Hiking Motivation! Join the 52 Hike Challenge!

Mt Zion Loop Featured
play video
Los Angeles Hikes

Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat

  • 9 miles - Hard Effort
  • 4-5 Hours (Total)
  • 2,740 Total Feet of Climbing
  • Max Elevation of 3,575 feet
  • Leashed Dogs Allowed

The Mt Zion loop hike is a great option for those that have hiked from Chantry Flat before, maybe to Mt Wilson, but want something a little more off the beaten path. On this loop, I'll take you on the Upper Gabrielino Trail, then on the historic Mt Zion Trail, built in 1896 and once the main trail into the area, then up to Mt Zion for panoramic views, and finally back to the start on the Upper Winter Creek Trail. And while there might be crowds on the nearby trails, this loop route on Angeles National Forest's secondary trails offers peace and tranquility.

In this Guide:
  • Video & Turn by Turn Directions
  • How to Get to the Mt Zion Trailhead
  • Everything You Need to Know To Prepare for the Hike

The Mt Zion loop hike is a great option for those that have hiked from Chantry Flat before, maybe to Mt Wilson, but want something a little more off the beaten path. On this loop, I'll take you on the Upper Gabrielino Trail, then on the historic Mt Zion Trail, built in 1896 and once the main trail into the area, then up to Mt Zion for panoramic views, and finally back to the start on the Upper Winter Creek Trail. And while there might be crowds on the nearby trails, this loop route on Angeles National Forest's secondary trails offers peace and tranquility.

How to Get to the Trailhead

This hike starts at the popular Chantry Flat Picnic Area. There are popular waterfalls nearby and the parking can get crazy. Do yourself a favor and get here at sunrise. The gate to Chantry Flat opens at 6am but sometimes is open earlier. Use this trailhead address:
Chantry Flat Recreation Area, Chantry Flats Rd, Arcadia, CA 91006

You need a parks pass or Adventure Pass to park here, even if you are parking in the street overflow.

Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 2
You've probably been to Chantry Flat before if you're doing this hike. Come early and avoid the crowds. There are primitive toilets here.
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 47
If the lot is full you can park on the street. Just not like this guy in the no-parking zone.

Gear for the Hike

This is longer hike in the backcountry, so you're best served by using proper hiking gear. There are some stream hops and climbs, so proper footwear and trekking poles are handy. In the summer the bugs can be intense. This route is also generally snow-free (since it's at a lower elevation).

Gear That I Love Right Now

Nothing is sponsored or promoted, just the actual gear that I use.


Gear Inreach Mini 2
Garmin InReach Mini 2If you are out of cellphone range the Mini 2 will reliably allow you to hit SOS via satellite. You can also send non-emergency texts to just say that you're late, let friends and family follow along, and check the weather. You can see my review here.
Gear Topo Pursuit
Topo Pursuit 2The wide toe box means no blisters, an aggressive tread is great on the trail, it dries very quickly, and it has lots of cushion for long days. It combines everything I love about every other shoe into one.
Gear Epix Pro Up Ahead
Garmin Epix ProThese watches are pricey, but I use them 24/7 for sleep tracking, workouts, heart rate, and tracking my hike. It has preloaded hiking maps that help me navigate the trails and is a backup to my smartphone navigation. The Epix Pro has a great battery life, a screen similar to an Apple Watch Ultra, and works in harsh conditions when just using the buttons. See my review here.
Hikelite 26 Gear
Osprey Hikelite 26This updated version of the Hikelite 26 offers incredible value for the money. It's got a wide trampoline back, so your back doesn't get sweaty. It's under 2lbs, has deep side pockets, and is a great balance of what you need without what you don't.

Check out the complete list here. ( Updated June 2024)

Mt Zion Loop Trail Maps

I've purposely routed this hike on some of the lesser-used trails in the area to give you a different experience. The first section on the Upper Gabrielino Trail offers some views of Mt Zion and distance from the crowds of people at the falls. And coming back, you'll take the Upper Winter Creek Trail, which winds along a ridge, high above the lower trail and campsites.

