Balancing Act

Hike: Big Santa Anita Canyon in Sierra Madre, CA

February 20th calls for an excellent hiking atmosphere. Moderate level of rain pounded parts of Southern California the night prior, priming any wooded trail with the perfect condition for hikers, bikers and photographers alike.

You need an Adventure Pass to park here, or if the lot is full, you can pay $10.00 and park at the nearby Packing Station. The trails and parking situation is more welcoming during a weekday trek. Weekends tend to be very busy and the Chantry Flats lot fill up really quick.

The trail head begins at Chantry Flat, an area in the Sierra Madre mountains located approximately 7 miles north of the Santa Anita Avenue exit off the 210-E in Arcadia.  The trail to Sturtevant's Falls is approximately 2 miles, trekking through a well maintained and partially paved path. Log cabins operated by Sturtevant's Camps litters the wooded trail along the way. These cabins are available for rent, if you don't mind hiking the trail to get to them.

While the area is known to be populated by bears and mountain lions, they tend to stay away from the open trails due to human traffic. The chances of spotting one is pretty slim. Rattlesnakes are known to inhabit the wooded areas as well. If you intend to hike Big Santa Anita Canyon, keep in mind that these animals are present even though they may not make themselves readily available. Another thing to watch out for is poison oak. The trail is littered with them!

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