Historical Rides – Santa Clarita

Lang Station to Saugus Station

Mileage: 15 miles

Roads: Paved, some paved bike trails

Start: Approx 1/4 mile east of the 14 Freeway on Soledad Canyon Road at Lang Station Road.

Special Note: Saugus Station is only open on weekends from 12pm to 4pm.

The ride starts at the Lang Station site in eastern Canyon Country and follows Soledad Canyon Road to San Fernando Road in Newhall. Zero your odometer at the intersection of Lang Station Road and Soledad Canyon Road.

Lang Station was built in 1876 and was located very near here. It was torn down by Southern Pacific in 1971. Also near here was the driving of the golden spike on September 5, 1876. This was the first north to south rail connection in California. Continuing west on Soledad Canyon Road you pass under the 14 freeway. This freeway was completed through here in 1963. Since there is not much to see for the next 3-4 miles, I will take the time to tell you about the geology of the area you are riding in. The rocks that form the large outcroppings around here are composed of the Mint Canyon Formation. It is about 25 million years old from the Miocene Epoch. These rocks are from an ancient lake and delta.

At Lost Canyon Road, turn left and go under the freeway. Enter the bike trail at this point. The hills visible to the south, some of which have been recently graded for more houses, are of the Castaic and Modelo Formations. Some whale and dolphin fossils can be readily found there. Shells are more common along the slopes there, however. At the stop sign on the trail, continue west over the Mint Canyon Creek bridge and continue along the trail until you reach Soledad Canyon Road again. Next to the river here there was once an airport. It was called the Camp Plenty Airport and was used for training during WWII. The airport was closed down sometime in the 50’s. The houses that now sit here were constructed in the mid 60’s.

Continuing on the trail for about 2 miles, you pass over the Los Angeles Aqueduct. It was built in 1913 and this pipe was damaged both in the 1971 and 1994 earthquakes. Luckily, the damage was only minor leaking in 1994 but it had to be rerouted somewhat after the 1971 quake. The aqueduct system has no pumps at all, it is a gravity system. The water is able to make it up the hills and mountains through siphons and a lot of water pressure.

At about 9.5 miles, you reach Saugus Speedway. This has been a racetrack since the early 60’s. Before that it was called Bonelli Stadium. It was a rodeo stadium. The buildings just west of the speedway are stables for the old stadium. Unfortunately, the speedway is no longer used. Only the famous Sunday Saugus Swap Meet still meets here. As you continue west on the trail, you can begin to see Saugus. Saugus, named after a town in Massachusetts, was founded in 1888.

At Bouquet Junction, exit the bike trail on the west side of the Bouquet Canyon Road bridge to continue south down San Fernando Road. Along this stretch of roadway, there is no trail, but a rare wide shoulder can be found. About a 1/2 mile south of Bouquet Junction, you come to the Saugus Cafe. It originally was located in the Saugus Train Depot which was across the street from here. Nothing remains here of that station, it was moved in 1980 to Newhall. The original town site for Newhall was located here as well in 1876. In 1878 , the town moved to a point about two miles south of here. Here also was the junction of the Santa Paula Branch of the Southern Pacific and old Ridge Route. The railroad was completed in 1888 and the road was completed through here in 1916.

As you continue south, look over to your right. That trail across the river is the South Fork Trail, a bicycle trail. About 1 mile south from Saugus Cafe, the road makes a large bend. This bend is called “Hi Chic Curve”. A small restaurant that used to be here was called Hi Chic.

Another mile further brings us to Newhall. This town was the center of this valley’s population for a very long time. As pass 13th Street, you may notice a road that goes straight as you go right. That road is Railroad Avenue. It was the original “Main Street” in Newhall. In 1910, Ridge Route was put through here and the main road was moved. The businesses moved to Spruce Street (since renamed San Fernando Road south of Lyons Avenue) when this happened. At 11th St, turn right and go one block to Spruce Street. Turn left onto Spruce Street. The American Legion is located in the old American Theater that was built in 1940 by Wm. S. Hart. The building across the street from the theater is also historical. Built in 1906, it is the first real jail in this valley. Note the bars on the windows. Go on in if they are open and see the old cells still in place. Continue south on San Fernando Road, or Chestnut St one block west, to Wm. S. Hart Park. Five blocks south, you will pass Newhall Avenue. Newhall Avenue was once a major road in this valley until it was stopped just north of 16th Street. It used to go all the way to Magic Mountain Parkway until the early 70’s.

Continue along San Fernando Road for about a 1/2 mile. Turn right at the gate to Wm. S. Hart Park. Upon entering this park, go left and continue through the next gate and go to the large yellow building on the left. This is the old Saugus Depot. If you would like to take a tour of the old building, go inside and ask for one. There is a small museum inside with artifacts from Santa Clarita’s past. The museum and Station are only open on weekends from 12pm to 4pm.

This concludes the ride. Thank you and I hope that you enjoyed the ride.

Copyright by Michael Ballard 1996-2017

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