Mount Zion Loop - Sturtevant to Winter Creek Trails

HARD 249 reviews
#7 of 191 trails in

Mount Zion Loop - Sturtevant to Winter Creek Trails is a 7.9 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
7.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2244 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.

hiking
1 month 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
1 month ago

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

1 month ago

This loop is actually 9.5 miles!

hiking
1 month 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
1 month ago

So many trails within trails ❤❤

2 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
2 months ago

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

2 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.

3 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
3 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
3 months ago

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

hiking
3 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
3 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.

3 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
3 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
3 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
4 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

6 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
6 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.

7 months ago

bring bug spray!!

hiking
7 months ago

Take lots of water lol that’s all I have to say

hiking
8 months ago

Beautiful trail and mostly under cover of trees, which makes it easier to get through the 10 or so miles. So much to look at from waterfalls to cabins, Creek dams and so much more. Was fortunate to see a dear and a snake. So much fun, next time going to check out the observatory.

hiking
8 months ago

Great Hike. Distance is actually 12 miles

hiking
8 months ago

This is a pretty hard trail, for me anyways, but it was great.

hiking
8 months ago

This is my favorite trail!

8 months ago

Great loop trail. Nice coming downhill into the parking lot instead of back up the paved road.

9 months ago

Very nice trail uphill. Not many views.

hiking
9 months ago

hiking
10 months ago

I'm pretty sure this trail is a lot longer than posted here. We went up one side to Sturtevant Camp and came back down the same side because they didn't recommend going down the other side. Since it was our first time here, we listened. It took us 12.2 miles and almost 5 hours. Try to get the map ready to record before you go up into the mountain because once your there, you will most likely have no service. I was driving and didn't think to get it ready before we went up, but my husband had his ready to record. Make sure to also get your pass to park and don't park on the red. They were issuing tickets to these cars when we walked by.

This trail is gorgeous and even nicer once you go further up from the falls. The further you go, the less people there are and the more nature-y it is. Lots of small falls and rivers throughout the trail. So many butterflies and lady bugs. We saw a couple of snakes, so just keep an eye out for them.

This is probably the best hike we've done. Good luck!

10 months ago

Hiked this trail today- 3rd time over the last couple years. Really a great and challenging day hike, especially once you get beyond Sturtevant Falls and the crowds that turn around there. It took about 4 total hours with picture and snack/water stops. Seems like there were more wildflowers this time and at least one variety I hadn't seen before. Also, the poison oak is encroaching on the trail at leg level right now- beware. Maybe this is because of the rains. A lot of butterflies this year, too. I spotted maybe 4 different types. Also saw bear scat and scratches on trees and heard a lot of owls. One pro tip: after the halfway mark stop at one of the creeks and take you shoes/boots and socks off and soak your feet in the cold water. It really is rejuvenating. In the second half the of the hike, I prefer to deviate from the route shown here and take the upper trail. It adds another mile and is nice. Also, I like to continue up to Mount Wilson sometimes (not today) and come back down the same trail and finish this loop. That adds several more miles and a lot more elevation gain, but the view is nice up there and it's cool to see the telescopes. One more note: the little store at Chantry Flats closes at 3 pm, so plan your hike early enough so you can get back in time to get a treat. You deserve it after this hike!

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