Wilson Saddle via Los Pinetos Trail

This is the last hike from 2015.

As we were getting close to Placerita Canyon Nature Center, a light came on on my dashboard. “ICY”. I noticed the temperate outside was 36 degrees. I looked around as I was driving. No ice. “Oh, don’t be so dramatic.”, I told my car. Then I realized I didn’t bring Xena’s coat. Hmm..

I parked near the Nature Center which was still closed but it would be open by the time we get back to my car.

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I put layers of clothes on then left Xena in the car with the heater on while I used a porta-potty. Yep, it was cold. I put on my hat and gloves then we headed out.

From the main trailhead, follow a sign for Walker Ranch (2 miles from the trailhead). Canyon Trail is flat and family friendly so it’s heavily used by walkers and runners.

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Canyon Trail

Soon after you pass Walker Ranch, you will come to a camping site with porta-potties, benches and a trail sign. The sign will be on your right. Take Los Pinetos Trail (2.35 miles one way).

Wilson Saddle via Los Pinotes Trail

Los Pinetos Trail got us out of the campsite quickly and took us to a less traveled single track path. Thank you. All elevation gain on this hike happens on this trail. In 2.25 miles, elevation gain is 1,756 feet. It was a chilly but beautiful morning and the sun was rising. I finally stopped feeling cold as we climbed. Xena was fine too.

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Mountain therapy

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After half way up, we started to have some shades. This looked like a good place for a break to hydrate.

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Remember this photo from my earlier post Christmas Spirit? This was taken here. 🙂

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We continued on. It was noticeably cooler as we climbed more in the shade. Eventually, Los Pinetos Trail ended at Santa Clara Truck Trail and we were greeted by a few nice mountain bikers.

Wilson Saddle picnic area is to your right. If it wasn’t windy, I would’ve liked to picnic here before we descended.

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Here are some pictures I took on the way down.

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On the way back, I wished the flat 2-mile Canyon Trail was shorter. Much shorter. A half mile would’ve been good. It’s a nice trail but just not exciting after already hiking 6.5 miles with views. I plan to start from a different location next time. I think that will make this hike good all around.

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Canyon Trail

 

Good to Know:

  • Hike Date:  12.19.15
  • Total Distance:  8.5 miles, out and back
  • Elevation Gain:  1,756 feet
  • Restroom available at multiple locations: trailhead, camping site & Wilson Saddle picnic area
  • Trailhead:  19152 Placerita Canyon Rd, Newhall, CA, 91321

Happy Hiking!

 

Towsley Canyon 11.08.15

We started before 8 am and there was plenty of shade for the pups.

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We stopped at the visitor center to use the restrooms. A herd of deers were there to greet us. Beautiful creatures, aren’t they? We were less than 50 feet away from one of them. Xena and Momo did great. They stayed calm and watched the beautiful creatures move gracefully. So cool!

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Before start to gain elevation, we had to pass through this small section called The Narrows where we were surrounded by interesting rock formation and smell. There is also a tiny creek running between the rock formation that made frothy tar. Xena always gets excited in this part of the trail. The scent must be intoxicating for her advanced nose. All I smell is sulfur though. Here it is about 10 degrees cooler than the rest of the trail.

Momo posing in The Narrows

Clear view of the canyon was breathtaking on a chilly November morning.

Can you spot a hiker?


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How about now?

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This hike is 5.7 miles in total when you do it as a loop and is rated moderate. For trailhead and parking information, click here. You will notice that scenery looks different in the spring time with wildflowers. 🙂

Happy Hiking!

Towsley View Loop

Since I enjoyed hiking in the neighboring Placerita Canyon recently, I wanted to explore the area further before summer gets here. Towsley Canyon Park which is part of Santa Monica Mountains is just off the 5 freeway in Santa Clarita. The main parking lot was already full when I reached at the trailhead before 8 am so I parked in the overflow parking area just outside of the park entrance.

The hike starts out on a wide pavement – Towsley Canyon Rd.

