Adventure Pass required to park at Chantry Flat. Lot fills early on weekends. Top section of trail can be dangerous if there is ice or snow on trail.
This trail starts at the junction with the Gabrielino Trail (NRT) 11W14
0.1 miles west (upstream) from Spruce Grove Trail Camp. It shortly crosses the stream and goes around the historic Sturtevant Camp, one of the last surviving backcountry lodges in the range. There is a junction with the Zion Trail #11W17
going left (south) that connects with the Lower Winter Creek Trail #11W15
The trail continues along the stream as the canyon widens, and then begins a steep climb through an impressive forest of oaks and bigcone spruce. It is not uncommon to see deer on this remote section. The trail turns away from the stream and begins a series of long steep switchbacks which occasionally come out of the forest into open chaparral of ceanothus and manzanita. On clear days, there are nice views of the Los Angeles Basin. The switchbacks shorten near the summit and the trail comes to a junction near the top. The right fork leads to an impressive view point in about 100 ft. The left fork follows a fence, and the trail ends at a road near the 100" telescope.
Turn left on the road and go west. There is a museum and, further west, a pavilion that houses the Cosmic Cafe (hours vary by season). There are restrooms and water, subject to local conditions. It is possible to make a loop hike with the Mt. Wilson Trail #11W22
and Winter Creek Trail #11W20
if returning to Chantry Flat.
Thanks to John McKinney, The Trailmaster, for sharing this trail description. To learn more about trails in California, check out his guides at The Trailmaster Store
One of the most impressive groves of bigcone spruce. Oaks, bay, alders provide good shape and maples turn bright colors in fall. Look for rare madrone trees near Spruce Grove Camp. Birds, rabbit, and deer are commonly spotted. Watch for and avoid poison oak.