From rail to trail: taking the Gold Line to commune with nature

ICYMI: the new pilot shuttle service connecting the Gold Line Arcadia Station and Chantry Flat began this past weekend! I was pretty excited about it because one of the main reasons I rarely go hiking — other than my general animosity toward dirt and sun exposure — is because parking is often a total bear. With the shuttle, I wouldn’t have to worry about (or pay for) parking, so I figured I’d give it a go.

Some basic info about the free Chantry Shuttle: service runs Saturdays and Sundays from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., with shuttles leaving approximately every 30 to 45 minutes. The shuttle stop at Arcadia Station is near the REI store. Once you exit the station walk about a minute west (right) on Santa Clara Street. The pick up/drop off location at Chantry Flat is right in front of the Adams’ Pack Station. Service animals are allowed on board. At this time, the shuttles are not equipped to accommodate bicycles but if the service continues it will be addressed in the Forest Service‘s transportation plan.

So, now that we know how it works, how did it work for me? I arrived at Arcadia Station around 8 a.m. and the shuttle departed soon after. Coincidentally, I took the shuttle with some nice hikers who had also arrived via Gold Line. They had also used the Gold Line to get to Fish Canyon Falls back when that test shuttle was in service (and before that trail was damaged badly in a wildfire). Dedicated transit hikers!

The ride up the mountains took about 15 minutes, and once there I said nope to sunshine and heat and went back down the mountain. Haha, just kidding! I was already there, so despite the rising temperature I decided to make the hike to Sturtevant Falls. It was a little bit sad to see how dry the trail is these days — the last time I’d visited was years and years ago, and I distinctly remember splashing across Santa Anita Creek and getting to relax by an actual waterfall at trail’s end. Thanks a lot, summer + drought!

A photo posted by 安nna (@annanotation) on

On my return trip the shuttle was packed, which was great to see! I think the service should prove popular for larger hiking groups as it means you won’t have to take multiple cars up the mountain and then pay for all those Adventure Parking Passes while attempting to find parking in the tiny, tiny lot. I also hope it proves popular for those who want to reduce their environmental footprint — fewer cars on the mountain means better air quality during hikes, right?

For those of you who expressed concerns about the shuttle frequency, I don’t think it’s an issue at this time. If you miss the shuttle, you can easily pass the time at the REI store near Arcadia Station or at the Adams’ Pack Station at Chantry Flat. Or just spend some time chatting with the very nice Forest Service rangers. 

The pilot service runs for two more weekends: Oct. 1-2 and Oct. 8-9. Please give it a try, as the only way the Chantry Shuttle can continue to run is if people ride it. If you do ride it, let me know about your trip! 

A photo posted by Metro (@metrolosangeles) on

6 replies

  1. Two thumbs up!!!! Thank you for giving access to the forest. We appreciate it: suggestion, pls have the first bus leave earlier than seven. It heats up quick after 10am. We are going again this weekend.

    Metro might want to think of other local attractions to partner with which are just out of reach to those without a car..

    Again thanks.

    • Hi Scott,

      Great to hear you’re using the shuttle! Metro is not operating the shuttle, however, so I would suggest also passing on feedback to the Forest Services rangers. They have staff out there each weekend and are more than happy to hear about your experience, which they can use as they continue to develop their transportation plan.

      Thank you!

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

  2. Definitely need this shuttle in the spring. And the shuttle needs a schedule, because “every 30-45 minutes” is basically useless if you need to meet up with another group or want to know when to leave to get to your evening plans.

    • Hi,

      Good point about the schedule, and I encourage you to contact Forest Services with feedback so they can incorporate into their transportation plan! The more feedback they receive, the more likely they would be able to continue the service.

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

  3. I wanted to try out the shuttle service, but not in this heat wave. How about getting them to extend the service into the cooler temps of later oct-nov.