Saturday 2 July, 2016 –  Towsley Canyon View Loop Trail and back via the new Elder trail

Distance:  ~ 3 miles

Gain:  ~ 500 feet

Rating:  Easy++


This hike is short, easy and family friendly.  We hope to have you back home to wake any late rising visitors you have in town for the 4th.  Better still bring them along!

The Canyon View Loop Trail, which offers a short loop in Towsley park (1.9 miles), skirts the ridges between Wiley Canyon and Towsley Canyon. The trail ends in the shady garden at the end of Towsley Canyon Road, alongside Towsley Lodge, an old ranch house.  Rather than comuing back along the driveway, we will take a look at the newly opened Elder trail which winds into the hills North of Towsley before turning back South to drop us back in the parking lot.

Directions to Towsley Canyon carpool meeting spot:

From North (Valencia) – Take the I-5 South to the Calgrove exit. Exit, turn right. Go through the signal and immediately turn right into the driveway for Towsley Canyon (look for signs and a mailbox for the park). Drive a tenth of a mile up Towsley Canyon Road to the first gravel parking area on the right. The lot is labeled with a sign that reads, “Rivendale Ranch at Towsley Canyon”; free parking provided by the City of Santa Clarita.

From South (LA) – Take the I-5 North, kept left at HWY 5/14 split until next Exit (Calgrove Blvd.).  Exit, turn left at bottom of ramp. Go through the signal and immediately turn right into the driveway for Towsley Canyon  (look for signs and a mailbox for the park). Drive a tenth of a mile up Towsley Canyon Road to the first gravel parking area on the right. The lot is labeled with a sign that reads, “Rivendale Ranch at Towsley Canyon”; free parking provided by the City of Santa Clarita.

Meet your leader: Meet inside Towsley Canyon (beyond the green gate) at the first inside gravel Parking lot on the right.   Look for group of hikers.

Due to Summer heat, we will start early.  Meet at 7:30AM for a 7:45AM SHARP departure up the trail.

Bring: A light snack (e.g. granola bar/ piece of fruit) to munch on as you go and water (2-3 liters recommended if hot), some electrolytes if it is a hot day, sunscreen, hat, and hiking poles, if you have them.  No flip flops or tennis shoes.

Adventure Pass: Not required.

Dogs: OK, but must be kept on a short leash and well-behaved around people with hiking poles and especially other dogs.  We do not recommend you bring your dog due to the possibility of heat and tar seeps in various places along this trail.

Kids: If adventurous and say > 10 are welcome.

Leader: Dianne

Saturday, July 9, 2016 – Devil’s Punchbowl to the Devil’s Chair

Distance:  ~7.4 Miles total (out and back)

Gain: ~ 615′

Hiking Time:  3-4 hours

Difficulty: Moderate + (for gain at start and hiking at an altitude of 4750 ft.)


BACK BY POPULAR REQUEST!!    The Devil’s Punch Bowl (below) is a gorgeous site with protruding rocks and sheer rock faces.  On the northern slopes of the San Gabriel Mountains, near Littlerock, California and Pearblossom, California, this 7 miler is a round trip, out and back hike.  It includes some altitude and a mild climb in the first mile.  After that first mile, the trail is fairly flat winding in and out of the canyons and trees, providing great views up the mountains behind and out over the desert below.  It is one of the most scenic forest hikes in our area.

Leader’s Notes:  For everyone’s enjoyment, depending on the number of hike leaders we have available, we will try to organize a faster group and a more moderate paced group. It is difficult to get lost on this trail.

NOTE: If you are uncomfortable with heights, narrow trails with adjacent drop offs, sections with loose scree (rock chips)  or similar, this hike is probably not for you.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devil’s_Punchbowl_(California) .

We will head around the Devil’s Punchbowl and out to the Devil’s Chair.

Carpooling from Santa Clarita:

Meet at Towsley Canyon , 24489 The Old Rd, Santa Clarita, CA 91381  GPS: 34.358431, -118.555237

Meet at 6:45AM for a 7:00AM SHARP departure to caravan out to the trail head (directions below).  We are starting earlier than usual to try to avoid the heat.     Please be respectful of your driver’s support by contributing something at the end of your carpool to help defray the cost of gas.

Or, if you like, go straight to the trail head located at:

28000 Devil’s Punchbowl Rd., Pearblossom CA 93553

Meet your leader in the corner of the trailhead/ nature center Parking lot (near the porta potty). There are also other bathrooms behind the nature center.

We should all arrive by ~ 8:00AM for a 8:15AM SHARP departure up the trail.

Directions to trail head (we recommend these over the address + Google maps):

Take the SR-14 North to the Angeles Forest Hwy exit, Exit 30, and go towards Pear Blossom Highway, keeping on left of the ramp toward Pearblossom Hwy/Littlerock/Victorville.   Merge onto Sierra Hwy. Stay straight to go onto Pearblossom Hwy. At the light, turn right onto Pearblossom Hwy/CA-138. Turn right onto 87th St E. Take the 2nd left onto Fort Tejon Rd. Turn right onto Longview Rd. Turn left onto Tumbleweed Rd. Turn slight right on to Devil’s Punchbowl Road.

