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Mt. Zion Loop

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.5 (11) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

Shaded oak and spruce forests plus a waterfall make this a great all-around, intermediate hike for nature lovers.


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Map Key

9.3

Miles

14.9

KM

Point to Point

3,563' 1,086 m

High

1,802' 549 m

Low

2,232' 680 m

Up

2,189' 667 m

Down

9%

Avg Grade (5°)

37%

Max Grade (20°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · Commonly Backpacked · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Spring · Swimming · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Family Friendly A manageable loop with majestic views of Sturtevant Falls and views of the canyon below.

An Adventure Pass is required to park.

Overview

Shaded Riparian forests with a 50-foot waterfall that gently winds up and over the canopy for expansive chaparral and mountain views.

Need to Know

Sturtevant Falls is worth the short out-and-back on a spur trail. This 50-foot waterfall gushes in heavy winter rains. THIS TRAIL AND THE PARKING GETS VERY CROWDED ON WEEKENDS.

The upper portion of this trail is somewhat exposed. Bring appropriate sun protection.

Description

This is a great hike, also called the Santa Anita Loop. It can be broken into shorter loops for small kids or extended into a serious day hike to Mt. Wilson.

Hike down the paved road to the bridge junction and keep right to the Gabrielino Trail (NRT) 11W14. Follow the creek a mile or so until you come to the next junction. Keep right for a short out-and-back to Sturtevant Falls.

Head back the way you came for about a quarter mile and take the Gabrielino Trail (NRT) 11W14 to the right. This takes you above the falls for a look down below. Continue on past the Cascade Picnic Area and Spruce Grove Campground. Turn left at the signed trail junction and take the Sturtevant Trail #11W16 towards Sturtevant Camp.

Across from Sturtevant Camp, off to the left, is a junction with the slightly hidden Zion Trail #11W17. From here you can continue on Sturtevant Trail #11W16 which will take you to Mt. Wilson in 3 miles. This particular loop takes you about a mile up the Zion Trail #11W17 where you keep left to the Mount Zion Summit Spur. Take in the views and double back.

Continue left on Zion Trail #11W17 which drops down to Winter Creek and a junction with the Lower Winter Creek Trail #11W15. It is the same distance back to Chantry Flat either way from here. Turning left takes you down the canyon but you have to climb that dreadful paved road back UP to the parking lot. Turn right and you soon reach a junction with the Upper Winter Creek Trail #11W23. Keep left and this takes you back to the parking lot.

Flora & Fauna

Bay, oak, maple and alder trees provide ample shade in canyon bottoms and north facing slopes. Watch for rare madrone trees on the Upper Winter Creek Trail #11W23. Monkey flowers usually prolific on sunny slopes in June. Deer and sometimes bear can be spotted early or late in the day. Watch for abundant poison oak.

History & Background

Along this trail are a few remaining cabins from the early 1900's. At one time, this area of the San Gabriel Mountains was a vacation hot spot until storms in the 1930's destroyed most of the buildings. These cabins are private. Please do not trespass.

Contacts

Shared By:

Ryan W with improvements by Alan Coles and 1 other

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 11 votes

#1003

Overall
  4.5 from 11 votes
5 Star
55%
4 Star
45%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#158

in California

#1,003

Overall
81 Views Last Month
3,089 Since Sep 10, 2018
Intermediate/Difficult

9%
0%
27%
18%
45%
0%

Photos

Light at the end of the tunnel.
Mar 13, 2019 near Sierra…, CA
Sturtevant Falls Trail.
Nov 9, 2015 near Sierra…, CA
Looking towards Sturtevant Falls.
Oct 13, 2016 near Sierra…, CA
Sturtevant Falls with just a trickle of water
Jul 29, 2018 near Sierra…, CA
The Santa Anita Wash after some much needed rain.
Mar 13, 2019 near Sierra…, CA
Sturtevant Falls
Nov 24, 2015 near Sierra…, CA

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
Bad / Closed 31 days ago See History
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

May 28, 2020
Steve N Phan Smiley
9.9mi
May 22, 2020
Brian K
May 18, 2020
Ali Catsron
Feb 17, 2020
Melissa Stern
Did this with Suz and Elise. Great hike, a few spots with narrow trail (Zion trail). Asphalt hill at end was tough. Parking was tough. Overall great!
Jan 8, 2020
Octavian Petrescu
May 4, 2019
Adrian Adrian
Starting off by the bathrooms. 9.3mi — 12h 38m
May 4, 2019
Robert Fowler
9.3mi
Apr 19, 2019
Laurie Laurie
6h 00m