This is the California that pioneers and prospectors first saw: A lush canyon bisected by waterways and shaded by a canopy of trees. With a scattering of remote cabins and a thriving pack-mule service, the Angeles National Forest still retains some of the flavor of those early days. After parking at the Chantry Flat lot, start off on the Gabrielino Trail. You’ll descend into Big Santa Anita Canyon, which was a prime destination in the storied Great Hiking Era (1890s-1930s), when John Muir was a popular hero and the National Park Service was established. Roberts’ Camp, where the trail will veer towards Sturtevant Falls, was a trail resort in that period and the small cabins that you see were all built prior to WWII. They remain privately owned, linked by a six-mile-long crank-phone system and accessible only by pack mule or foot. You’ll know that you’re getting close to the falls when the stream crossings begin—soon after is the magnificent, 50-foot Sturtevant Falls, which cascades into a circular pool ringed by giant rocks. This is an in-and-out 3.7-mile hike, so keep in mind that you’ll have to do a fairly steep, unshaded climb out of the canyon and back to the parking lot.
Recommended: See more Top hiking trails in LA with waterfalls