The rule everybody should abide by is you cannot get enough of the San Gabriel Mountains and every nook and cranny should be explored.
Chantry Flats may not be on many people’s bucket lists because it doesn’t have an extensive length, but it’s definitely a climb that should be on every Angeleno’s vernacular.
Nestled into the hills about halfway between GMR and the Angeles Crest Highway climbs, Chantry Flats is one of the more rustic ways to enter the mountains.
The ride coming up seems long and monotonous.
Following the western side of Santa Anita Canyon, there’s plenty of history in the area including Sturtevant Camp which was established in 1893.
It’s a very popular area for people to go hiking and I remember how crowded the trails were back when I was a runner.
Getting there always seems to be a bit of a hurdle as no matter which direction you take to get there, you’re going to have to do a bit of climbing to reach the gate.
Part of the road was washed out from the rain.
Once you pass into the grounds, it is a 3.3 mile ride averaging 6.5% up to the parking area where the paved road pretty much ends.
The start isn’t that welcoming as it’s one of the steeper portions going up.
Unlike the many other significant paved climbs in the area, the road snakes up the hill way more than others meaning cars can’t exactly sneak up on you.
You feel on the edge early on.
Thank you engineers from days of yore.
At the same time, this is only a two lane road with limited shoulders.
During this ride, part of the road was washed out which was actually a condition that probably wasn’t aided with the rain coming down.
This guy is better equipped than me to handle the conditions.
I happened to be riding up on my heavy gravel bike which even on the steeper portions allowed me to keep a good spinning speed.
Even in these poor conditions, there were a number of mountain bikers speeding down pretty well dressed to handle things.
I don’t know if these riders were from those shuttles you see up on the ‘Crest, but those vans I see up there make a lot of sense.
It’s a pleasure to ride along the edge.
As the curves get less tight, you start to see the canyon form below which eventually leads to the Santa Anita Dam.
The good news is that you’re halfway done and the climb backs off to a far more “pedestrian” 6% – 7% for most of the way.
As you advance, the side of the road gets more filled with cars and hikers getting ready to access the trails meaning you don’t have to worry about drivers speeding by, but more people popping out.
Glad to have this status.
You’ll also notice along the way sections of stone wall which is another feature you don’t regularly see on modern roads.
Even as you near the end, you don’t escape the feel that you’re in a canyon.
You’ll have to do some off-roading to change that as there are trails that lead you up the mountain.
These mountain bikers were taking refuge.
As you see the main parking lot area coming up, you’ll see the bathrooms and water fountain on your right which leads you to the Winter Creek and Sturtevant Trails.
Since you’ve gone this far, you should head up to the Adams Pack Station by continuing through the parking and through a little dirt.
It’s raining hard, but dammit! I’m going to get that last shot!
It’s a spot where campers can buy goods and other sundries to survive the wilderness, as well as some adult beverages too.
Chantry Flats is a great climb that’s fine to handle under any conditions.
Just make sure to keep your camera dry if you plan to take shots…