Click Here To View

Use This Map:
View in CalTopo | PDF Map | GPX File

Mt Zion Loop Hike Directions

Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 3
Hike down through the gate at the beginning of Chantry Flat.
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 4
We're heading to Sturtevant Camp in 4.3 miles, and then up to Mt Zion.
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 1
Keep heading to the bottom of the paved road, passing the trail to Hermit Falls.
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 5
At the bottom of the hill, head to the right and over the bridge.
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 6
Once over the bridge, make the right through the big intersection. If you need to go to the bathroom, there's one here.
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 7
Head up the Gabrielino Trail from the intersection.
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 8
Leave the crowds behind and hike up the Gabrielino.
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 9
You'll hike through the area with all the cabins.
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 10
Make the hard left at the first junction (going straight heads to the falls).
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 12
Okay, make the hard left to head on the Upper Gabrielino Trail.
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 13
The trail climbs about 400 feet in a half mile and is manageable.
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 14
As the trail winds around the ridge you'll get some views of Mt Zion.
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 15
The trail has some level sections and is easy to follow.
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 16
At around 2.4 miles in you'll rejoin the lower trail at the Falling Sign Junction. Go straight.
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 17
Here's a closeup of the sign at Falling Sign Junction, which should be familiar if you've done the hike to Mt Wilson from Chantry Flat.
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 18
The Gabrielino Trail continues uphill through the shaded Angeles National Forest.
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 19
Hike through the Cascade Picnic Area.
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 48
If you're wondering about these dams that you see all through this section of Angeles National Forest, here's the deal. In 1954, the government laid out a program to protect the property and watershed (which served LA) here. They set up a series of check dams to ease flash flooding but also to help fight fires. In subsequent floods many of the dams blew out. That, combined with new schools of thought about fire and flood prevention, led to the abandonment of the project. Chris Kasten has an interesting article on the check dams here.
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 20
Cross over the creek and keep heading up the trail.
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 21
Hike through the Spruce Grove campsite.
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 22
After Spurce Grove you'll leave the Gabrielino Trail by heading to the left.
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 23
Here's a closeup of the sign at that junction. We're heading up the Sturtevant to the Mt Zion trail in 1/8th of a mile.
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 24
Just past the last junction, make the left before the Sturtevant Camp sign. You can also go straight through the camp and then join the trail later if you like.
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 25
Head up the trail across the stream from Sturtevant Camp.
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 26
And here's the important trail junction for Mt Zion. Look for the trail to the right up to Mt Zion.
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 27
Here's the sign at the Upper Zion Trail junction. We're going to Mt Zion summit and then onto (upper) Winter Creek.
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 28
While not a majorly popular trail, it's still often well maintained. There might be a downed tree or branch, but they are generally cleared rather quickly.

This path was the original trail from Chantry Flat to Sturtevant Camp, built by Wilbur Sturtevant in 1896, allegedly by following the path that a bear took over the mountain to get to the camp. In the fire and subsequent landslides of 1953, most of the trail was destroyed. It was rebuilt by volunteers and reopened in 1985.

Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 29
The trail climbs for a good portion, but it's not a huge mountain grind. You've done most of the climbing already.
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 30
When you get to the junction with the trail history display, make the left to head up the spur trail to the Mt Zion summit.
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 31
The trail to the summit can get a little narrow and overgrown, but it's there.
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 32
When you reach the clearing, you're at the summit! It's not a high peak but it does have about 100 feet of prominence above the surrounding terrain.
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 33
To the east you can see as far as Mt Waterman and Twin Peaks.
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 34
And to the west you'll see Mt Harvard and Mt Wilson

When you're done at the summit, head back to the spur junction.

Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 35
At the spur, make the left and start heading back to the start on the loop at Chantry Flat.
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 36
The trail winds downhill as you lose about 1000 feet in a mile.
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 37
The views into Santa Anita Canyon are great.
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 38
When you reach the junction by Hogees Camp, make the right.
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 39
After a short uphill stretch you'll reach the junction with the Upper Winter Creek Trail, which might look familiar if you've come down from Mt Wilson toward Chantry Flat in the past. Go straight onto the Upper Winter Creek Trail.
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 40
Here's the sign at the trail junction. We're heading back to Chantry Flat, about 3 miles ahead.
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 41
At the beginning of the Upper Winter Creek Trail, there is some uphill hiking.
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 42
But soon the trail levels off (with some small ups and downs) and winds along the ridge above the canyon.
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 43
Soon you'll hear the screams and Bluetooth speakers at Chantry Flat, which will come into view from the trail when you reach the end.
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 44
The Upper Winter Creek Trail ends at the road. Go straight downhill.
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 45
And look for this little side trail downhill. You can follow the winding road or cut straight down the trail back to the picnic area and parking lot.
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat 46
When you reach the fence, hop over and head straight down to the parking lot to end the hike.

Need More Info?

  • Have a question about the guide or want to see what other people are saying/asking? View the Youtube comments for this video. Leave a comment and I will do my best to respond.
  • When planning, always check the park website and social media to make sure the trails are open. Similarly, check the weather and road conditions.

This Guide Was Written by Cris Hazzard

Cris Hazzard 4 Mile Trail Yosemite
Hi, I'm Cris Hazzard, aka Hiking Guy, a professional outdoors guide, hiking expert, and author based in Southern California. I created this website to share all the great hikes I do with everyone else out there. This site is different because it gives detailed directions that even the beginning hiker can follow. I also share what hiking gear works and doesn't so you don't waste money. I don't do sponsored or promoted content; I share only the gear recommendations, hikes, and tips that I would with my family and friends. If you like the website and YouTube channel, please support these free guides (I couldn't do it without folks like you!). You can stay up to date with my new guides by following me on YouTube, Instagram, or by subscribing to my monthly newsletter.