Mount Zion Loop - Sturtevant to Winter Creek Trails

HARD 296 reviews
#7 of 197 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

birding

camping

hiking

mountain biking

trail running

forest

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.

hiking
7 days 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
13 days 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
19 days 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
26 days ago

One of my favorite local hikes

28 days 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
1 month 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.

1 month 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

1 month ago

Wonderful views with easy parking on a Thursday morning.

hiking
2 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
2 months ago

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

hiking
4 months ago

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
4 months ago

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

4 months ago

This loop is actually 9.5 miles!

hiking
4 months ago

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

hiking
4 months ago

So many trails within trails ❤❤

5 months ago

A great hike! It took us about 5 hrs. with a couple stops. Good workout and plenty of great views! Cold beer at store in parking lot was a plus too!

backpacking
5 months ago

Great elevated climb. Beautiful scenery. Lunch at the campsite and great detour to Mt Zion.

5 months ago

Beautiful river and falls after a nice hike up to Mt Zion. Excellent loop trail, the cold water at Sturtevant falls pool was nice to cool the feet and head with! We also saw a ton of lady bugs at the Sturtevant Camp, very cool.

6 months ago

Love the trail because there are a lot of shady areas and water. Cute to see the little cabins all the way up. The bugs are annoying sometimes.

hiking
6 months ago

Decent easy hike, but I would rate it moderate considering the distance. The trail has lots of shades and water running, which is nice on a hot day. Overall, a nice trail, but nothing amazing.

hiking
6 months ago

Beautiful weather, lovely scenery. This was a great hike!

hiking
6 months ago

This is great if you're looking for a hike in the LA area with a lot of green forest and shade. Once you get to the waterfall, it's a little tricky to find the trail to continue on to Mt. Zion. If I did it correct, you have to cross the creek, and make a steep ascent to the left of the waterfall. It may seem misleading, but it connects to a more obvious trail. Be sure to study the map well as the signs can be very misleading, and the written directions may be incorrect at times.

hiking
6 months ago

Loved this trail and would consider it a challenging moderate hike. The trail gets a little unclear in a few spots but the ascent is beautiful and serene and the waterfall is a nice surprise. The trail head was packed by 6:30 a.m. so go early if you want to find parking or else you’re going to be walking a long distance just to get to the trail. I would’ve given it five stars, but the trail was overly crowded for my taste.

6 months ago

Gorgeous trail. Felt like we were in an enchanted forest. Only saw about 4 other people during our 10 mile loop. If you want a challenging yet peaceful and romantic hike, this is your place. The view from the top of the waterfalls as well as all of the pristine clear freshwater pools is breathtaking.

hiking
6 months ago

So this was my first time in this area. Physically, it wasn’t that tough of a hike but we definitely hit a couple of sections of really janky trail.
Just before Sturtevant Waterfall there was 5 or 6 foot section where it looked like the trail/rock got sheered clear away. And the drop was probably about ~70 feet. That said, we met up with some backpackers at Spruce Grove who mentioned that they had been warned about that part of the trail but didn’t encounter anything like that. So I’m wondering if there is another way over the waterfall?
The only other thing that caught me off guard was how much sun we got as we descended the west part of the loop. I didn’t realize the switchbacks we so exposed and got blasted by the morning’s sun for a good mile.
Still, it was a great hike. My teenage kids and I had a lot of fun!

hiking
6 months ago

Beautiful trail!! It ended up being exactly 10 miles for me and took a little less than 4 hours to complete. There were a couple times where I got off trail and had to slide down the mountain to find it again, but I still made it to the end!

hiking
7 months ago

great challenge for beginners gives a good perspective as to what preparation is needed for mt Wilson, found its beauty is like no other, 80% shady trail

9 months ago

I went on Sunday and parking was horrible. I made a few circles waiting for a spot to open up. Make sure you have a day pass, it's $5. If you start and go up and hit the water fall first then Mt. Wilson where the observatory is, and come back around that way, it's approximateky 14.5 miles. It's tough but the views are great and it was definitely worth it.

hiking
9 months ago

Great trail, meets the qualifications of "hard", mostly for quality of trail and a few steep grades. Some washed out sections, one on steep rock cliffs, and a few boulders and trees to climb over. Fun, but not for young kids.

Most is beautifully shaded, and accompanied by water, with the exception of the 1.5 miles coming down from Mt Zion. Check out Sturtevant Camp as you pass it near the half way point.

9 months ago

bring bug spray!!

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