Hiking Project Logo

blueBlack Chantry Flat/ Mt. Wilson Loop

  4.4 ( 36 ) Favorite


15.3 mile 24.6 kilometer loop


Ascent: 4,195' 1,279 m
Descent: -4,183' -1,275 m
High: 5,686' 1,733 m
Low: 1,803' 549 m


Avg Grade: 10% (6°)
Max Grade: 40% (22°)


Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by psykokid

A good loop out of Chantry Flat that takes you up the back side of Mt. Wilson.


Features River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife


A long, tough hike around Mt. Wilson using multiple trails has many scenic sections along creeks and ridgetops.

Need to Know

Adventure Pass required to park at Chantry Flat. Parking lot fills early on weekends. This route can be hot in the summer with many bugs. Be prepared and bring plenty of sun protection and water. Do not attempt Rim Trail #11W28 if there is snow or ice on it.


Start this loop at the lower Chantry Flat parking lot. First, descend on the Gabrielino Trail (NRT) 11W14 which begins as a paved road down to the canyon bottom and crosses a bridge over Winter Creek. Keep right at the junction with the Lower Winter Creek Trail #11W15 and then go upstream along the bottom of Big Santa Anita Canyon past the rustic cabins. Watch for the trail junction near Fern Lodge that goes left uphill. Take either the upper or lower spur of the Gabrielino Trail (NRT) 11W14 rejoining at Falling Sign Junction. The lower spur is rougher but has great views of the canyon and waterfall.

Continue on passing the Cascade Picnic area and Spruce Grove Trail Camp to the intersection of the Sturtevant Trail #11W16 Trail. For a shorter version of this loop, take the Sturtevant Trail #11W16 to the top of Mt. Wilson which saves 3 miles. Bear right and continue on the Gabrielino Trail (NRT) 11W14 which climbs out of the shaded canyon into open chaparral reaching Newcomb Pass where there are two picnic tables under shady oaks. After a good rest, turn left and head west on the Rim Trail #11W28 which makes a gradual climb up the shady backside of Mt. Wilson.

Once at the top of Mt. Wilson, cross the paved road and go up a paved path towards the restrooms and Cosmic Cafe (hours vary by season). There is a shaded pavilion with picnic tables. When finished visiting the site, proceed down the western edge to the large parking area. Pick up the Mt. Wilson Summit Spur Trail on the western side of the lot which descends down to the Mt. Wilson Toll Road at the saddle near Mt. Harvard. Follow the road down around the steep eastern side of Mt. Harvard where there are excellent views of Mt. Baldy. Watch for some nice coral bells clinging to the rock face above the road.

In half a mile there is a junction with the Mt. Wilson Trail #11W22. Turn left and take the trail down to a saddle with a bench and a junction with the Winter Creek Trail #11W20. Be sure to turn left onto the Winter Creek Trail #11W20. The right fork goes down Little Santa Anita Canyon to Sierra Madre.

Descend a series of long switchbacks through a nice forest of oak, bay and bigcone spruce to a trail junction with the Lower Winter Creek Trail #11W15. Turn right onto the Upper Winter Creek Trail #11W23 which climbs 0.3 miles then levels off as it contours around the side of the mountain passing in and out of open chaparral. There are a few groves of rare madrone trees about midway on the trail. In late spring the monkeyflowers can be spectacular on this section. The trail drops down to a paved road. Turn left and follow it down to the picnic area and parking lots at Chantry Flat completing the loop.

Flora & Fauna

Oak, bay, maple, alder and bigcone spruce trees provide abundant shade in the canyon bottom and north facing slopes. Open chaparral of ceanothus, manzanita, scrub oak and laurel sumac on south facing sides. Bright orange, yellow and red Humboldt Lillies bloom in canyon bottoms in June. Watch for rare madrone trees near Spruce Grove Trail Camp and on the Upper Winter Creek Trail #11W23. There is abundant poison oak everywhere. Watch for rattlesnakes. Deer are often seen but bears are usually shy of people.


Rate This Featured Hike

Rate Quality

   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Hike

Check In


Jun 15, 2019
Maxwell Ingels
15.3mi — 9h 29m
May 25, 2019
Fendi Abou Hassan
May 12, 2019
CW this time, up winter canyon and down rim trail. lovely time meeting some really good trail runners 16.1mi — 5h 30m
Apr 28, 2019
Rob Luskey
14.8mi — 7h 33m
Mar 16, 2019
got lost at waterfall. nice running down for much of it. do again as good training 14.8mi — 4h 45m
Feb 24, 2019
Alexander Bermudez
Jan 27, 2019
Andrea C
Dec 9, 2018
Joy T

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 36 votes


  4.4 from 36 votes
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star


in California


248 Views Last Month
6,514 Since Feb 29, 2016
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult



Hiking Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Hiking