THREE HIKES THAT FEEL LIKE BEING IN THE WILDERNESS BUT ARE ONLY 30 MINS FROM THE EAST SIDE OF LA
It's like you're in a forest because you are - the Angeles National Forest!
- •Two of these start at Chantry FlatsTake the 210-E to the Santa Anita Ave exit. Turn left and stay on Santa Anita, which will turn into Chantry Flats road. It is a very windy road. Don't drive off the side of the mountain. At the top, there is parking, bathrooms and a "pack station" that has never been open when I've been there. You technically need a $5 day pass for parking that has to be purchased at the REI down in Arcadia but I've always risked it and have never gotten a ticket. Your call.
- •Head down the paved road by the bathroomsAt first you'll be all wtf a paved road? This isn't hiking. But then you come around a curve and see only mountains and you're like ohhhh okay. It's pretty majestic and a good argument for the parks system.
- •You'll come to a (still paved) clearing. Here's where you choose one hike or the other. Let's go to Sturtevant Falls first.
- •Follow the curve of the road left. Soon you'll be on a dirt path. The hike is about 3+ miles round trip and is relatively easy. No really steep inclines. You'll also get to cross a cool bridge like this.
- •At the end, you reach a small pool and hopefully a waterfall. In the summer/during a drought it's more like a trickle.
- •Let's rewind to the paved clearing for hike #2
- •Now we're going to veer right for the trail for Hermit Falls.This hike is a bit shorter but it's a series of sometimes steep-ish switchbacks that take you down to the water. Which means the way back up is tough. But I like it better because fewer people tend to take this trail and I can sneakily take my dog off leash.
- •You have to cross a couple of streams, so you feel like a real adventurer as you balance on logs and stepping stones.
- •Then you get to Hermit Falls which is kind of deceptive because you're actually at the top of the falls, not the base. But it looks great.I promise I'm not just using this as an excuse to post photos of Tally Atwater, attorney at dog.
- •But wait! There's more!The best part of this hike is (easily) crossing this water to the trail that keeps going on the other side. It seems like it's not going anywhere but is so is.
- •You'll see the actual falls once you crossThis pic is from Feb when there was water because it had rained.
- •After another 15 or so mins of walking, you get to an old fashioned swimmin hole!Whoops. There she is again. There are nice flat rocks on which to have a picnic if you're so inclined. If you have a weird creative/freelance schedule and can come on a weekday, you'll probably have the place to yourself.
- •Hike #3 is Eaton Canyon FallsTake the 210-E again to Altadena Drive. This exit is a little wonky but you should end up turning left/heading north for a while until you see a sign on your right for Eaton Canyon Nature Center. Turn down the drive. Plenty of free parking there.
- •Head out on the flat, dirt trail that runs alongside a dry river bed. After about .5 miles there's a junction with the horse trail. Go left.
- •You'll soon see this sign that's confusingYou do want to leave Eaton Canyon and head into the forest. If you don't and go right instead, you'll find some steep climbs and nice views but no waterfall.
- •After about a mile you'll get to this bridge and another sign warning you about the condition of the trailIgnore this sign. They're just warning you that you'll be picking around rocks and water and stuff on the banks of the stream. (This hike is the easiest of the three.)
- •Then you get to some water!And if it's hot your dog will just plop herself down into it. Technically dogs should be on leashes but once people get up to the water, everyone seems to be cool with the beasts running around. Tell your beast to be cool.
- •Pick your way up on the banks of the stream to the base of the falls.I don't have a pic of my dog here. Sorry. Round trip it's about 3 easy miles.