Saturday, February 27, 2010


The Placerita Canyon Trail is approximately 4 miles round trip if you start at the Placerita Nature Center and turn around and come back.

Along this trail, you follow a meandering creek with tall granite canyon walls.

This is a good hike year-round and perfect for families as it is a very easy trail with only small gains.

There are benches along the trail where you can stop to rest or just sit and take in the sites.

The trail starts at the Nature Center and heads to Walker Ranch where you can also pickup the Waterfall Trail or the Los Pinetos Trail if you want to take a longer hike.

 Highlights: Rock formations, Oak Groves, Creek, "White Oil" seeping out of the ground at bubble pot.
Near: Newhall, CA

Distance: 4.0 miles round trip
Hike Time: Approx. 1.5 hours
Difficulty: Easy
Trail Condition: Excellent, well maintained trail.
Hike Type: Out and back, or you can leave at the Walker Ranch Trailhead.

Trailhead: Exit SR14 at Placerita Canyon Road. Look for the Placerita Canyon Natural Area (marked by wooden sign). Trailhead is to the right of the building.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


The Waterfall Trail in Placerita Canyon is a short hike, but very pretty.

It's a "one-way" trail that dead-ends at a 25 foot waterfall that runs from November to June in normal rain years. There was not much water there when we went, even though we've had some rain.

My brother and I hiked this trail on a very cold morning.

Highlights: Rock formations, Oak groves, Waterfalls.

Near: Newhall, CA
Distance: 1.5 to 2 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 265 ft
Hike Time: Approx. 1.5
Difficulty: Moderate to difficult
Trail Condition: Good
Hike Type: Out and back

Trailhead: Exit SR14 at Placerita Canyon Road. Look for turnout marked with a wooden sign reading "WALKER RANCH TRAILHEAD".

The video below was taken 3 to 4 months later on another hike to the waterfall.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Once again I went for a hike in the very interesting area of Towsley Canyon. The reason I say this canyon is "interesting" is because it contains rare rock striations, faults and a tar pit! As you walk up the trail, you start to smell oil. There are oil fields deep under this canyon, but as you start to come near the faults and cliffs, you will find a small tar pit where you can see the oil bubbling up to the surface from deep under the earth.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


East Canyon Trail is a nice wide trail in the Santa Clarita Woodlands area. I hiked the Rice Canyon Trail earlier this month which is in the same natural area.

If you do the entire trail, it is approximately 3.5 miles one way, but my friend Sandi and I only went in maybe 1.5 miles before we turned around and headed back out. This is because this trail is a steady uphill climb and us 2 "old ladies" were starting to get tired!

The trail is actually a fire service road, so it is in very good condition.
You will go through several oak groves during your hike and you will see some great views.

I hear there is a Bigcone Douglas Fir forest if you get all the way to the top. We could see some of them from the lower part of the trail, but never made it to the actual forest.

Highlights: Groves of Oak, California Black Walnut and Bigleaf Maple trees. running creek in the wet seasons, pretty meadows and great views. Plus those Bigcone Douglas Firs if you get to the top.

Near: Newhall, CA
Distance: Approx. 7 miles round trip
Hike Time: Approx. 3 to 4 hours
Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
Trail Condition: Well maintained trail and very well marked.
Hke Type: Out and back

Trailhead: Exit Interstate 5 at Calgrove and proceed south on The Old Road. You will see a small sign on the right indicating the parking area for East/Rice Canyon.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Today's Hike...Whitney Canyon Falls - 02/17/2010

This morning I hiked up into Whitney Canyon near Newhall, CA to check out the waterfall at the end of the trail. With all of the rain we've had, every stream and every waterfall is flowing in the Santa Clarita Valley. Everything is so green right now. The Oak Groves were filled with the sounds of birds and the babbling of the stream.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Took the hike below back in the fall of 2008. I'm planning on going up there on a hike tomorrow (02/17/2010) while Ben is at work. The stream and the waterfall there should be running. Hopefully I'll get some good photos.

