Escape LA – Hermit Falls

Welcome to Sixty Eight West, dedicated to inspiring outdoor adventure.

This is the beginning of a blog which requires a little audience participation.  This is a blog which requires some creativity on your end.  And if read correctly, this blog will inspire you to get outside and explore the world around you.

Eighty Six West will routinely visit a few different columns.  Based in Southern California, we’ll visit day hikes just a stones throw from the urbal sprawl of Los Angeles.  We’ll provide insightful equipment reviews, resources for planning the big backpacking excursion, and MacGyver-like camping inventions that are borderline genius.  Expect some music reviews for the dusty trail, and maybe some interviews as well.

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For our first installment of Escape LA, we’ll discuss Hermit Falls.

Santa Anita

Less than 25 minutes from Downtown Los Angeles (no traffic) sits Big Anta Anita Canyon in the hills overlooking Arcadia.  Head east toward Pasadena, and continue along the 210 to Santa Anita Blvd, exit and make a left.  Stay on Santa Anita as the road begins to climb into the canyon and park once you reach the Chantry Flats Pack Station.  Before you park, remember to buy an Adventure pass ($5), otherwise the ranger will ticket your car!

chantry falts

From the parking area, follow the asphalt utility road downhill.  After about half a mile, look for a small dirt trail with a sign labeled ‘Hermit Falls’ that breaks off from the main road.  Although it does not look like much, this trail descends deep into Santa Anita Canyon.

As you wind into the canyon, it’s easy to forget how close to Los Angeles you are.  The foliage is lush, water is plentiful, and animals are abundant.  Once you reach the bottom of the descent, you’ll find a couple cabins.

These historic landmarks were constructed between 1890 and 1920,  and are remnants from the recreation era of the San Gabriel mountains.  While many more existed at the time, these remaining cabins have eluded wildfires and flooding for nearly a century.

Today, they are privately owned and exist much as they did 100 years ago, with supplies hauled in on the backs of burros.

To reach the falls, follow the creek downstream.  As the trail crosses over the river, the trail will be ambiguous but picks up just before the first dam.  As this trail winds around another cabin and some vibrant wetlands, you can help but feel at peace.  The air is cooler this deep in the canyon, and the stream provides subtle tranquility.

After about a half a mile, you’ll come to the main swimming area.  Two natural water slides and three cliff-jump spots (20 ft, 30 ft, and 40-45 ft) provide ample opportunity to cool off from the summer heat.  Bring a couple beers and some goodies, this is a great summer hang out spot and you will not be alone.  MAKE SURE TO PACK OUT ALL OF YOUR TRASH.

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