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Sturtevant, Mount Wilson, and Winter Creek Trail Loop [CLOSED]

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San Gabriel Mountains National Monument

Sturtevant, Mount Wilson, and Winter Creek Trail Loop [CLOSED] is a 13.7 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Sierra Madre, California that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 13.7 mi Elevation gain 4,416 ft Route type Loop
Dogs on leash Backpacking Camping Hiking Forest River Views Waterfall Wild flowers Wildlife Bugs Rocky Scramble Closed Fee
Description
Waypoints (18)
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Getting There

Note: As of October 2020, this area will be closed until April 2022 due to the Bobcat Fire. For updates, please visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/angeles/alerts-notices The cafe, museum, and observatory are all currently closed (08/31/2020). Note: Santa Anita Canyon Rd and Chantry Flats Rd may be intermittently closed through summer. Please call the city of Sierra Madre at (626) 355-7135 before you head to Chantry Flats. An 'Adventure Pass' or 'America the Beautiful Pass' is required for this trail. Standing prominently above Pasadena, Mount Wilson is a Southern California landmark. The 5,710 foot summit is home to an observatory responsible for the most detailed photos of Mars as well a vast array of antennae for local LA radio and television stations. While the summit is steeped in astronomical wonder and tremendous views of Los Angeles, the trails are the real beauty of this hike. There are several trails you can take to the top of Mount Wilson, but this challenging loop starts at the Chantry Flats trailhead above Arcadia, and includes a one mile detour to view the beautiful Sturtevant Falls before climbing 4,200' to the top of Mount Wilson. This is the first of six southern California summits in the 6-Pack of Peaks bundle. Done in sequence, they provide great training anyone preparing for bigger hikes such as Mt. Whitney or Half Dome. Each hike in the 6-Pack is progressively higher in altitude, and all have respectable distance and vertical elevation gain. Much of the hike is shaded, but there are also exposed parts, so bring sunscreen and plenty of water. This trail is a mixture of pine trees and high elevation desert plants. The trail itself is well maintained but it isn’t well sign posted for this particular loop so be aware of the possibility to get onto the wrong trail.

There is street parking on Mira Monte Blvd, Sierra Madre. At the park near the trailhead are restrooms.

My full Mt. Wilson trip report on SoCal Hiker.net http://socalhiker.net/2010/05/mt-wilson-via-chantry-flats/ Mt. Wilson Webcam http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~obs/towercam.htm Mt. Wilson Observatory http://www.mtwilson.edu/ Adams Pack Station at Chantry Flats http://www.adamspackstation.com/

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.

210 to Baldwin Avenue. Baldwin north to Mira Monte. Mira Monte east (right) to trailhead located behind historic general store.

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Reviews (1507)
Photos (5561)
Recordings (1007)
Completed (3774)
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Christy “CC” Cheung
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 19, 2020
HikingGreat!

Up Wintercreek and down Sturtevant route. Gorgeous day with views for days. Going to miss accessing this trail for a while.

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Ulices Rodriguez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 5, 2020
HikingBugsGreat!

Let me start off by saying I Love weekday hikes because I know for a fact there are going to be less people on the trail. Hiked this trail on a Friday and arrived around 6:30am surprisingly the parking lot looked full, but it wasn’t, there was plenty of parking spaces for me to park, of course this is on a Friday I can’t say the same when it comes to the weekend. Come to find out, majority of the people there are there too see the fall not hike Mt Wilson. Just for a heads up, the restrooms are closed due to COVID-19. Moving forward, started hiking around 6:50am and wished I had insect repellent, as you progress into the day the insects tend to leave you alone, it just the morning where it’s really bad. Bring more than enough water because the hot weather really does play a factor on tiring you out especially when going up. Other than that the hike was great, read a comment before doing this hike that they couldn’t find the other path to the trail, depending on which side you start from once you get to the top it’s literally on the other side. Finished at around 2:30pm that’s because I literally spent a whole entire hour to my self at the top with an amazing view. I will highly recommend calling before coming here, they close the road to minimize the capacity again due to COVID-19.

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Alex Negrete
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Hiking

I guess the word isn't out, but as of 8/31/20 the road to Chantry Flats trailhead is open! I went on a whim and there were only a couple of cars there when I pulled in around 615am. I took a slight detour to check out the falls and only saw 4 people arriving as I was leaving. The ascent took me 4 hours in total including the detour and when I got to the summit only 2 people were up there. I had the entire top to myself for an hour. The cafe, museum, observatory, all that's closed. I couldn't find the other side of the trail to complete the loop so I just came back the same way. I was able to make it back down in 2.5hrs with a little bit of jogging towards the end. I saw maybe a dozen people on my way down towards the trailhead. 7.5hrs in total. Bring some kind of insect repellent, the gnats were annoying for part of the ascent and the 20% picaridin I brought wasn't helping. The best outlook is at Echo Rock at the summit.

