top of page

Hike & Save Sturtevant Camp Jan. 25

UPDATED Jan. 21, 2015…A free group Hike Into History to historic Sturtevant Camp in the Angeles National Forest‘s Santa Anita Canyon about four miles above Chantry Flat has been scheduled for Sunday Jan. 25.


Update: More than 100 people have RSVP’d. Last-minute info and suggestions:

  1. Car pool, car pool, car pool!!! The gate at the bottom of the hill opens at 6 a.m. Luckily, the Sunday crowd is a later crowd and so the parking lots do not fill up until closer to 7:30 a.m. with parking down the road beginning after that. But, with this crowd, they will fill up earlier. The dirt lot at Adams’ Pack Station will open at 6:45 a.m. for this special event parking ($10). We can hold 32 cars. If you can park down the road and shuttle up that would be a great help.

  2. We will meet at the pack station by 7:30. Deb Burgess will talk a little about the fundraiser for the Camp and donations are MORE THAN WELCOME! If 250 more people give only $100 each we would make our goal. Please bring cash, checks made out to Friends of the San Gabriels, or we can take credit cards at the pack station. If you want to wait until you see what we are trying to save, we will also be taking donations up at the Camp. Remember that we have great incentives for those of you that want to and can donate at greater levels. Including hosted stays at the camp, adopting a cabin, naming a cabin, etc. Check out

  3. T-shirts for sale at $10.00.

  4. Leaders will take groups of people of 10-20 out in waves so that the trail does not get overly crowded. Also, there are different levels of hiking so we will have groups that are faster, slower, and everything in between. Burgess will lead the pack train. Anyone is welcome to walk along at donkey pace with us. Once we get to camp, we will take a tour of the camp and the cabins. We will have the makings (self-serve) for tortilla roll-ups including cheese, meats, condiments. For those of you who want to avoid gluten, we will have lettuce for the roll-ups. Also chips and bottled water. To encourage you to come back to the pack station for food and beer (or other drinks), I will hand out 10% off coupons up at the Camp.

Meanwhile, the hike will also serve as the first in this year’s revival of the Modern Hiker blog’s Go Hike L.A. project – a monthly series of group hikes in the L.A. area.

Sturtevant Camp lodge building is filled with fascinating photos and memorabilia dating back more than a century.

Sturtevant Camp lodge building is filled with fascinating photos and memorabilia dating back more than a century.

Those interested in this fairly moderate hike at their own risk will meet at the Pack Station at 7:30 a.m. (park at Chantry Flat or along the road with an Adventure Pass, or use one of the private parking spaces at Adams Pack Station for $10) and travel with a mule train loaded with light lunches and water (bring your own if you want a bigger lunch or lots of water). Upon reaching the camp, hikers will be shown inside the buildings, including the oldest existing U.S. Forest Service structure still in its original location – a beautiful hand-built cabin (circa 1903) that served as the first ranger station – and the original 1897 Swiss Dining Pavilion, which currently serves as Sturtevant Lodge.

Hikers will have the option on the return trip to break off from the group and hike any of the several other terrific trails, including a hike to Mount Zion or a lengthy and steep diversion to Mount Wilson.

Please rsvp for the hike at contact info below…

Sturtevant Camp was established in 1893 and was one of five resort camps in the Big Santa Anita Canyon (Chantry Flat area) during the great hiking era of the early 1900s. Now, a century later, it is the last remaining camp and the only place that you can rent cabins for you and a couple of friends or a really big group of 40+. It has been under the ownership of the United Methodist Church (UMC) since 1945. It has never been successfully self-supporting since that time and has relied upon UMC funds to keep it alive. From 2010 on, all camps have had to be self-supporting. The camp managers of the past 20 years, Chris Kasten and his wife Joan, were laid off and a dedicated group of individuals known as the “boot squad” has tirelessly tried to maintain the camp. But, alas, according to the owner of Adams’ Pack Station at Chantry Flat, owner Deb Burgess, without marketing and lately a lack of water, business has been dismal.

Burgess says she and her mother Sue and cabin owner and long-time canyon volunteer Brad Bryce have planned a three-pronged approach:

  1. Live at the camp and manage it for the first year or two in a non-paid capacity. This will provide for stability in operations and open the camp to weekday guests.

  2. Heavy marketing, including email and phone call campaigns to potential groups such as Scouts, So Cal hiking groups, environmental groups, equestrian groups.

  3. Schedule event-type weekends for a flat fee that includes all expenses.


Sturtevant Camp chapel

So far, bookings include a hand-quilt making weekend, Scout merit badge weekends, board game (and/or chess) weekend, live music weekend, Thanksgiving at Camp, art camp weekend, etc. They would love to hear more ideas.

The Friends are also seeking donations, suggestions, and volunteers. FGV is looking for people to act as weekend hosts (Brad will need to go home once in a while), help with maintenance projects, kitchen staff, raking leaves, overseeing some of the Scout merit badge programs, etc.

Donations to the Friends of the San Gabriels, which are tax-deductible, can be made in the following increments with the described value in return:

  1. $5,000 or more: We will name a guest cabin after you or an honoree of your choice. Plus, you have the privilege of reserving the Retreat Cottage for yourself and up to 5 friends twice a year for two years.

  2. $1,000: Adopt a cabin (you get a plaque in the cabin) and you can reserve the Retreat Cottage for yourself and up to 5 friends during 2015.

  3. $500: You can be one of many to adopt the Ranger cabin or another building and reserve the Retreat Cottage.

  4. $100: You can enter to win a full weekend in the Retreat Cottage for yourself and up to five friends. Packing included. We will draw the winner in late February.

  5. All donors above $100 will be listed on a donation wall and receive a free t-shirt. (unless you want to remain anonymous).

  6. $25 or more: We will treat you to lunch at the pack station on a music Sunday.

Please go and donate on-line. You can either use a credit card or PayPal account. If you prefer to send a check, please make it out to the Friends of the San Gabriels and mail to 46685 Orchard Drive, Miramonte, CA 93641.

Note: Although FGV has raised $17,000 so far, if they are unable to meet the goal of $55,000 by the deadline of March 2, 2015 ($25k to purchase and $30k for two years of operating capital), they will either return your donation or can leave it with Friends for future projects.

You may also help by reserving the camp for your group or activities. Please go to:

Questions? Contact:

  1. Deb Burgess – Cell: 310.488.7608 / at Pack Station: 626.447.7356 / e-mail:

  2. Brad Bryce – Cell: 626.840.8119 –

  3. Sue Burgess – Home: 559.336.2383 –

 — By Scott Hettrick

bottom of page