Monday, January 1, 2018 – New Year’s Day – Nightmare Gulch, Red Rock Canyon – FULL DAY DESERT ADVENTURE

!!!NOTE: Read Carpool and hike times below carefully (due to Meet Up App changes)

Distance: ~ 9 miles

Gain/ Loss: ~ 3000′

Rating: Moderate + +/ Strenuous

Due to cold conditions, THIS HIKE IS for HARDY WINTER HIKERS, please read description closely. IT IS NOT FOR BEGINNERS – YOU’VE BEEN WARNED!! (INTRO: We usually hike SCV’s Los Pinetos trail, off Placerita Canyon, but unfortunately it is out of commission since the Sand fire…. this year we are trying something different).

Description: Neighboring clubs (Kern Valley and Southern Sierra) are hosting their 15th Annual Nightmare Gulch New Year’s day hike and are sharing their tradition with us!

We will go into Nightmare Gulch with a side trip into the well-hidden “Secret Silent City”. While the loop route does not follow a trail, the desert terrain does not include any boulders or difficult topography. The hike begins with a steep climb up (some all 4s scrambling!) up and over the first of three ridges to enjoy fabulous views, with a combined elevation gain/loss of approximately 3000’!!!! After a final climb down the 3rd ridge, we will eat lunch at the east end of Nightmare Gulch. The rest of the hike through the gulch with its high walls and spectacular formations will be flat. After we exit the west end of the gulch, we will have another small uphill climb to return to the cars at the parking area.

There will be a lot of variety in hiker ability and speed, so expect to spread out and not feel crowded. This is a great opportunity to meet a lot of new and old faces/ friends.

CARPOOL from Santa Clarita to the trailhead:

NOTE: There is VERY limited parking and we expect a lot of people. Therefore, it is REALLY important (and more fun) to carpool to the trailhead.

Meeting Spot – in NORTH Santa Clarita Valley (SCV): !!!! DO NOT GO TO TOWSLEY CANYON (our usual spot)!!!

Starbucks ( 16548 Soledad Canyon Rd, Santa Clarita, CA 91387 ). It is in the Sand Canyon / Soledad Canyon Road junction strip mall parking area, off the 14 Hwy, by the Vons Supermarket. !!! Be there at 6:45AM for a 7:00AM SHARP departure to the trailhead. Final carpool content arrangements will be made there, at that time. The drive is ~ 85 miles one way, ~ 90 minutes. Please be respectful of your driver’s support by contributing something realistic at the end of your carpool to help defray the cost of gas.

Alternate Meeting place: For convenience of those who do not live in Santa Clarita (i.e. Lancaster, Antelope Valley, etc.) if you wish to caravan up to the trailhead with us, we will stop briefly for a potty break at the McDonalds on the corner of the 14 at Mojave – Barstow Hwy at 7:50AM.

MEET Leader at the Trailhead ( 5°22’38.4″N 117°58’50.2″W, 35.377332, -117.980609 ):  Meet at the dirt lot on East side of Hwy 14, ¾ mile north of Red Rock Canyon S.P. / Abbot Road, joins Hwy 14 .  !!!!! Be at the trailhead at 8:45AM, as we will depart up the trail at 9:00AM, SHARP. We hope to be back at the trailhead by 3:30PM to return to Santa Clarita before 5:30PM.

Leaders’ Notes: No bathrooms at trailhead. Expect the weather to be cold. Typical weather in nearby Mojave this time of year is a low in the 20s/30s and a high in the 40s/50s, but bear in mind, this hike will take us 3,000 feet higher than Mojave’s elevation. We will update this listing with a forecast but it is likely to be cold and windy. See What to Wear / Bring below!!!

What to Wear: Dress for Winter in layered clothing. This is not a hike to skimp on layers – you can always take something off if you get hot. Or, you can leave it in the car if the weather looks better than expected. We recommend thermal underwear, winter hat/ scarf, GLOVES!!, a WINDPROOF outer layer, sunglasses, sunscreen and hiking shoes/ boots with thread.

