Great hikes right here in Santa Clarita?
Santa Clarita Woodlands Park - Pico Canyon
27201 Pico Canyon Road, Newhall, California, 91381
Pico Canyon, located in the northern portion of the Santa Clarita Woodlands Park, is home to a rich and active oil history. Explore the remaining historic buildings of Mentryville, an oil boom town. Pico Canyon features large valley and coast live oaks, chaparral-dominated slopes, and views of Santa Clarita.
Santa Clarita Woodlands Park – Ed Davis Park at Towsley Canyon
24255 The Old Road, Newhall, California
Ed Davis Park in Towsley Canyon, named for former State Senator Ed Davis, who championed the preservation of Towsley Canyon, offers visitors a peaceful haven just west of the I-5 between the Santa Clarita and San Fernando Valleys. Trails for hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian use lead visitors through an astonishing variety of habitat types. Notable park features include spectacular water-worn rock formations in Towsley Gorge, year-round Towsley Creek, scenic trail viewpoints, and oak woodland.
Santa Clarita Woodlands Park - East Canyon, Rice Canyon, and Michael D. Antonovich Open Space
23801 The Old Road, Newhall, California
East and Rice Canyons are home to the Santa Clarita Woodlands' richest and lushest vegetation. The trailhead provides parking, restrooms, and picnic area. A hike on the 3.8 East Canyon trail takes one through three species of oak. California bay laurel, California black walnut, and bigleaf maple, up in elevation to a unusual forest of big cone Douglas fir. The dirt fire road leads hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians on a steady climb to magnificent views of Santa Clarita Woodlands Park and the Santa Clarita Valley. The trail leads into the over 400-acre Michael D. Antonovich Open Space which straddles the ridgeline of the Santa Susana Mountains. Rice Canyon Loop Trail is an easy to moderate 1.2 mile trail along Rice Creek for hikers only.
These are maintained by Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, a subsidiary of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. Each provides a great look at plants and animals that thrive in our unique Mediterranean environment.
Towsley, in particular, affords unique possibilities. It has burned twice in the last 10 years, giving us an opportunity to see how ecosystems come back from this type of “disaster”. There is a small stream for a look at riparian communities, as well as very cool geological stuff. This is the site of a natural oil field, and some of the oil still exists in pools you can spot along parts of the trails. I recommend this particular hike for plant ecology, and birding.