Saturday April 2, 2016  – (Bandido Country) Hike from the Chilao Campground area to Mt. Hillyer and the Silver Moccasin Trail

Distance:  8 miles, Round trip

Gain: ~ 1000′

Rating:   Moderate

Description:  The trail head is located in the Chilao Picnic Area, across the street from the Chilao Visitor Center.  We start on the Silver Moccasin Trail surrounded by a pine and cedar forest.  At the Horse Flats fork we turn left passing the Horse Flats campgrounds.  The well traveled trail climbs a gentle slope with just a few switchbacks to the top of Mt. Hillyer.  A century ago this was bandido country (the notorious Tiburcio Vasquez and his gang of horse thieves utilized Chilao and Horse Flats when they were not hanging out at Vasquez rocks, near Acton).  The great boulders we will pass served as a fortress for the bandits and today these same boulders serve as a great location for rock climbers.  More about the bandido and his Chilao connection:   http://www.explorehistoricalif.com/bandito2.html

From the round top of Mt. Hillyer, we will be rewarded with nice views that I am sure the bandits used to their advantage.  We will follow the ridge line to Rosenita Saddle were we turn right on a paved road and follow it to the turn off to Bandido group campsite.  At the back of the campsite we will hook-up with the Silver Moccasin Trail again turning right and heading back to Chilao Picnic Area.

Carpooling from Santa Clarita Valley:  Meet at Towsley Canyon in the front parking lot at 7:15 AM for a 7:30AM SHARP departure, arrangements for carpooling will be made here.  Please be respectful of your driver’s support by contributing something at the end of your carpool to help defray the cost of gas.

Directions to trail head:  From the 210 Fwy exit at Angeles Crest Highway 2 North.  Follow the Angeles Crest Highway towards the mountains for 27 miles (est).  Make a left turn at the Chilao Visitor Center that is just pass the parking location for Devils Canyon trail head.  Follow the signs to the picnic area parking lot.

Meet your Leader:  By the first set of bathrooms at the trail head ~ 8:45AM.  We will depart up the trail at 9:00AM SHARP.

Bring:  Lots of water (2-3L), some Electrolytes like Gatorade, a hat, sunscreen, a snack and hiking poles if you have them.  Good shoes with tread are a must – no flip flops or tennis shoes please.

Adventure Pass:  Yes , 1/car. Available at Acton Ranger Station, the Little Tujunga station, REI Nothridge, Sport Chalet, Stevenson Ranch ($5 a day/ $30 a year) or any other Ranger Station.

Dogs: OK, if on a leash and well-behaved with other dogs / people carrying poles.  If you bring your dog, please drive yourself.

Leader:  Dave


Saturday, April 9, 2016 – Quigley Canyon Open Space

Distance:  ~ 6.5 miles (4 loops combined and an in/ out 1.1 mile portion)

Gain:   About 350 feet max, mainly on one hill that has a tough, steep descent.

Rating:   Easy to Moderate (due to periodic hills) – so there is something for everyone on this one.

Description: This is a local and very convenient hike.  The scenery is quite varied, with abundant bird life and did we mention wildflowers….. We will see the ranches, incredible homes, an oil company, intermittent streams, and some pretty vistas. This set of trails is very private… when you consider how close it is to civilization.  We will be combining 4 individual loops and a 1.1 mile new access trail in and out.  There is one loop that includes a steep hill.  If you would like to avoid this, you can sign out just before that portion or just take a break before we regroup for the remainder of the hike.

Map link:  http://hikesantaclarita.com/files/2012/03/Quigley_Canyon_Trail.pdf

Meet  your leader:   At the trail head at 8:00AM for an 8:15AM SHARP departure up the trail.  Park on Placerita Canyon Road, see detailed directions below.

Directions to the Trailhead  (GPS 34.379641, -118.502622): Going North on the 14 freeway, exit at Placerita Cyn Road and turn left under the freeway  (the opposite direction to the Placerita Nature center).  Go straight through the light on Sierra Hwy and continue about 1/2 mile West on Placerita Cyn Rd, until you see a gated community barrier across the road ahead and a wooden split rail fence on the right.  The parking lot on the right is the Trailhead – it is clearly marked “Quigley Canyon Open Space”.

Bring:   Water (2 – 3 L), snacks, hiking poles if you have them and a camera. Wear sunscreen, a hat, and long pants in case some of the trails are getting overgrown.  Due to the steep uphill and downhill on one loop, poles are HIGHLY recommended and make sure your boots/ shoes have a good tread.  No tennis shoes or flip flops please.

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

Adventure Pass:  Not required.