28000 Devil’s PunchBowl Road is a cul de sac parking lot, at the end of the road.

Bring:  A snack/lunch, water (3 liters is recommended), electrolytes, sunscreen, hat, hiking poles if you have them, and your camera. Bring an extra layer in case it is windy.   Have hiking boots with tread – no gym shoes or flip-flops.  No poison oak expected on this trail.

Adventure Pass:  Not required.

Dogs: OK , if on leash and well behaved around other dogs and people with hiking poles.  If forecast looks to be very hot, we do not recommend you bring your dog.

Leader: Steve

Saturday, July 16 –  Bear Divide up to Camp 9 / Over to Wilson Saddle and down the Los Pinetos trail to Walker Ranch

Distance:  8 Miles

Gain: 1068′

Hiking Time:  ~4 hours

Difficulty: Moderate (for distance and some decent gain, all in the first 2 mile section)

Description:  This hike is one of our favorites and has good stretches of shade  for this hotter weather.

The first 2 miles, uphill from the Bear Divide parking area, is along a very shady pine forest single track up to Camp 9 Wildland Fire fighting camp.  It is beautiful in itself (but that 1068′ of gain kicks a bit of butt!).  With the gain out of the way, we’ll take a short washroom break, get our breath back, and enjoy the view of the Valleys to the North and South.

We will check out the Fire Camp (which used to be a Nike missile base LA-94 during the Cold War).  Here is a great Signal article with memories of the Nike Missile site.  http://www.signalscv.com/archives/10205/

We then follow dirt service road 3N17, which offers views of the San Fernando Valley, Santa Clarita,  Aqua Dulce, etc.  If it is clear you may be able to see the ocean and Catalina island, so bring your camera.

When we reach Wilson Saddle, we’ll take a break for lunch, grab some more views of the San Fernando valley before heading down a winding single track through beautiful shady oak woodlands of the Los Pinetos Trail and back to the cars at Walker Ranch (see shuttle details below).  We then will need to shuttle our carpool drivers back to Bear Divide and everyone else can leave.

Meet At Walker Ranch:

Please do not go directly to Bear Divide.   Meet at 6:45AM to organize the carpool for a 7:00AM SHARP departure the short distance over to Bear Divide.  We need most of the cars to remain at Walker Ranch and will sign in there.

Directions to Walker Ranch Meeting Spot – 19386 Placerita Canyon Road, Santa Clarita:

From the I-5 Freeway, take the SR-14 North to Placerita Canyon Exit.  Exit, turn right and go approximately 4 miles on this road. (At about 2 miles you will pass Placerita Nature Center on your right). Approximately 2 miles after passing the Nature Center, you will see a wooden sign at a gate on your right that says, “Walker Ranch/Placerita Canyon Natural Area”.  Pull over at this turn out, or just beyond it and park.  DO NOT block the gate.

Dogs:  OK, must be on a leash and well behaved around other dogs and people carrying hiking poles.  If we carpool and you bring a dog, please be one of the carpoolers to drive over to Bear Divide. If it is hot we do not recommend bring your dog.

Adventure Pass: Not required.

BRING:  Hiking Poles, lunch/snacks, at least 2 – 3L of water and some electrolytes (e.g. Gatorade), camera, hat and sunscreen.  Wear hiking shoes/boots with good tread – No flip-flops! This is important as final decent to Walker ranch is steep and sandy/ slippy.

Leader:  Steve I.

Saturday July 23, 2016 – BEAT THE HEAT  – Sawmill Mountain via Mount Pinos – Easy or Moderate, your choice?

Distance:  4 miles or 7 miles, out and back.

Gain: About 500′ in first 4 miles and another 600′ if doing the full hike

Rated: Easy+ if doing the first 4 miles only; or Moderate for full 7 mile hike

Time: About 4 hours, including a 20 minute lunch break.

Description:  Listen to the swush of the wind as it gently caresses the huge pines teasing out their fragrance.  This 4 or 7 mile hike takes in 1 or 2 summits (Mount Pinos and then Sawmill Mountain).  The nice thing is that you can make it an “Easy” or “Moderate” hike.  The hike is an “out and back”, regardless of which one you chose and is well marked, so you can turn around after the “Easy” (2+2 mile) hike or whenever you like after that.

Beginning hikers can summit Mt. Pinos, enjoy the views, and fresh mountain air before heading back down to the parking lot at their own pace.

Moderate hikers should be easily able to complete both summits (3.5 + 3.5 miles).

First, we summit Mt. Pinos (8831 ft.) from the Trail head (8340 ft.) for an “Easy” 4 mile Round Trip hike, made a little more difficult due to the altitude.

Then, if you continue with us down some switchbacks and up some others you arrive at Sawmill Mountain (8818 ft). This will add another 3 miles RT and another 600 ft of gain to give you 7 mile total distance and 1100 ft total gain for a nice “Moderate” hike.

