If you’re new to the Santa Clarita Valley (SCV), or a residing SCV outdoor enthusiast you’re going to want to explore some of the 100+ miles of natural hiking beauty surrounding Santa Clarita Valley. All trails are well maintained, and many of them offer incredible views. Here are 3 hiking parks\trails that are a must visit, so let go take a hike!
Mentryville Park – Pico Canyon Trail
We begin our hiking tour with Mentryville Park. You’ll immediately sense when you enter the park this once thriving town has some historical meaning. Mentryville Park is a historical landmark. Once upon a time, Mentryville was a booming oil town with the first strike occurring on September 26, 1876, and continued until 1990. One noticeable feature is the town’s schoolhouse, which was built in 1885. There were approximately a little over 100 families living here at one time. Mentryville was named after its driller who help founded this town, and who was the superintendent of the oil company that later became Chevron. His name was Charles Alexandar Mentry, whose 13-bedroom home is still present. Due to its historical reference, western, and rustic atmosphere several movies have been filmed at this location.
As you continue walking past the schoolhouse you’ll begin your 7-mile round trip hike. The hiking trail is named Pico Canyon Trail. This trail is for all level of hikers. It’s approximately a 7-mile round trip hike. The trail begins with an asphalt walkway, and then at the 1.4-mile mark gives way to a dirt road (The distance is from the parking lot if you park outside its 2.4 miles) that leads to a further elevation within Hughes Canyon. There are several stops which offer superb panoramic views. This hiking trail is for all types of hikers, and dogs are allowed as long as they are leashed. The elevation is about 1,800 feet.
Placerita Canyon – Los Pinetos Loop
Looking for gold? At one time Placerita Canyon State Park was one of the first California sites to discover gold in 1842. In fact, the gentleman who discovered the gold, Francisco Lopez, his documentation of his gold discovery resides in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. It’s estimated 2,000 miners came here in search of mining for gold.
Placerita Canyon has many trails, its primary trail, Los Pinetos Loop is 7-mile round trip trail (It’s also called, “Karen M. Pearson Hillside Trail”). There is parking and a nature center as you enter the trail. You began this trail fairly quick heading up a hill. About approximately 2 miles in, the trail gives you some brief up-and-down hills. As you head closer to the top of the hill there are some trees that provide the shadier side of the trail provided by some beautiful sycamores. Once you reach the top, you will experience some wonderful picturesque views. Making the trip uphill well worth it! Coming down the loop you also receive some additional shade and streams. Overall elevation you’ll climb is a little over 1,600 feet and should take any intermediate and advanced hiker approximately 3.5 hours round-trip. Due to the recent storms we’ve experienced, you should be able to see the waterfall from this trail. Another view of the waterfall is hiking another Trail in Placerita Canyon, called by its obvious name: Waterfall Trail!
One highlight of this trail is about 1.5 miles in you’re going to notice a small pool that bubbles. This is a miniature oil seep. Although small, it highlights the abundance of natural reserves of oil and gold present at one time in Santa Clarita Valley.
Castaic Lake – Fish Canyon Trail
We end our hiking tour with Castaic Lake. Castaic Lake is a man-made dam that is part of the California Aqueduct. The water comes from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. The fresh water supply here does generate power when needed to Los Angeles County. Boating is allowed here which adds to the scenery while hiking, and taking time at one of its several picnic tables surrounding the lake’s base.
If you are in search of scenery while hiking, Castaic Lake trails possess this. There are 3 primary trails around the lake, but the most scenic and rugged are Fish Canyon Narrows Trail. This scenic trail has a mountain stream that runs through 100 ft. cliffs. Part of this hiking trail’s topography are spots of red rock walls. To get to this beautiful part you’ll have to hike 4 miles of terrain that is rocky, rugged, and limited shade. What’s the payoff hiking this rugged trail? An 80-foot waterfall! The overall hike is just a little over 10 miles and has various elevation changes. Intermediate and advanced hikers will enjoy this hike, with its main obstacle being the elevation.
It cannot be emphasized enough the marvelous scenery with this trail and the lake, that in 2009, Los Angeles Magazine published this trail as one of their Top 10 best hikes in Los Angeles. You’ll have to see it to believe it!
As we conclude our hiking tour, we wanted to remind you, as we shared at the outset of this hike, there’s an abundance of trails in the Santa Clarita Valley. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, we welcome you to also visit these trail sites providing additional information and pictures about all the various trails located here in Santa Clarita Valley, and Los Angeles County. Thanks for going hiking with us!