Today I took my second hike into Whitney Canyon. It looks very different in the fall than it does in the spring. Everything that was green and lush is now brown and dry. There are no wildflowers The creek that runs along the trail and the waterfall at the end of the trail are bone dry.

The last time I hiked this trail was with my brother Keith. This time I went alone. I took my pedometer this time and if the reading is correct, this is a 2 mile round trip hike. Because I stopped along the way and took pictures, it took me about 1 hour 45 minutes to complete.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Hike To The Towsley Canyon Narrows - 02/13/2010

Ben had to work today, so I decided to head over to Towsley Canyon and hike into the Narrows. The Narrows is a narrow canyon with tall cliffs on both sides. During the wet season, there is a stream running through the canyon. There are a lot of fossilized rocks in the cliffs and some really cool rock formations.

Friday, February 12, 2010


Rice Canyon is located in the Santa Clarita Woodlands. It is actually in East Canyon and there are 2 major trails there...the East Canyon Trail and the Rice Canyon Trail.

This trail is an easy, sloping canyon. About the last half miles or so, you start to climb a little, but most of the trail is pretty level. It is a pretty hike and very family friendly.

When you reach the end of the trail, you will be in a meadow high on the ridge of the mountain were you will see great views of the canyon in all directions.

There are many places where you will cross a stream in the "wet seasons". Today when I was there, the steam was dry.

Highlights: Wildflowers in the spring, groves of oak trees, running creek in the wet seasons, pretty meadows and great views.

Near: Newhall, CA
Distance: Approx. 4 miles round trip
Hike Time: Approx. 1 to 1.5 hours
Difficulty: Moderate
Trail Condition: Well maintained trail and very well marked.
Hike Type: Out and back

Trailhead: Exit Interstate 5 at Calgrove and proceed south on The Old Road. You will see a small sign on the right indicating the parking area for East/Rice Canyon.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Billie Park is in Paradise, CA. It dates back to 1907 when it was an olive and grape orchard. Many Indian artifacts and dwelling caves were discovered at this site.

This is a "city park" but has a nature trail that leads out to a "look-out point" where you will see beautiful views of Butte Creek Canyon aka The Little Grand Canyon. It is a "short" hike but the views are fantastic.

The trail is a little steep in some areas and tends to slope down the hillside. As it is very shady, which keeps the trail damp and it is covered with leaves, you really need to watch your step so you do not slip. At the end of the trail is a rocky area with a bench where you can sit and enjoy the views.

There is also a trail down to a "grotto" where natural springs flow down a flat faced rock cliff giving the appearance that the water is actually coming out of the rock. There are beautify ferns and another great view of the canyon.

Highlights: Beautiful views of Butte Creek Canyon
Near: Paradise, CA
Distance: Approximately 1 mile round trip to and from "look-out point" and another .5 mile round trip if you take the trail to the grotto.
Hike Time: 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on how long you sit and enjoy the view.
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Trail Condition: Well Maintained Trail
Hike Type: Out and Back

Trailhead: From downtown Paradise, take The Skyway to Billie Road and turn left. Head 1 mile west. Park will be on your right-hand side.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Placerita Canyon - Walker Ranch Trail and Creek - 02/08/2010

Went for a 2 1/2 mile hike this afternoon over in Placerita Canyon. Hiked up the Walker Ranch Trail along the creek. This creek ONLY runs during our "wet" season which is January through March.

Placerita Canyon has a nature center with birds and reptiles on display and also has many trails to hike.
It is also a great area for birders. Every Saturday, the nature center offers a nature walk and a bird walk.
Everything is turning very green because of the rainstorms we have been having, but by the end of June, beginning of July, the green wall turn to brown.
I'm hoping that all of this rain will make for a good wildflower year so I can get some good photos.

There is also much history in this canyon. It is the actual location of the first gold to ever be found in California, 12 years before the gold find at Sutter's Mill which started the California Gold Rush.