What to Bring: Lunch / snack and maybe a small thermos of hot coffee, lots of water (2+ liters), Snacks, a camera and hiking poles.

Adventure Pass: Not required.

Dogs: Not allowed.

Leader(s): Nikki and Jenn    Sweep: Steve i.

January 6, 2018 – Start the Year right – Take a local Hike!! Whitney Canyon to the waterfall cascades

Distance: ~ 4.5 miles, out and back.

Gain: Almost none

Rated: Easy, suitable for newcomers and young families.

Time: About 2.5 hours

Description: A nice start to the year, a beautiful mostly flat 4 mile hike, along a river bed with shady oak trees along most of the route. This is such a pleasant and easy “out and back” hike that you do not have to leave the kids or dog at home either.

Your hike starts along a dirt road, but after about a half mile, becomes a single track – all the way to the site of a nice little waterfall. The waterfall will not be flowing at this time of year but that will make it easy for your leader to scramble up a short distance with the more adventurous ones to show you a series of rocky waterfall cascades. Expect to see squirrels, woodpeckers and other birds that like this riparian habitat.

Bring: This hike is short but you might like to bring a small snack to eat at the waterfall or along the way, water (~1 liter), sun protection/hat.

Dogs: Allowed, if on a leash and well-behaved around other dogs and people.

Meeting place:  Meet at the Whitney Canyon trailhead (by the gate) at 8:00 AM for an 8:15AM SHARP departure down the trail. We should be back by about 10:30AM.

Directions: From Valencia, take the I-5 Freeway south ; from San Fernando Valley, take 1-5 freeway North. Get on the SR-14 North and be ready to take the first Exit – Newhall Avenue. Take a right at the fork on the off-ramp. and when you reach the stop sign, turn right. This will lead you quickly into the Park and Ride that is adjacent to SR-14 (Note: Do not confuse this with the tree-lined Park and Ride a 1/2 mile down on the North side of Newhall Avenue). Parking is FREE.   NOTE: If the asphalt Park and Ride is full, you may park in the gravel overflow lot.

Look for your leader at the green sign at the top/left of the Park and Ride.

Leader: Steve I.

Saturday, January, 13, 2018 – Hummingbird Trail to views of Fossil Ridge and Rocky Peak

Distance: ~7.5 miles (out and back style)

Gain: At least 1600′ on the way out

Rating: Moderate + (….see note below)

(Note: This is definitely not a beginner’s hike. It can be much more of a challenge if the day is hot, as there is no shade, except 1 tree; if hot, it is more of a Moderate ++ ).

Description: Hummingbird Trail to the junction with Rocky Peak road is ~2 miles by itself, with an elevation gain of a little over 1,000ft using switchbacks through the boulder fields. Then once on the Rocky Peak Fire Road, the terrain varies between somewhat flat with undulating hills, and then one last march to the top (giving a total of 3.5 miles and 1600 gain). We will be adjacent to but not on top of Rock Peak itself.   This is a great hike with views. We are doing it at this time of year as it can get very hot here in Summer. There are lots of interesting rock formations (think – 60’s cowboy movies) along the way.

The views along the way and at our lunch stop are fabulous in all directions. I will point out the white Fossil Ridge formation North in the distance. Whoever wants to can take a quick traverse with me to a close viewpoint of majestic Rocky Peak. If you want to scramble up it, that is doable but you will need to sign out and catch us up later.

We plan to find / visit some interesting caves in the rocks on our way back (totally optional to go in).

Carpooling from Santa Clarita Valley (Advisable, see “READ” below): If you wish to carpool, meet at Towsley Cyn (24255 The Old Road, Newhall, CA) outside the entrance gate at 7:15AM for an 7:30 AM SHARP departure to the trail head. 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.

