Scenic Drives – San Francisquito Canyon Road

San Francisquito Canyon Road

This road runs north-south from Saugus in Santa Clarita to Leona Valley. It is a scenic and somewhat faster route than Bouquet Canyon to the Leona Valley area. San Francisquito Canyon has been home to many things – the Harey Carey Trading Post and numerous horse ranches. The canyon was also a part of the original wagon road between Northern and Southern California. At the time, the summit was known as Turner’s Pass.

The St Francis Dam, also originally in this canyon, collapsed shortly before midnight on March 12, 1928. Over 500 people died as a result of the ensuing flood.

Lower section, south of the National Forest boundary.
Lower section, south of the National Forest boundary.
Canyon below Powerhouse #2
Canyon below Powerhouse #2
Bridge in the narrow section (now bypassed) of the canyon. Built in 1944.
Bridge in the narrow section (now bypassed) of the canyon. Built in 1944.
Photo of the St. Francis Dam just before it collapsed.
Photo of the St. Francis Dam just before it collapsed.
Side view of the dam. Note the lack of any real spillways in the dam. Water was about one foot below the rim of the dam the day of the collapse.
Side view of the dam. Note the lack of any real spillways in the dam. Water was about one foot below the rim of the dam the day of the collapse.
A section of the dam a few hundred feet downstream of the former site.
A section of the dam a few hundred feet downstream of the former site.
Los Angeles County realigned most of the upper part of San Francisquito Canyon Road but ran out of funding to complete a bypass of the narrowest and curviest segment. That segment also happens to pass by the remains of the St. Francis Dam. This section is now in use. The former section, heavily damaged by storms in January 2005, is closed off to vehicular use.
Los Angeles County realigned most of the upper part of San Francisquito Canyon Road but ran out of funding to complete a bypass of the narrowest and curviest segment. That segment also happens to pass by the remains of the St. Francis Dam. This section is now in use. The former section, heavily damaged by storms in January 2005, is closed off to vehicular use.
New section of roadway, old alignment is curving to the left at the bottom of the photo.
New section of roadway, old alignment is curving to the left at the bottom of the photo.
Slide along the roadway. This road has many of these and have plagued the road department since its construction.
Slide along the roadway. This road has many of these and have plagued the road department since its construction.
Segment of the road in Green Valley. Many oak trees adorn the sides of the road here.
Segment of the road in Green Valley. Many oak trees adorn the sides of the road here.
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