Sturtevant Falls at its Peak


Posted on March 12, 2012 – Written by Chris Kasten
Sturtevant Falls and Hermit Falls are quite likely flowing at their maximum for the next couple of months.  The trailhead, which starts at Chantry Flats, is one of the busiest on the Angeles National Forest.  So, get to the canyon early, say before 7:00 a.m or later in the day when hikers are heading back down the mountain.  This last winter has been dramatically drier than the previous two winters.  However, it’s amazing just how much water this mountain aquifer is capable of holding in reserve.  Big Santa Anita Canyon’s highest headwaters, just below Mt. Wilson and Monrovia Peak, at times can be places with snow pack that lasts for weeks.  While the snow percolates back into the mountain slowly and with minimal erosion, rainstorms can come in fast and furious.  After a week or more of substantial rainfall, stream levels can rise quickly and dramatically.  While much of the run-off leaves the canyon for the San Gabriel Valley and eventually the Pacific Ocean, water also perks down deeply into the fractured geology.  Slopes are saturated with the rains and snows, essentially filling countless underground pools and fractures.   Eventually the water is slowly released to the canyon walls and streambeds  months and perhaps years later.   The chilly water you’re touching hasn’t seen the light of day in quite awhile!  The San Gabriel mountains are a valuable repository of water for our future.   The Trails of Big Santa Anita Canyon map is an excellent guide for your trip to Sturtevant and Hermit Falls.  Pick one up at the Adams Pack Station or online at