Directions to Towsley Canyon Carpooling spot:

Exit the I-5 freeway in Santa Clarita Valley at Calgrove Blvd. Turn West and follow Calgrove around a curve and through one light. You will now see the gate to Towsley Canyon/ Rivendale on your right. Park and look for group of hikers/ leader.

!!!!!READ !!!! Directions to the trail head/ Meet the leader: Take the I-5 South to merge into the 405 South. Get off at the 118 freeway towards Simi. After about 10 mins, exit at Kuehner Drive. The trail head is at the bottom of the freeway ramp to the right, in a cul de sac, at the end of Kuehner.

!!!! The entire area around the trailhead that used to be parking was fenced off in 2016. Parking at trailhead is now limited to 10-12 spaces total. Therefore, even with carpooling, as this is a popular hike, it is very likely that you will need to park a few hundred yards away in a strip mall parking lot on Kuehner, just South of the freeway. That is where your leader will be parking.

To get to the strip mall lot, exit the freeway and turn left under it and then immediately right (look for Betos Italian Restaurant, on the right). Park in a dispersed manner at this end of the lot. To avoid tenant ire, do not park near the convenience store. Do not leave valuables in your car.

We will walk the 200 yards back under the freeway, to the end of the white fence on the right. The trailhead is in a cul de sac in front of a gate into a big Ranch.

Meet your leader there at approx. 8:00AM for a 8:15AM SHARP departure up the trail.

Bring: Lots of water, a hat, sunscreen, a snack and hiking poles if you have them. Camera. Good shoes with tread are a must – no flip flops or tennis shoes please. Likely the day will be cool and windy, so bring an extra layer to avoid a chill at the top.

Adventure Pass: Not required

Dogs: OK, if on a leash and well-behaved with other dogs / people carrying poles.

Leader: Steve I.

Saturday January 20, 2018 – ‘Figure of 6’: Elsmere Canyon, Refinery Grapevine and New Elsmere Hike

Distance: ~ 7.0 miles

Gain: ~ 900 ft.

Rating: Moderate ++ /Somewhat difficult in places (due to total mileage and reasonable gain) This is not one for Beginners, you need to be in good condition to enjoy this hike).

Description:  This hike, right here in Santa Clarita Valley, can be done in a number of ways.  We will go up the center of the canyon and climb the service road to the top. Then it is back on to the main trail and a zig-zag back through the center of Elsmere, past an interesting “peek a boo” rock, then it is down and along Refinery Grapevine beside the 14 Hwy. and then it is up, up, up a steep track to a grassy overlook of the I-5 and SR-14 interchange.  We will pause for a shortish (depending on temp) snack/ lunch break in New Elsmere on a grassy flat area. Then it is back through this high meadowed area, down some rustic laneways and back to a point we visited earlier. Here we descend back to the creek level, hiking back along the creekside canyon trail to the parking lot.

This route takes us in a big Figure 6 (more like a gourd actually) and is another fun way to explore the Elsmere Canyon area. You will see the entire Canyon, and the new Elsmere purchase.


From Valencia, take I-5 south to the SR-14 North toward Palmdale or go directly along Newhall Avenue.

From San Fernando Valley, take the I-5 North until it splits in a Y (5 North and 14 North), stay to the right for the 14 North (Palmdale).

Once on the 14, take the FIRST exit, which is Newhall Avenue. The exit ramp splits left and right. Take the right lane and when you get to the stop sign, turn right. That will take you into the Park and Ride, where you will park. Parking is free here and if it is full, go through the gate at the end/ left into an adjacent parking lot down the hill. We will meet at the green gate between the Park and Ride and this parking lot.

Meet:  At the Park and Ride at the end of Newhall Avenue, just east of the SR-14 freeway at 7:30AM for a 7:45AM SHARP departure. Please be prompt!

Bring: A minimum of 2 liters water, preferably 3, lunch/snacks, hiking poles if you have them, hat and Sunscreen and wear good boots with lots of tread.

