Microwave Site Trail Run
Last update August 29, 2019

The Microwave Site trail run out of Chantry Flat is usually run on the last Wednesday of August - check the current calendar page. We call it the Microwave Site trail run because it goes up to where a microwave relay bill board reflector is mounted on the side of the hill as well as other radio communication repeaters. The dirt road we follow was built to service these repeaters. The bill board reflector can easily be seen from most of Arcadia and Monrovia. The hill it is mounted on is actually Mt. San Olean near where Santa Anita Ridge connects with Manzanita Ridge.

microwave billboard reflector shortcut ridge trail
Left: view looking down at the microwave bill board reflector with Arcadia and Monrovia below.
Right: looking back up at the reflector from the Clamshell trail showing the shortcut up the ridge and the road above.

Click on the map to download and print a pdf copy.

From the gate at the SW corner of the Chantry Flat upper parking lot, go west up the paved road and after a quarter mile, stay left at the hairpin turn passing the Upper Winter Creek trail head. When you reach the USFS Heliport, take the dirt road to the right (2N41) all the way up to the end.

Check when sunset is and subtract 17 minutes (at the end of August) as the sun will set on the adjacent ridge line earlier. Plan your start time accordingly for the 3.6 miles one way up hill - walkers typically take 1:30 (25 min/mile) and need to start at 5:30pm to make it by 7:00pm for the last Wednesday of August sunset. Runners can estimate their start time by their uphill pace: 6:15pm 12.5 min/mile, 6:00pm 16.7 min/mile, or 5:45pm 20.8 min/mile.

As an alternative, there is a steep single track short cut trail behind the shed at the Heliport that goes straight up the ridge line to the dirt road and cuts off at least a mile.

Watch the sunset atop the Starship Enterprise - actually a water collection cistern. Bring a flashlight for the return trip and picnic dinner, drinks and a folding chair for after on the annual Wednesday night run.
The Chantry Flat road gate is closed and locked by Sierra Madre PD at 8PM, so you will either have to leave the parking lot by 7:50 PM or make sure some one leaving later has a key and caravan down with them.

For the more adventurous, there is a trail continuing up the ridge from the cistern that connects with Manzanita Ridge, but is currently overgrown. At a point where the ridge intersects above the cistern there is a trail back down that meets the dirt road just up from where the heliport shortcut joins if you want to make a loop.

At the turn around, Flyers pose atop the Starship Enterprise - called that because the water cistern looks like the disc of the Star Trek space ship by some Trekkies in the club .... oh well it does take a lot of imagination. However, Sierra Madre Search and Rescue calls it the Mushroom.

You can catch a spectacular sunset If you get to the top of the road about 18 minutes (at the end of August) before the published sunset and a great view out over Los Angeles.

Sunset at the Microwave site 2
Even after a little thunder storm, the sunset view from atop the Mt. San Olean Santa Anita Ridge water cistern can be fantastic.

Microwave Ridge Trail
Taking the Ridge trail shortcut from behind the USFS Heliport up can cut a lot of time and get you to the top in time for sunset, however, it is quite steep and more of a hike. Then take your time running or jogging back down the dirt road.

You will need a flashlight for the return trip but there are some good views of the San Gabriel Valley lights below when you reach the USFS heliport.

fox 1 fox 3
A family of foxes often comes out in the early evening to scavenge any dropped food by visitors in the Chantry Flat parking lot.

Chantry Flat is all the way north into the mountains on Santa Anita Ave from Arcadia - see directions.

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