Big Santa Anita Canyon Loop

March, 24th 2012

Big Santa Anita Canyon Loop via the Lower Trail

Elevation Gain / Loss; 4,683ft / 4,652ft

9.2-mile loop

From the 210 in Arcadia, take the Santa Anita Avenue exit and drive north to Chantry Flat, 4.6 miles. A National Forest Adventure Pass is required for parking. The gates open at 6AM. If you want to get a parking spot near the parking lot, get there at 6AM, otherwise you’ll have to park on the side of the road, sometimes up to a mile from the trailhead.

The Gabrielino trail descends a 1⁄2 mile from Chantry Flat into the Big Santa Anita Canyon. You follow the Santa Anita Creek upstream to Sturtevant Falls, which is a nice looking 50-foot waterfall, about a 1⁄2 mile before the falls you’ll see a trail marker for the upper and lower trails. You still will be able to see Sturtevant Falls, only from above. I’m sure it’s not as nice as the view from below, but it’s a 9-mile loop and I didn’t feel like backtracking at all. The hike on the lower trail is pretty cool. Ferns, oak trees, and the sounds from the nearby creek is really relaxing, you don’t realize that you’re hiking uphill.

It was kinda scary hiking above the waterfall, because it’s a long ways down and you’re really close to the edge. For this part of the hike I was carrying my little dog, Tiffany. She was too afraid to walk on the rocks so close to the edge.

I forgot to mention that there is poison oak everywhere. Make sure you’re aware of what poison oak looks like before attempting this hike. I tried to keep Tiffany on the middle of the trail and I think I did a good job of doing it, but apparently I didn’t do that good of job, because about 2-days after the hike, I thought I had a mosquito bite under my bicep, well it wasn’t a mosquito bite, it was poison oak, within 24 hours I had blisters and it wasn’t only under my arm it was on my side too. Right where I hold Tiffany when I carry her. I ready that you can get poison oak off the fur of your dog. Tiffany’s fine, she didn’t get it. As I write this update, it has been two weeks and I still have poison oak. It feels better, but I still have it. I read it last for up to three weeks. I never considered poison oak a big deal, but it is. If it’s green and has three leafs stay away from I t. In fact if it’s green and on the side of the trail, just don’t let it touch you.

The hike was a fun hike. The trail markers aren’t really meant for people doing the loop. Just stay on the main trail. On our way to Hoegees Camp Tiffany and I ran into a few deer. Tiff never saw a deer before and didn’t know what to make of them, she started growling and once they took off she was barking and wanting to chase after those two deer. At Hoegees Camp we took a 10-minute break, Tiff snaked on some dog food and I had a banana.

Next up was the trailhead to Zion peak and right after that, the cutoff to Mt. Wilson. We stayed on the trail back towards Chantry Flats.

And one word of advice…towards the end of the hike you’ll come to a trail marker that's for Chantry Flats for either the Lower Creek trail or Upper Creek trail back to Chantry Flats. Take the Upper Creek trail. It’s a mile longer, but you’ll be walking down into Chantry Flats instead of walking uphill for over a half mile is you take the Lower Creek trail.

It was a fun hike. And I would do it again. Make sure you get there real early to grab one of the few parking spots near the trailhead.

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