Adventure Pass: Not needed

Dogs: OK, if on a leash and well behaved around other dogs and people with poles.

Leader: Steve

January 27, 2018 – Chantry Flat/ Sturtevant Falls, looping back via Hogee’s Camp to Adam’s Mule Packing station.

NOTE: Read Carpool and hike times below carefully

Hike Length: 8.4 Miles

Gain: ~ 700 feet

Rating: Moderate

DROP OFF Disclaimer: This trail has a few narrow areas with drop offs. These are sound (solid rock tread) and provide a perfectly adequate trail for most. However, if you are not able to avoid looking down and freaking yourself out, you might want to give this hike a miss.

Description:  The trail starts at Chantry Flat on a paved road, then quickly becomes a single track forest and streamside trail past Roberts’ camp and then to Sturdevant Falls. After a photo break at the Falls, we will hike back to Roberts’ camp and then turn up hill, following the trail looping back via Hogee’s camp. Depending on # visitors, we will either snack at the Falls or more probably at Hogee’s camp. We push on up and around the canyon before approaching Chantry Flat again, from above, completing a large loop. The hike is well shaded and usually has water flowing year round. There is lots of greenery and rustic charm throughout this area.

PARKING: NOTE, this trailhead is very popular, parking can be difficult, that is why we strongly recommend you carpool with us from Santa Clarita.

By far the most difficult thing with this very popular hike is finding a place to park. The parking lot opens at 6AM and is usually full with locals by 7AM, for this reason, we have to leave SCV early. On weekends, cars can be parked up to a half mile down the approach road to the lot. If you are not able to park in the main lot for free, you will have to park along this approach road. In that case, you will need an Adventure Pass on display, if you want to avoid a ticket.

Directions to Trailhead: Take 210 Fwy East from SCV. On the 210 Fwy in Arcadia, heading East, take the Santa Anita Ave. exit. Turn left (North) on to Santa Anita Ave and drive 6 miles until the road deadends in Chantry Flat parking lot.

Directions to Carpooling spot in Santa Clarita Valley (Towsley Canyon/ Rivendale Park):

From the North (Valencia), take the I-5 South to the Calgrove exit off ramp. Exit, turn right. Go through the signal and immediately turn right into the driveway for Towsley Canyon but park OUTSIDE the gate. Look for club members and leader here.

From the South (Fwy 5/14 interchange), take the I-5 North over the hill into Santa Clarita Valley. First off ramp is the Calgrove exit. At bottom of ramp, turn left. Go under the freeway and through the signal, then when you see the parked cars at Towsley canyon, immediately turn right and park OUTSIDE the gate. Look for club members and leader here.

CARPOOL: Meet at the Towsley Canyon front parking lot at 6:00AM. Carpool will leave at 6:15AM SHARP to get parking at trailhead. Please be respectful of your driver’s support by contributing something at the end of your carpool to help defray the cost of gas.

Meet your Leader at the Trailhead: The group will meet at the lower trailhead entrance (as you enter the parking lot, beside the Restrooms). We plan to leave this spot at 07:15AM SHARP or as soon as the Towsley carpool members arrive.

Adventure Pass: Required if you park outside the parking lot (which may end up being the case). We recommend you get one good for a year at Big 5 Sporting Goods or any Ranger Station ($30) or $5/ day.

Bring: A snack/lunch, water (3 liters is recommended), and electrolytes (i.e. Gatorade) if it is a hot day, sunscreen, hat, hiking poles if you have them, and your camera. Wear an extra light layer (as we are starting early), you can always leave it in the car, and good boots with tread. Because there is water / trees, just in case, I’d bring a bug facenet (~$4 at Walmart) and/ or bugspray.  Note, bring some money, if you want to enjoy a cold beer, a hot dog, or homemade chili at Adams Pack Station (above, established 1936) at the end of the hike. If we are lucky they will have their famous pulled pork sandwich on the menu.

Leader: Steve i.