Heading north on Santa Anita Ave and after leaving the suburbs behind the road changes names to Chantry Flats Rd. and winds its way deep into Angeles National Forest. After 5-10 minutes of dodging dedicated cyclists on the narrow mountain road you will reach a major hub of hiking trails in Front Range of the San Gabriel Mountains, Chantry Flats. Be sure to arrive early to snag the best parking.
From Chantry Flats natural recreation options abound. Depart for a multi-day backpacking excursion deep into the San Gabriel mountains, enjoy a brief hike along the alder-lined mountain streams, or simply take a picnic and some good friends to enjoy under the towering pines and oaks.
Perhaps the most popular destination from Chantry Flats is Sturtevant Falls. All year long crowds of people from all walks of life take the 1.5 mile trail out to see one of the most impressive waterfalls in all of LA County. The water cascades 50 feet over a sheer precipice to a crystal clear pond below.
Or take a peaceful amble to Hoegee’s Campground. Here the riparian flora of the Front Range is thriving. Deep shade and cool streams flow year round. You may even spot a shy California Black Bear having a refreshing drink!
If you are in excellent physical condition the 14 mile Mt Wilson loop will reward you with panoramic views of the San Gabriel Valley and far beyond. Not to mention a stroll through a living monument to humanity’s scientific spirit at the Mt Wilson Observatory. A small museum and the Cosmic Cafe (open seasonally on weekends) greet visitors among the towering pines and the glistening white domes of telescopes of immense historical importance.
Whatever adventure awaits you at Chantry Flats be sure to pick up an Adventure Pass parking permit. Buy one in advance at REI or any number of local sporting goods stores. They cost $5 for a day pass and $30 for an annual pass. Passes are also available at the Pack Store at the Flats along with snacks and drinks. However, the store is open only sporadically, so its best to buy the pass in advance. Also, be sure to bring plenty of water and appropriate apparel for a day in the rugged Angeles National Forest.
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