25 March 2007

Spruce Grove from Chantry Flat via Sturtvant Falls

Angeles National Forest

Locate the trailhead.

Chantry Flat is far too easy to find. Just turn north on Santa Anita Ave. in Arcadia and go to the end. As usual, parking was up to being lucky, which I wasn't. Found a nice spot a little tilted up onto the cliff, neglected to notice all the "No Parking" signs and got started. The main trailhead is actually down the road a ways past the locked gate.

Shortly after the gate, the First Water Trail heads off to Hermit Falls. I went down this trail once, but it peters out before really getting to the falls. At the time we hiked directly up the creek a little to get closer to them.

Sign marking the First Water Trail.

Near the bottom of the road is the first cabin of the day and then the footbridge. The road ends just beyond this bridge after it takes a ford.

Footbridge to main trail crossing near Chantry Flat.

Survey marker on the footbridge.

Then we have to choose the way to go. We turned toward Sturtevant Falls.

The ways to go.

Passing lush stream side and cabins, we came to another junction. LA flood control put up many dams throughout the area.

On the right path so far.

The cabins seemed to get thicker near the falls, so people have put up signs to help the weary traveler find their way and distinguish between well traveled path and wide cabin paths.

Still going correctly.

And thus it was that with minimum stream crossing we came to Sturtevant Falls. It's a rather pretty dribble of water this very dry year.

Full length falls picture.

But the top is obscured by trees.

Top of the falls so that the trees aren't in the way.

Bottom of falls a little closer.

Back at the junction, turning around finds new ways to go. Flipping a coin, we went up the lower trail instead of the horse trail. Sometimes coins know what they're doing.

Upper and lower trails split off here where a third trail goes off to the falls.

First we see catch a glimpse of the falls through the trees.

Glimpse of the falls through the trees.

Then we get up to the very edge of the top of the falls. The sunny side has tough plants hanging on tightly to the wall. The more sheltered side has trees and us. Even though the cliffs across the water are cut quite sheer, there always seems to be someone willing to hang on.

Cliff accross the way at the very top of the falls

From the very top, of course we can look down and try to see over the edge of the falls.

View over the top of the falls

We can look up stream through the deeply cut rock to pools.

Or right down into the very last pool before the water takes its leap.

Very last place for the water to think better of its jump.

On up the lovely little canyon the rock slowly yields to the water in strange patterns.

More lovely canyon.

And there are more little falls and lovely pools around each turn.

More falls and pool below.

Finally the trail climbs back out of the canyon along a dry tributary canyon far before the original canyon itself is done. We reach the high trail that skipped the small stream's cutting.

Up to the upper trail and sign.

Looking back over the trail.

We got high enough to occasionally look over the trees and out over the landscape.

Southeast view.

Northeast view.

At Cascade picnic area, we have a table and biffy and emergency call box.

Trail sign posted next to the emergency call box.

These call boxes were put in quite some time ago. Also, when it just has to work, the Forest Service seems to use any old battery. The collection in some of these is quite impressive.

Actual (working?) call box telephone.

However, the only actual view from here was of the flood control dam and the campground is just half a mile further up.

Picnic area scenery.

Somewhat more than half a mile later, we got up to the rather well equiped campground.

Spruce Grove campground sign, tables, and biffy.

Some little blue flowers in the undergrowth on the way back.

Little blue flowers that the flies like.

We found the cascade near the picnic area on the way back.

Cascade the picnic area is named for, though it is hard to see from there.

Along the high trail, we can see more of the surrounding landscape.

More hills.

Although a little green snake (with a pink ring around its neck) didn't feel like holding still long enough to whip out the camera, one of the many lizards did hold still.

Lizard on a rock.

Some red flowers along the way.


The landscape sometimes shows the long but fairly static presence of man in these hills so near LA.

Old power/emergency box lines.

Little branches head away from the canyons all the time like this somewhat hidden bit of greenery.

Hidden glen of ferns.

And that was a bit of the San Gabriel scenic trail.

San Gabriel scenic trail marker.

© 2007 Valerie Norton
Posted 31 March 2007
Last updated 2 April 2007

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