One of the many trails that begin at Chantry Flats in the San Gabriel Mountains, Hermit Falls and Sturtevant Falls are individual hikes that can be tackled independently or together in a little over 5 miles long loop. Me and my hiking partners decided to tackle the loop.
When we tackled the hike, according to my AllTrails recording, it was 5.3 miles round trip and took us a little over 4 hours total, with about 3 of those hours actually hiking.
We started with Sturtevant Falls and I will say it is by far the more popular and thus more crowded trail. There was a HUGE crowd when we reached the actual falls. Groups huddled all around attempting to take their selfies and group photos with the falls in the background. Although people were everywhere, the opening when you reach the falls is large enough and open enough that you can maneuver the crowds and find your own little space to take in the beauty of the falls. There is also a good amount of shade for you to rest and eat your lunch if you so choose.
Because the falls were so crowded and we had another waterfall to explore, we didn’t hang around too long.
The hike to Hermit Falls was slightly more challenging than the hike to Sturtevant Falls, but still fairly easy. Hermit Falls was also very crowded, but nowhere near the level of Sturtevant.
Now before I continue with my review of Hermit Falls I want to just say this is my own personal opinion of the falls and it is based on my one and only visit to them. I’ve heard great things about Hermit Falls from multiple people. I just don’t agree.
I did not like Hermit Falls at all. It was crowded, although not to the degree of Sturtevant, but with a different type of crowd. There were a lot of teenagers and college age students. Now I’m not judging this age group, I’m barely out of this group myself, but with this particular crowd came lots of trash and drug use out in the open. There was a group of about five guys openly smoking something (I can say with certainty that it was something illegal, I would be able to recognize marijuana or cigarettes). There was also graffiti everywhere. Not one rock along the falls was left untouched. It was really quite sad to see.
Overall I will say I may visit Sturtevant Falls again, but it is highly unlikely I’ll try Hermit Falls again.
*This post outlines my personal experiences and opinions on this hike. I am not a professional or expert, nor do I have any formal hiking or survival training. Please hike and explore at your own risk.