At the 0.2 miles marker, I stayed on the road to do this loop counterclockwise as recommended by Modern Hiker when a trail appeared on the left. Then the road passed through the additional parking area. If you are like me and hate hiking on a road, hang in there. It gets better. At the 0.67 miles marker, I met up with the Towsley View Loop trail sign I was looking for. Once I was on the Towsley View Loop trail, I let other hikers pass us so we can take our time and enjoy the surroundings.

Most memorable thing in this section of the trail was the musical sounds of birds. Soon I reached at The Narrows – an area of the trail squeezes through in Towsley Canyon. The Narrows was fascinating! It had interesting geological features. It was definitely one of the highlights of the hike.

Beginning of The Narrows - hiking between two large slabs of rock

Beginning of The Narrows – hiking between two large slabs of rock

Expect some scrambling

Expect some scrambling

I love hiking in the morning. The air is clean and crisp. The world is just waking up. It’s energizing and there is sense of hope and renewal. I tried to capture it in this photo.

About 1.75 miles in to the hike, the trail started to climb noticeably and switchbacks started. If you were hiking this area during midday, I imagine you would be exposed to the sun the entire time but early in the morning, I had lots of shade. This is important to note because heat is always a concern of mine when I hike with Xena. I enjoyed the climb and the views.

I also ran in to a deer when I reached the top. Unfortunately, the deer saw us first. When I stopped to see who made a noise in the field of wildflowers, the deer turned away from us and with 5 graceful hops, it was gone. It was only about 30 feet away from us! Oh, wow! I was not expecting that! 🙂

Some sections of the trail were steep. I liked that there was an alternative route each time which provided more gradual descent then met up with the main trail.

I am not much of a fan of reptiles but this guy is cute. I like the mint color.

I am not much of a fan of reptiles but this guy is cute. I like the mint color.

Good to know:

  • It has 3 parking areas: main parking(free), overflow parking(free) and additional parking($7).
  • Restrooms are available at the visitor center.
  • Dogs on leash

Details on the Hike:

  • Distance:  5.7 miles from the overflow parking lot
  • Elevation gain:  1105 feet
  • Rated moderate
  • Great geological features – tar pits, sulfur, natural asphalt and The Narrows

Happy Hiking!

Placerita Canyon Loop

The temperature was going to be in 80s so Xena sat out on this hike. You go without me, she avoided my eye contact and got settled in to her comfy bed as I was getting ready that morning. It was still dark outside. Maybe we can go to the park when you get back, she looked up with sleepy eyes. She is not a morning dog.

It was my first time in Placerita Canyon State Park and I was not disappointed. The parking lot was practically empty around 7:30 am. We started out on the Hillside trail from the main trailhead and met up with the Manzanita Mtn trail.

On Manzanita Mtn Trail, my fear of heights was challenged once again.

The second half of this hill is very steep. If you are afraid of heights, don’t look back. Just focus on your footing…one step at a time.

First 2.7 miles of incline without shade.  Great view.

Then, the scenery changed. Tall trees on the Los Pinetos trail provided some shades and the trail became narrow.

I can’t believe mountain bikes are allowed on this part of the trail. Watch out. In the higher section of the trail, we encountered tiny bugs. Since Ferencz and Jackie were leading us, they had to fight the bugs for us. 😉

Picture break with my sis

Los Pinetos Trail

Los Pinetos Trail


Los Pinetos Trail eventually meets Canyon Trail. Turn left here if you want to go back to the trailhead or turn right if you want to go to the waterfall trail. From here to the trailhead, which is about 2 miles away, Canyon trail is flat and provided an interesting nature walk. The trail was more popular with families and dog walkers.

The nature center was open when we got back to the parking lot. It has a little zoo inside. It can be a cool place for a birthday party for kids. Just an idea..

Details on the Hike:

  • Hike date:  3.29.2015
  • Distance: 7 miles
  • Elevation gain:  1,678 feet
  • Dogs on leash
  • Restrooms available at the trailhead

Happy Hiking!~