Leader: Nikki

Saturday April 16, 2016 – Historical Hike along The Old Ridge Route – From Sandberg’s Summit Hotel to the Tumble Inn

Distance: ~ 7 miles total, out and back (not including some stomping around at each site).

Gain: Negligible

Rated: Easy + (distance)

Pace: This is a Historical Hike.  We will stop at each site, listen to the historian explain the history of the area, show us some old photos, etc.  Then we can stomp around for a short while, take some photos, and check out the surrounding views at our own pace, at each site.  We will be hiking between each stop at a Moderate hiking pace.  It is 7 miles, so this is not a beginners’ first hike, you need to be reasonably fit for this hike.

Background:  The Ridge Route, officially the Castaic-Tejon Route, was a two-lane highway between Los Angeles and Kern counties, California. Opened in 1915, much of the old road runs through the Angeles National Forest, and passes by many historical landmarks, including the National Forest Inn, Reservoir Summit, Kelly’s Half Way Inn, Tumble Inn, and Sandberg’s Summit Hotel.   Tumble Inn and Sandberg’s Summit Hotel have the only remaining ruins. The other establishments were completely bulldozed over the cliffs by the Forest Service.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the new route was “one of the most remarkable engineering feats accomplished by the State Highway Commission.

Hike Description:  We will hike from the ruins of Sandberg’s Summit Hotel, to Liebre Summit which is the highest point on the road (4,233ft), then to the Granite Gate, Horseshoe Bend, and finally to Tumble Inn.   At Horseshoe Bend we will try to find the prints (human, animal and vehicle) in the original cement surface. There is also supposed to be a horseshoe embedded somewhere in the cement.

Carpooling from Santa Clarita Valley:  If you wish to carpool, meet at Towsley Cyn outside the entrance gate at 8:00AM for an 8:15 AM SHARP departure to the hike starting point.  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 Santa Clarita (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 on your right. Park and look for a group of hikers.

Directions to hike starting point from Towsley Canyon, Santa Clarita: Take the I-5 North to Highway 138. Exit, going East. Turn Right at the Ridge Route and follow it South.   Immediately after the intersection of Pine Canyon Road (on left)  and the Ridge Route, you will see the following Angeles National Forest sign on your right side.

You might like to stop and take a photo of the sign before proceeding straight South (still on the Ridge Route) a short distance. Look for a wide part of the road with river rock boulder ruins of the Sandberg Inn on your right side (If you go too fast, you will miss it). Allow at least 1 hour to get there from Santa Clarita.

We will park our vehicles at this wide spot (see photo above) and adventure around the Sandberg Ruins with our historian Alan Pollack before we begin hiking down the road.

Meet at the Sandberg Inn, ready to leave at 9:30 AM.

Sandberg’s Summit Hotel  http://socalregion.com/highways/ridge_route/rrt012/     This link takes you to a virtual tour of Sandberg’s Summit Hotel with photos of the ruins as well as historical photos.

Bring: Lunch/ snacks, water (2 – 3 L), hat, sunscreen and of course your camera.

Wear: Comfortable shoes (you will be walking on a cement and asphalt road with some sections in poor repair). Hiking boots are not required, but would be acceptable, as would tennis shoes. No sandals or flip flops please.

Comfortable layered clothing is recommended as it is often windy in this mountainous region.  It will probably be cooler due to elevation, so be prepared with a fleece or a wind breaker or heavier jacket.

Adventure Pass:  Not required.

Dogs: OK , if on leash and well behaved around other dogs and people with hiking poles. If you bring a dog, please drive yourself to the trailhead.

Historian: Alan Pollack

Saturday, April 23, 2016 – Parker Mesa overlook from Trippet Ranch (Topanga Canyon State Park)

Distance:  ~6.8 Miles total (out and back)

Gain: ~ 800′

Hiking Time:  ~3 hours

Rating: Easy +++/ Moderate – (due to periodic elevation gains and overall mileage)

Description:   This weekend we will enjoy some woodlands, hill walking and cool blue ocean views.  Parker Mesa Overlook is one of the best vista points in the Santa Monica Mountains and has been one of our Summer  favorites too.  It serves up panoramic views over Santa Monica Bay from a 1,525-foot oceanfront ridge in Topanga State Park. The overlook is located along East Topanga Fire Road, a north-south running ridge trail spanning between Trippet Ranch, the park’s main trailhead in the north, and Paseo Miramar in the Pacific Palisades to the south.  We will enjoy the view over Santa Monica Bay to the south. Palos Verdes Peninsula juts out from the far side of the C-shaped bay. Beyond that, on a clear day, you may spot Catalina Island on the horizon.

Carpool from Santa Clarita Valley:   Meet at Towsley Canyon, outside the Towsley gate at 7:15 AM.  We will organize carpools and leave at 7:30 AM SHARP, for the Trippet Ranch 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 — THX.

