Diving into Big Santa Anita Canyon on a 6-mile descent, runners officially enter the Front Country of the San Gabriels, famous for steep canyons, long climbs, lush pockets of green, and all-too-convenient trail access for millions of people. The great hiking revolution of the 1920’s and 30’s built many of these trails, leaving the crumbling remnants of wilderness resort hotels seen along the trail.
Runners access this descent after a 0.5-mile Southwest traverse from the helipad near the aid station. Arriving at a picnic table and the Newcomb Pass signpost, it’s a left-hand turn down a narrow single track towards the historic and still-active Sturdevant Camp. This trail is steep and somewhat technical and is definitely harder to travel in the dark. 2.6 PAS, runners turn left at the signpost towards Chantry Flat, criss-crossing the stream. 1.4 miles later, at the Upper and Lower Falls trail Junction, runners keep right on the Upper Falls trail. 5.1 Miles PAS, the single track ends, and runners turn right on a wide trail headed towards Chantry Flat. Crossing a bridge 0.8 miles later, runners head up a paved road for a 0.6 mile, 350’ climb to the Chantry Flat Aid Station – mile 75.4, elevation 2,140’.