Monday, January 10, 2011

Go to the fall in the winter

Most hikers head to Sturtevant Falls in the summer, when they search out the spray of the 50-foot cascade to escape the mid-day heat.
But the falls really get roaring in the winter, a few days after a strong storm.
The falls were named for William "Sturde" Sturtevant, a packer from Colorado who opened a resort and pack station in the San Gabriel Mountains in the 1930s.
You will still hike past several dozen cabins along the nearly two-mile hike from Chantry Flats to the falls. You can still hire horses or mules to "pack" to the cabins. The trail offers a 500 foot gain but the views along the river, in the shade of oak and alder trees, will make it feel like a stroll in the park. Giant ferns and towering canyon walls will make you think you have dropped in on a Tolkien shire.
Direction: From the 210 Freeway, take the Santa Anita Avenue and drive north for six miles into the hills until you reach a parking lot and a pack station at Chantry Flats. Follow the paved road downhill to a wooden bridge and follow the signs to Sturtevant Falls. Water and bathrooms are available at Chantry Flats. You need to buy a $5 parking pass, sold at the bottom of the hill at the REI store at the corner of Santa Anita Avenue and Santa Clara Street.
(Photo: Sturtevant Falls. Credit: Hugo Martin)

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