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James and Jeanetta Gregory
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RunningClosed

Great trail. Unfortunately closed from 8/14 until further notice because of fire risk.

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James Stafford
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarAugust 19, 2020
HikingClosed

the road to Chantry flats is closed. No indication of when it will reopen. Maybe the closure is due to the Ranch fire?

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Rachel Guevara
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HikingBugs

Absolutely stunning trail. Entirely shaded, and the first 3 miles were delightful. The real climb begins at about 3.5 miles, where the trail gets buggy and warmer, a little less enjoyable. The summit is completely urbanized with the observatory, it’s a fairly ugly and complicated area with no summit sign, and the marker is hidden (I was never able to find it).

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Matthieu Tremblay
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HikingGreat!
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Trent Revic
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HikingBugsGreat!

I ascended this hike via Lower Winter Creek Trail > Mt Wilson Peak. Total hiking time was 2 hours 39 minutes. I then ate my lunch and walked around everywhere there was to explore up the top. Then descended via Sturtevant trail back to the Chantry Flats car park. This was covered with shade until the last 0.6 miles where the sun and steep hill was pretty brutal, I had a lot of fun with this though and jogged/powered back up to the car park. Total hiking time of 4 hours 43 minutes. Tips: -Mosquitos are everywhere, if you are prone to be bitten or react to bites, I would recommend bug spray. -Put your ‘America the Beautiful’ or ‘Adventure Pass’ on the dash to avoid a ticket. -Lower Winter Creek Trail is stunning, no one seems to mention it, I highly recommend it!

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Forest Lurz
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 10, 2020
HikingBlowdownBugsFee

I did this on August 10, Chantry Flat was open but the lot was full by the time I arrived at 8am, so I parked about 100 yards down the road. The trail was a little crowded up to the falls, but it cleared out after that. I probably saw 20 people total on the upper part of the loop so it was very secluded. This hike is long and gets very steep once you pass Sturtevant Camp. Luckily it's very shady, but there are some sections without much breeze so I got very sweaty. I brought and drank 4L of water on this hike. Not much action at Wilson, I thought I'd see more people but I only saw two folks hanging out in the parking lot. The view from Wilson is magnificent! One of the best views in the ANF. The hike down is just as long and steep as the hike up. Luckily towards the end there are some stream crossings which are good for resting and soaking your feet. In total I hiked a little over 13 miles. This is a fun hike as long as you're prepared!

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Dizzy Hiker
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Hiking

From ANF Twitter Aug 7 “Due to extreme fire conditions Chantry Flat Rec Area will be closed this weekend. The Chantry Fire, 2 wks ago, shows current high risks of dry vegetation and hot, dry conditions. For safety, Chantry will be closed, Sat-Sun Aug 8-9. Please help prevent wildfires!” Seems the neighbors were editorializing, not that they don’t have a point. Sb open during the week but ANF Twitter is a good resource. More up to date than the website.

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Susy Gutierrez
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarAugust 9, 2020
RunningClosed

Gate locked No access to Chantry Flat. Had to drive to Lizzie’s Inn to access Mt. Wilson trail. Not sure if this will be every weekend but I’d suggest check before you make the drive.

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Jenna Doolittle
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HikingGreat!

So much shade and such a bum buster! Who are we kidding though, all my lower body muscles are on fire. We went counterclockwise and after the junction it was no longer a steady incline. We passed on stopping at the waterfall, been there done that and glad we didn’t stop today. Had an adventure pass and we were there early enough for great parking spot. Water spout at the top, a little confusing on where to go at the top so make sure you use the map/notes. Great trail, we loved it, we are tired and sore! We did this in 6 hours, 22minutes.

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Andrea Cortez
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HikingBugsRocky

Trails are still open, you have to be there before 7am or you will have to park down the mountain and even then you have to park inside the white lines along the road or else you get fined and or towed (according to the park ranger today). Didn’t do the full 13 miles because it’s was brutal and super hot. Comfortable shoes and LOTS of water is recommended for this hike there’s a lot of jagged rocks sticking out easy to slip and fall from one of the rocks smooth surfaces. The waterfall was super packed with people not really wearing their masks. Most of the trails are shaded but there are some places where there is no shade. Fun hike, will probably do again sometime. 4 starts only cause I almost died going back up that big hill

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Drew Jones
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 2, 2020
HikingFeeGreat!Rocky

Great trail especially for astronomy nerds like me! This is the first in the six-pack of peaks, we hiked it on a Sunday and did not listen to other Alltrails hikers advice of arriving extra early. By 730 am the road to the trailhead is INCREDIBLY crowded, we just happened to get lucky and get a spot when a person left, but most people were turned back to park along the road. As far as the hike, it's pretty great! Nicely shaded basically the entire way. Very steep dropoffs and nice views. We went clockwise from Chantry Flats, seems this way was a little smoother going up than the other way would have been, but with the disadvantage of ending your hike with a hot, uphill slog on the pavement from Sturtevant Falls to Chantry Flats. Mt. Wilson observatory is awesome, the gate was locked coming clockwise, but some other hikers going the other way let us in, be aware of that, we almost went back down the way we came but got lucky last minute! The telescopes are great and the place has an important place in astronomy history! If you go clockwise, save a full waterbottle for that last uphill climb on the pavement, trust me! Its by far the hottest and most strenuous part of the whole loop. We encountered a baby rattlesnake coiled up on the trail, could have easily stepped on her but noticed and nudged her off the trail, keep your eyes open!