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

Directions to the trailhead at Topanga State Park from Towsley Canyon, Santa Clarita Valley, (32 miles, ~40 mins):   Merge onto I-5 South. Keep right to continue on the I-405 S/​San Diego Fwy, following signs for Santa Monica.  After 9.0 miles, take the exit to US101 N, towards Ventura , drive 8.2 miles on the 101 freeway, and exit at California 27 S/​Topanga Cyn Blvd.  Merge on to Topanga Cyn Blvd and drive 7.8 miles south on Topanga Canyon Blvd until you see Entrada Road on the left – this road is twisty, so be on the look out for it!  Turn East (left) into Entrada Road and drive up the mountainous neighborhood for 1 mile, following signs for Topanga State Park / Trippet Ranch, until you see cars parked on the left side of the road.

NOTE: There is a $10 Park Service day-use fee to park in the Trippet Ranch parking lot, which is open from  8:00AM to sunset.  They have lots of spaces and immaculate modern bathrooms; so if you carpool and want to support their upkeep, go for it (I usually do) – IF SO, BRING $10 in CASH FOR THE SELF-SERVE (i.e. ENVELOPE) PAY SYSTEM!

Alternatively, a few hundred yards outside the park, there may be some free parking left along the road.  Watch for No Parking signs and leave nothing showing in your car.

Meet the Hike Leader:   At Towsley Canyon to carpool (see details above) or at the Trippet Ranch Trailhead, by the parking lot bathrooms.  We plan to be at the trailhead by 8:15AM so the group can start up the trail at 8:30AM SHARP.  Note: Only if you have already checked in at Towsley Canyon, and are delayed in traffic, can we plan to wait for you.

Bring:  Plenty of water (2- 3L), electrolytes, a snack, and shoes with good tread.  Poles are helpful.

Hike portion is ~ 3 hours, so we hope to be back to Towsley before 1:00PM.

Dogs:  Unfortunately, dogs are not permitted on this trail by the park staff.

Adventure Pass:  Not Required.

Leader: Steve I.


Saturday, April 30, 2016 – ONE OF OUR BEST HIKES! – Fish Canyon to Piano Box Canyon, led by Dianne!

Distance:  ~ 8 Miles total (out and back)

Gain: ~ 500′

Hiking Time:  ~ 4 hours

Rating:   Moderate

Description:  This is an amazingly beautiful area containing 37 types of endangered species. It is prime yellow-legged frog and Arroyo Toad Habitat. Bring your camera. Not only is the area beautiful, but you might see some of the endangered species along the way. Please stay on the trails here, and watch where you step during the river crossings.  This is an 8 mile total, out and back hike, to Piano Box .

The hike starts on the asphalt road, moves onto a dirt road at the north end of Castaic lake and follows Fish Canyon.  The only major hill is the asphalt road coming back up to the cars.    It is fairly level the rest of the way.  The trail through Fish Canyon is interspersed with portions of the old cement road from the 1930s. Then we split off the main trail for the trail to Piano Box Canyon, a beautiful single track wooded trail.  We will snack and rest in Piano box and have ample time to enjoy the canyon walls of reddish/orange rock (see above) before returning.

Carpooling from Santa Clarita:   We will meet at the outside gate of Towsley Canyon at 7:15AM for a 7:30AM SHARP departure to the trail head (see below).  We will be carpooling to the trailhead above Castaic on I-5, about 30 minutes away.   Please be respectful of your driver’s support by contributing something at the end of your carpool to help defray the cost of gas.

Meeting your leader at the trail head:  Meet at the white gate at 8:00AM for an 8:15AM SHARP departure.

Bring:  Lunch, lots of water (2 – 3 liters), snacks, camera, hiking poles to help at water crossings are recommended.

Wear:  Layered clothing, hat, sunscreen, shoes with good tread, preferably water-proof.

It is currently looking unlikely but, if we expect water crossings due to conditions, we will update you on Meet Up.  When there are crossings, water shoes are recommended due to algae build up (and ‘cos there are 24 water crossings we may encounter, if the creek is running high). If you do not have water hikers, we suggest you wear boots or athletic shoes that can get wet and bring a change of shoes/socks in your car for the return trip home.

Adventure Pass: Not required.

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

Directions to Trail head:

Take the I-5 Freeway North from Santa Clarita. About 6 miles north of Lake Hughes/Castaic, exit at Templin Highway. Turn right at bottom of ramp. Follow this road all the way until it ends at a closed white gate/ concrete barrier. You can park along the road, leave nothing showing in your vehicle.  We will meet at the white gate.

Leader:  Dianne