Big Santa Anita Canyon
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Distance: 7 mi Round trip
Elevation Gain: 1,800 ft
Hike Time: 5hrs
Take the 210 Freeway to Santa Anita Avenue. Exit and drive North for 6 miles until you reach Chantry Flats. Park. The trail is at the mouth of the parking lot and starts out as a paved road.
Big Santa Anita Canyon is one of those trails that keep drawing you out again and again. I have hiked this particular trail about 3x and I’m about to go back for a fourth this weekend and I’m still not tired of it! There’s something about a 50ft waterfall at the end of a handful of miles that satisfies better than any Snickers could hope to do. It’s just so easy! This is definitely THE TRAIL to take someone on if they are new to hiking or being outdoors.
There’s really nothing tricky about this trail once you find it. There’s a paved road you walk down which gives way to a wide dirt trail and you’ll see people’s houses all through this area as well as man-made dams and such. Once beyond that area you can enjoy the cascades and the natural beauty of Santa Anita Creek. You follow the creek upstream to Sturtevant Falls, crossing the stream twice. Plan to get wet, but take care with where you step and you might avoid it. I for one always pack spare socks to change into later.
Some people call this trail Moderate, but it’s really Easy as you’ll see for yourself when you are sharing the road with 30+ other people (on weekends). When I was here last, it was raining on a Sunday so no one was out but me and a small handful of other brave souls. I got drenched to the bone, but had a great time and was able to enjoy the falls all to myself that day without worrying about how to negotiate a bunch of people jostling to get a picture in front of the falls for their Facebook account. If you go on the weekend, do yourself a favor and show up EARLY. How early you ask? Well, whatever you were thinking, subtract another hour and you will still run into alot of people. I recommend you plan to be on the trail at 7am.
NOTE: Show up late and you will not find parking at Chantry Flats and may have to park on the side of the road and hoof it even further! Also, make sure you display your Adventure Pass. I’ve heard that there are passes available at a store at Chantry Flats, but I have never visited the store and have always owned an Annual pass.