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namreg arellano
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 30, 2020
Hiking

Did this hike on 7/30/2020. I did this hike and added a short trip to see the waterfall. I started at 6am and reached the summit at about 945. Everything is closed at the top. Bathrooms are closed also. Bathrooms at the beginning of trailhead are also closed. Parking lot was wide open at 6am. Overall it’s a good hike. Lots of signs to point you in the right direction. Only a handful of people hiking. The hike is modest climb until after Sturtevant camp. It seems like from there I felt it was steep and it was a good workout. Going down is easy. Great views from the top and on the way down. It was warm by about 9am. Most of the trail is shaded. It was a good day.

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namreg arellano
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Hiking

Another UPDATE: I first called Sierra Madre city office at about 11 am and they told me the road to Chantry flats was closed. I called again about 1pm and another person told me it was open, but closed on weekends. I asked why I had received different information previously and they said they had just gotten updates within the last hour. I'm going to try hiking tomorrow 07/30/2020. Hopefully its open. If not I might do Mt. Wilson via Santa Anita Canyon from Mt. Wilson trail park.

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namreg arellano
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 29, 2020
Hiking

UPDATE: I called the City of Sierra Madre this morning and they said the road to Chantry Flats is closed. Bummer. If anyone has any different information please post it. Thank you.

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Thomas Kano
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Hiking

Not sure about weekends, but I did this loop this past Wednesday and roads were fully open, trails as well. Arrived at around 7:55 and there was one parking spot left, definitely come earlier if you are worried about parking. Solid amount of traffic to Sturtevant falls, but once we passed the falls the trail was wide open. Cannot stress enough what other reviewers have said: go counterclockwise! By doing this you can avoid a very exposed and sunny way up to the summit. One last note would be to be prepared for lots of poison oak and poodledog bush! There's a ton, but it can be avoided by being aware and staying on the trail.

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Chase Boyle
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 22, 2020
Hiking

TRAIL CLOSED! As of 7/22/20. We just drove up, and the road is closed. We spoke with a park ranger and he told us the road would be closed at least for 2 to 3 more days because of a fire. Consider yourself warned, fellow hippies!

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Carlos Huerta
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HikingBugs

I went last week and it was great, lots of people when you go see the waterfall but once you actually start the hike, is amazing, mostly shaded throughout the whole loop. And on the way up behind the water fall there are tons of areas where you can jump into “water holes”. Then the hard part comes around for like 3-4 miles in a zig zag way up the observatory. Also on the way down, My friend and i felt quite some paranormal vives but we made it down with no ghost seen. Amazing hike 100% recommended, but overall it was around 17 miles

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Sulan Lange
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 19, 2020
Hiking

7/18/20. Solo hike, started at Chantry Flat at 5:30, I stop a bit at Sturdevant waterfall, empty yet. I took Sturdevant trail/Winter Creek all the way up and down, nice shades not much view until you’re almost to the top! Mosquitos, lots of mosquitos I use mosquito net all the way, lots of squirrels! The trail is well marked and well maintained except few spots! Great cardio, I won’t rate this as hard though! Beautiful and fun trail !

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Ty Kubart
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 17, 2020
Hiking

beautiful trail and not too hard. there is a lot of poison oak but it's avoidable if you're really careful.

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Kristoff Fajardo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 17, 2020
HikingBugsFee

Hardest trail I’ve ever done. Decided to go solo dolo and just kinda went for it. Major key points: 1. Get there early (6am) and avoid the crowds. Plus you get parking. Purchase an adventure pass. Liquor store on Santa Anita and foothill sells them. You don’t want to get a ticket. 2. Bring lots of water. At the same time you can refill at the summit. 3. Eat before the trail! I was trying to do a fasted cardio but the switchbacks ain’t no joke. I caved and started snacking closer to the peak when I was completely depleted of energy. Plus I’m doing keto so I was definitely craving my carbs . 4. Bring a lunch. You’re gonna need new energy for your descent. 5. Go counterclockwise. You don’t want to end your hike on a crazy uphill on pavement. 6. Get a few bags of ice and do an ice bath for your feet and legs. You’ll thank me later. Overall this was an amazing hike. The accomplishment of reaching the summit is exhilarating. This was my first time and growing up as a kid in pasadena, I always wondered if I would ever see those antennas close up. Today I did! Thank you Mt. Wilson for kicking my ass today.

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