Mount Pinos is the highest point in Ventura County and lies on the edge of the Chumash Wilderness of the Los Padres National Forest.  Mount Pinos, created over 100 million years ago was known as Iwihinmu to the indigenous Chumash people. The slopes are a mix of sub-alpine, white fir, and Jeffry Pine habitats.  The views from Mount Pinos are beautiful, including the patchwork quilt of agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley to the north, the Tehachapis to the east, and the Carrizo Plain and Temblor Mountains to the northwest.

Bring: Poles if you have them, lunch/ snacks, bug spray and bug net, 2-3 liters of water/ 1 liter electrolytes, sunscreen, lip balm.  The views are spectacular, so bring your camera.

Adventure Pass:  Required ,when parking at the Mt. Pinos Trail head (These can be obtained at any BIG 5 Sporting Goods store or Ranger station; $5 for a day pass, $30 for a year pass.

Directions (from Santa Clarita Valley):  Allow 1 1/2 hours to get to trailhead from Santa Clarita.

Take the I-5 North ~ 40 miles to the Frazier Park off ramp. Exit, turn left under highway. Go West on the Frazier Park Road for about 12 miles passing Lockhart Valley Road (on the left) until you see signs for Mt. Pinos. Stay to the left at the fork and follow the road as it twists and turns 9 miles up the mountain to the Nordic Hut parking area at the very top. Park on the left side, by the Mt Pinos trailhead, and look for us there.

If you wish to carpool – meet at Towsley Canyon at 6.45AM to check in for a 7.00AM SHARP departure.  Please be respectful of your driver’s support by contributing something at the end of your carpool to help defray the cost of gas – THX.

Those intending to do only Mt. Pinos are encouraged to carpool with other “Easy” hikers, or drive alone to avoid waiting for the rest of a carpool.

Meet your leader: At the Mt Pinos parking lot trail head at 8:15 AM; we will depart up the trail to Mt Pinos at 8:30 AM SHARP (or when SCV carpoolers. who have checked in. get there).

Leader:  Dianne


Saturday July 30, 2016 – Temescal Canyon and Will Rogers’ Estate  (A Short or Longer hike – your choice)

Length: 4 mile (Temescal Canyon Loop only); plus the option of another

5.5 miles (Will Rogers Estate)   =  9.5 miles for both parts.

Gain:  1500 ft. for both

Rating:  Moderate for both hike parts

Description:  This Is a beautiful, cool hike in the hills above the great Pacific Ocean. It starts out with an uphill climb to a little waterfall, then winds through lovely chaparral, exposing views of the ocean and the gorgeous hilltop homes of Pacific Palisades.

The first part of the hike is a 4 mile loop which starts and ends at Temescal Canyon Ranger Station. Once we’ve returned to this spot, beginning hikers can depart if they wish, or continue another 5.5 miles on to a trail that ends at the Will Rogers Estate.

The second part of the hike is a 5.5 mile loop to the Will Rogers Estate that rises up to a transverse trail that parallels Sunset Blvd going East. We pass through chaparral and woodland areas, cross behind secluded woodland homes and finally down into a canyon that leads back up and into the Will Rogers Estate.  You may see deer in this area, so remember to bring your camera.

Meet your Leader/Carpooling from Santa Clarita:  Meet at Towsley Canyon , 24489 The Old Rd, Santa Clarita, CA 91381  GPS: 34.358431, -118.555237

Meet at Towsley parking lot (SCV) in front of the gate at 7:00AM to organize carpools for a departure to the trail head at 7:15AM SHARP. It is best to carpool, as there is a $7.00 fee to park at Temescal canyon.

If you prefer to drive, here are the directions to the Temescal Canyon trailhead:

Head south on Hwy 5 until intersection with 405 South.  Take the 405 South to the Sunset Blvd exit (after the Getty center).  Head West on Sunset about 6 miles, almost to the end.  Temescal Gateway Park is located at the top of Temescal Canyon Road where it intersects with Sunset Blvd, one mile from Pacific Coast Hwy (PCH).  Be sure to make a COMPLETE stop at the stop signs in the park or you WILL get a ticket in the mail (a camera automatically issues the tickets!)

Please be respectful of your driver’s support by contributing something at the end of your carpool to help defray the cost of gas – THX.

Those intending to do only the Temescal Canyon portion are encouraged to carpool with other hikers having similar plans, or drive alone to avoid waiting for the rest of their carpool.

Trailhead address: Sunset Boulevard & Temescal Canyon Road, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

Trailhead coordinates: 34.050217, -118.529141 (34° 03′ 00.78″N 118° 31′ 44.90″W)

Walk toward the trail (it is at the back of the furthest/upper  Temescal Canyon parking lot).  MEET in front of the bathrooms on the right in this lot at 8:00AM. We will leave promptly when the carpools arrive from Towsley ~8:15 AM latest.

Bring:  Lunch/ snacks, water (3 liters recommended including 1 liter of electrolytes if it is a hot day), camera, hiking poles and good hiking shoes – no tennies or flip flops.

Dogs: Sorry, NOT allowed on this trail by park order.

Leader: Dianne