Angeles National ForestLocate 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.
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.
Then we have to choose the way to go. We turned toward Sturtevant Falls.
Passing lush stream side and cabins, we came to another junction. LA flood control put up many dams throughout the area.
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.
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.
But the top is obscured by trees.
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.
First we see catch a 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.
From the very top, of course we can look down and try to see over the edge 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.
On up the lovely little canyon the rock slowly yields to the water in strange patterns.
And there are more little falls and lovely pools around each turn.
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.
We got high enough to occasionally look over the trees and out over the landscape.
At Cascade picnic area, we have a table and biffy and 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.
However, the only actual view from here was of the flood control dam and the campground is just half a mile further up.
Somewhat more than half a mile later, we got up to the rather well equiped campground.
Some little blue flowers in the undergrowth on the way back.
We found the cascade near the picnic area on the way back.
Along the high trail, we can see more of the surrounding landscape.
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.
Some red flowers along the way.
The landscape sometimes shows the long but fairly static presence of man in these hills so near LA.
Little branches head away from the canyons all the time like this somewhat hidden bit of greenery.
And that was a bit of the San Gabriel scenic trail.
© 2007 Valerie Norton
Posted 31 March 2007
Last updated 2 April 2007