Santa Clarita Area Hiking

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Park Trails:

Placerita Canyon State Park-

  • Manzanita Trail -difficult, long, dry, but picturesque trail. This trail begins near the Placerita Nature Center and goes up to the Los Pinetos Trail. Once on the Los Pinetos Trail you can go left to Walker Ranch or father along the trail to Camp 9 in Bear Divide. You could also make a right turn on Los Pinetos and hike to Whitney Canyon, or into the San Fernando Valley through Wilson Canyon.
  • Walker Ranch Trail -This is a trail head, and a very short trot down the hill which meets up with Placerita’s Canyon Trail, the Waterfall Trail, and Los Pinetos.
  • Waterfall Trail -This is a short, pleasant, moist trail with running water and a small waterfall. The water is seasonal, but usually runs about 8 months of the year. There are bugs on this trail, so repellant would be advised. This is 1 mile round trip from the trail-head.
  • Los Pinetos Trail – This is a very well maintained fire road that actually runs from Camp 9 in Bear Divide all the way to Sierra Highway, although the Sierra Highway Gate is always locked. You can enter this trail from Camp 9, from Placerita Canyon off the Walker Ranch Trailhead, from the Manzanita Trail, and from Whitney Canyon.

Towsley Canyon Park-

  • Towsley/Wiley Canyon Trail -A very well maintained loop with altitude gain. The initial part of the trail is a paved road. Once you pass a new culvert, the road will become dirt, and the scenery is much more interesting. The narrows is breath-taking, and usually has running water in it. The narrows is usually cooler and shady with high rock walls. Watch for occasional falling rocks. After the narrows, the climb begins, and there are numerous switchbacks. Once you are beyond the switchbacks, the trail traverses the ridge and you enter Wiley Canyon to complete the loop. The entire loop is 6.1 Miles. There are interesting Oil Seeps and old oil well sites along the way.
  • Wiley Canyon Trail -See above (Do the loop in reverse)
  • Towsley-Pico Trail -This trail is not established and not open to the public as it must cross private land, and permission has not been granted.

East and Rice Canyon-
(not a part of Towsley Canyon, but also maintained by the MRCA)

  • Rice Canyon Trail -This is a great hike for beginners. It branches off of East Canyon and makes several Stream crossings. There are meadows of Spring Flowers, lots of butterflies, and very quiet. It is a short trail which ends at a large Oak tree, overlooking the Santa Clarita valley.
  • East Canyon Trail -This is a fire road which is basically straight up for several miles. Once at the top you can turn left to go to Weldon Canyon or go straight ahead to go to O’Melveny Park in the San Fernando Valley.
  • Weldon Canyon-Weldon Canyon is a moderate to difficult hike because it is uphill all the way to the crest. Once you make the crest you can turn right to go to East Canyon. Once you are at East Canyon you can go down East to make a loop, or proceed to O’Melveny Park, as above.

Other local trails and hiking areas –

  • Santa Clara River – This is a paved path which is fine for a short walk and bikes, but is not what I would consider a hiking trail.
  • Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail -Part of this trail goes through Vasquez Rocks. It is easy to find and fun to attempt part of this trail from Vasquez. Of course, the trail runs from Mexico to Canada, so your hike can be as short or long as you choose. It is hot and dry in the Vasquez area, so be prepared with lots of water.
  • Vasquez Rocks State Park -There are several trails within this park, including a trail to Escondido Canyon, one through Vasquez Rocks with numerous points of interest marked, and the Pacific Crest Trail. It is prettiest in the spring with the wildflowers, but the slanted rocks offer wonderful photos year-round.
  • Whitney Canyon-There are two options for hiking here. There is a trail on the right side, going up the hill from the park and ride. This is called “The Beast. The Beast is an uphill trek to Los Pinetos Trail, which you can take all the way to Wilson Canyon in the San Fernando Valley, or to Placerita and on to Camp 9 as described in the Placerita  trails descriptions. OR, you can hike on a fairly flat trail through Whitney Canyon to the sulphur spring, and then on to the waterfall trail, where there are a series of small waterfalls, which run most of the year. The trail to the waterfall is currently being improved.
  • Elsmere Canyon – Updates coming… Canyon is open to the public, but not the lower section, below the power lines.

Links to other Cycling and Hiking sites

Hiking sites by SCOPE

Trail Information Courtesy of Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel.

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