Sturtevant falls was a small fountain. as you back track a bit to go to the upper part of the trail looking down on Sturtevant Falls, some parts of the trails have been eroded since I did the hike all the way up to Mt Wilson last October. be careful since there are big sharp drops. There was only one other group at Mt Zion summit. It's a decent challenging hike. Felt it in my glutes the next day and I've done Whitney and Baldy so it's a good warm up to bigger peaks. Definitely recommend. Shaded mostly the whole way. It was very warm due to passing heat wave in the area just the week prior but the shade kept it comfortable. Saw several deers on the trail. My Fenix 5x clocked this in at 13 miles. Finished under 6.5 hrs with 2x20min photo/snack breaks. Plenty of out houses at various campsites (Hoagee's, Spruce). I wore a long sleeve and forgot to spray my clothes and got a bug bite on my forearm even with the long sleeve. be careful with ticks and all the bugs due to still creek water become a breeding ground for mosquitoes and bugs. the bug of definitely manifested and also watched out for ticks due to all the deer I saw on the trail

bring lots of water!

happy hiking!

hiking
8 months ago

My favorite hike what can I say out of all the places I’ve been hiking, this is still by far my favorite hike to do!

hiking
8 months ago

Super invigorating hike with lots of pretty views to guide you to the top! Beware of bugs, use bug spray, and focus on the trail because it’s possible to veer off and end up somewhere unexpected. Up to the falls is a short in and out hike, however you will have an option to go further and reach mount Zion or mount Wilson, or to chantry flats. Come here if you want a challenge but with shade during hot days!

hiking
8 months ago

My life is better for having completed this hike YALL! This was my first big “hard” hike! I finished this one solo and took me a good part of the day! Worth it just for a swing we randomly came across at some camp site! But at the peak of Mount Zion I said a little prayer and journeyed back down to sturtevant falls! I have a lot of respect for this hike and anyone who does it! Definitely will be back soon!

hiking
8 months ago

My favorite hike in the Angeles National Forest. The canyons are so lush and there is so much water, and the Mt. Zion trail is excellent -- well graded and not too steep. And beer at the end and the pack station!!!

hiking
8 months ago

One of my favorite local hikes

8 months ago

This hike took me over three hours so I agree it must be more than 8 miles and needed this application to stay on trails because it is not always clear. It was the best hike I have been in Southern California. Lots of trees, and lots of water. Nice historical sites too. It is difficult in terms of miles and some narrow/rocky passages but the trail is well established in most places. There are mosquitoes and poison oak.

hiking
8 months ago

A Beautiful hike! It's so amazing to find such a lush oasis of nature just minutes from the metropolis of LA. The hike is strenuous and exhilarating, but not necessarily difficult. There are only a few spots where one might put a hand on the rock for stability. The trails are meticulously maintained, well marked, yet deserted on a weekday morning. This route weaves in and out of multiple terrain and flora zones. We saw brazen deer and signs of bear. The June flowers were captivating: from giant yucca sprays to fields of monkey-flower, from lupin to phacelia, and many dozens I cannot name. Care must be taken in the shade as the abundant poison oak often invades the trail. Sturtevant Camp was peaceful, but there were too many mosquitos to stop and eat. My GPS recorded 10.7 mi, including Mt Zion, excluding the waterfall trail.

9 months ago

Nice trail with very nice views. Parking lot was already full by 7:30am! Wow. However, we managed to find someone just leaving. Will come back very soon! 5/5

9 months ago

Wonderful views with easy parking on a Thursday morning.

hiking
10 months ago

Awesome trail! Clocked it at 9.7 miles though, although without my gps watch I wouldn’t have guessed. The miles are easy, the scenery is amazing. The extra miles are from checking out the falls, and hitting mt Zion peak? Maybe? There’s a lot of trails within trails, so either use the map or have a clear idea of the different areas you’re headed. I went on a hot Tuesday afternoon (high said 81) and most of the trail was shaded so I was super comfortable temperature wise. Lots of beautiful flowers! Bring 2 liters of water and some good snacks! Took a bit less than 4.5 hours. Can’t wait to come back.

backpacking
10 months ago

I like hiking this loop in reverse as you seem to avoid the crowds by doing so.

hiking
Monday, March 05, 2018

Not a bad hike. Good weather and nice views. Can be a bit hazy at the Zion vista. The portion from the falls through the flats is fairly crowded. The rest of the train was only moderately trafficked. The trail markings are fairly poor and it is easy to make a wrong turn in the areas near the falls at 2 junctures.

hiking
Sunday, March 04, 2018

Gets busy in the chantry flats - leave early for the hike

Thursday, March 01, 2018

This loop is actually 9.5 miles!

hiking
Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Beautiful trail, great workout. The waypoint for Sturtevant Camp on the map in this trail description is incorrect. Sturtevant camp in en route to Mt Zion peak located between Spruce Grove campground and the turn Mt Zion/Mt Wilson Trail junction. The location marked as Sturtevant is more likely to be Hoegee's Trail Camp

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