Mount Zion Loop - Sturtevant to Winter Creek Trails

HARD 294 reviews
#9 of 222 trails in

Mount Zion Loop - Sturtevant to Winter Creek Trails is a 9.3 mile moderately 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

walking

bird watching

running

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.

hiking
flooded
muddy
8 days ago

Ran into a little snow dusting at the highest point, but overall lovely and not too difficult. Did it in about 4 hours with a 20-30 min snack break. Bring toilet paper and hand sanitizer — toilets are under stocked. Layers too, it’s quite a bit colder toward the peak in the shade than at the bottom. National parks annual pass works for parking.

hiking
2 months ago

Such beautiful trail and have been several times but be alert was stung around 3 mile mark stung several times by bees or wasps.

hiking
bugs
2 months ago

A nice loop in mostly shaded forest with creeks and waterfalls. On Sept 11, 2019 the bugs were annoying but a sun hat with a net works. The overall elevation gain to Studervant Camp wasn't too much in 4.3 miles from the Chantry Flats parking lot. It's a pleasant hike for warm or hot days due to shade from the forest.

Bring something to cover your nose, mouth, and ears otherwise you’ll be swatting away bugs the whole time. They don’t bite, but they’re just a nuisance Nice trail otherwise, not the best views but good sense of solitude, even when the parking lot was packed. We went in the afternoon and most of the trail was shaded (going ccw on the loop)

hiking
bugs
3 months ago

Challenging hike. Good workout. LOTS of bugs. Lots of shade but also lots of sun. I went on a weekend so parking is so full. I ended up parking at Chantry Flat Rd on the side about half a mile from the trailhead. I recommend coming in really early to get a parking space. Overall trail is nice with gorgeous views.

backpacking
bugs
3 months ago

Really nice loop! Both campgrounds are under shade and really pretty Although other people camping sometimes leave the areas pretty messy Be sure to practice good backpacking etiquette by cleaning up! Other than that, super pretty with lush greenery near a creek Enjoy!

hiking
3 months ago

Great hike! Favorite of the summer so far. Good coverage, varied terrain, lots of wildlife. We saw a mama bear with two cubs. She was calm as long as we kept a respectable distance.

hiking
bugs
over grown
rocky
4 months ago

This trail felt neverending today for some reason.. Maybe due to the mosquitos eating me alive or having to hear the whiner who i brought along.. I saw a variety of sceneries which was great. Ran into a few bikers who were very nice except one who was super annoyed he ran into me. But in all seriousness, the mosquitos are no joke! You really need to use a head net and cover up. I got about 10 to the eye and swallowed 1. And that was with us using bug repellent. Be prepared or be sorry.

hiking
4 months ago

This trail is absolutely one of the best selection of LA Area for all kind of good factors. Hard and long, but all kind of fun. I even saw a bear family crossing trail. just stay away from them. Zion peak is nothing, but "get there" staff. but need to be hit.

hiking
4 months ago

A nice long hike that all sorts of terrain. I took the lower winter creek and up to Mount Zion, and headed back through the upper winter creek. A great cardio exercise, you will definitely feel it. Towards the beginning of the trail, crossing the river on a bridge I ran into a bear and two cubs, right to the right of it, on top of the garbage bins. I stood around, at a distance, well over 10 minutes and they weren't moving, so I took the courage and slowly, and quietly walked to the left of them and passed them by. The mama bear was busy with her head down the trash bin and I made it through, although my heart was definitely beating fast, faster than usual. At the end of the trail, in conclusion, this was a wonderful trail, and I would recommend it, and I will definitely do it again. One thing though which was an issue, was the bugs, but I somehow made it through, safely, although I did swallow one.

hiking
bugs
4 months ago

Got there a little before 7 am on a Sunday and the parking lot was already full. Nice and shady for the first part of the hike, got sunny and warm after Mt. Zion. The mosquitos are terrible near Sturtevant Camp, and there are lots of non-biting but annoying bugs on the rest of the trail. I used a head net but had to remove it because it was too warm. Still lots of water so you can filter some and not have to carry as much in, or you can dip a bandanna in to cool off.

hiking
bugs
5 months ago

Great hike today! Over 10 miles, beautiful scenery, mostly shady, more on the difficult side, parking is a pain, make sure you get there really early like before 6:30 am

hiking
bugs
over grown
rocky
5 months ago

Great hike! I recommend taking bug and fly repellent! Watch out for poison oak near the end of the trail.

Absolutely beautiful trail. Mount Zion is very anticlimactic. That’s the only reason for 4 stars. This is a trail that hiking enthusiasts can bring their friends on and get in some great hiking.

bugs
over grown
6 months ago

Did this trail yesterday on a Saturday and I just gotta say the parking struggle is real!!! I had heard how bad it was so I decided to go more late and make it an evening hike. We got there at 2:30 and could not believe how far down the road people had parked! We got lucky and got a parking spot about a minute from the trailhead as someone was leaving! We started at 2:30 and finished the loop by 7 p.m. with a lunch break on between. The whole trail thats part of the Mount Wilson loop is like a beautiful rain forest thats why we went back after doing Mount Wilson but the trail to Mount Zion about 2.5 total from trail to trail is nothing special. The top of Mount Zion is like a round area of dirt, thats it nowhere to sit and eat lunch and the views from the top are ok but nothing special. The trail is more canyon like if anything I just tried crossing that section fast and soon I was back in the nice rain forest by hoegees camp. Overall the area surrounding Mount Zion is gorgeous but I dont think I would go up to the peak again I rather just go back to Mount Wilson instead.

Perfect on a sunny day after a rain. Trail is in excellent condition except for a few overgrown areas.

One of my favourites!

hiking
7 months ago

This hike start on top of the small hills next to the ranger station. It's 90% in shade and the only steady incline is to mt Zion viewpoint and it's not too hard. The viewpoint itself is nothing special. Trail has a lot of trees, water and just a nice Amazon type feeling.

7 months ago

7 months ago

nice hike overall but the peak was disappointing

7 months ago

Beautiful trail. I would rate it as moderate. The only challenging part is the incline to Mt Zion. It is a steady incline over a couple miles. Most of the trail is in the shade but the part out in the sun is strenuous. Going to the falls at end was the highlight of the hike, following the creek. Make sure to have enough water with you and the proper gear. Please keep in mind this is bear area.

hiking
8 months ago

Beautiful. Crowded if you start later than 7am.

hiking
8 months 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
9 months 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 .

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