Sturtevant Falls is a lovely hike. The early part is a bit exposed, but once you get to the creek you'll be surrounded by trees. Follow the creek, occasionally crossing it, along a well-used path past cute little cabins until you reach the waterfall.
Adventure Pass required to park at Chantry Flat. Lot fills early on weekends. The early part along the road is mostly exposed to the sun. There are also several stream crossings and your feet may get wet.
Sturtevant Falls is in Santa Anita Canyon and usually accessed from Chantry Flat. This trail is popular, and you are likely to encounter plenty of other enthusiasts on the way.
From the lower parking lot, take the paved road, Forest Route 2N40
, down to Roberts Camp where there is a vault toilet and a trail junction with the Lower Winter Creek Trail #11W15
. Go right taking the Gabrielino Trail (NRT) 11W14
upstream in a nicely shaded canyon with bay, alder, oaks and maple trees.
Along the way, you'll enjoy passing some small debris check dams, and a picturesque bridge. You can hang out in the creek if you wish; I have seen people swimming along the way to the falls. The dams provide an excellent spot for photographers, and I have taken gorgeous pictures of the clear glass-like water on the blocked side of them. You'll pass cabins along the way. They are lived in seasonally, and some are pretty beautiful.
At Fern Lodge, about 1 mile up the canyon, the Gabrielino Trail (NRT) 11W14
goes left and climbs out of the canyon and around the falls. On this route, stay in the canyon bottom following the well used path, boulder hopping along the stream to the base of the falls. The falls are awe inspiring if the water is flowing well. Sometimes during dry seasons it is not as impressive, but still worth seeing nonetheless. There is a little pool at the base of it and people often play in the water. Do not attempt to jump off the rocks into the water.
Once you've had your fill of the falls, retrace your steps back to the parking area. If you wish to go further upstream, go back down the canyon to the trail junction at Fern Lodge, then take the Gabrielino Trail (NRT) 11W14
up and around the top of the falls. Do not attempt to climb from the base of the falls to the trail which is both dangerous and destructive to the trail and the natural resources. The trail continues upstream passing Cascade Picnic Area, Spruce Grove Trail Camp and the historic Sturtevant Camp.
This route is very beautiful. The only downside is that it can be quite crowded. If you don't mind the crowds, you'll have a blast.
Canyon areas shaded by oak, bay, alder and maple trees. Watch for abundant poison oak along the way.