Placerita Canyon Trail

Placerita Canyon State Park, California

Elevation Gain15ft
Trailhead Elevation1,538ft
Elevation Min/Max1526/1538ft
Elevation Start/End1538/1538ft

Placerita Canyon Trail

Placerita Canyon Trail is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in Los Angeles County, California. It is within Angeles National Forest and Placerita Canyon State Park. It is two miles long and begins at 1,538 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 0.1 miles with a total elevation gain of 15 feet. The Oak of the Golden Dream tree is near the trailhead. There are also parkings. Along the trail there is a viewpoint. This trail connects with the following: Old Road Grade and Los Pinetos Trail.

Placerita Canyon Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"This unique loop is like two hikes in one. The first half is a challenging, shadeless crawl up steep firebreaks with stunning views of the rugged terrain while the second half meanders through the creek-fed riparian woodlands in Los Pinetos Canyon. This trail also features old ranch land, one of the best nature centers in the region, and the site of California’s first gold rush."

"Barely 10 minutes’ drive from northern San Fernando Valley and the sprawling suburban city of Santa Clarita, Placerita Canyon Park nestles comfortably at the foot of one of the more verdant slopes of the San Gabriel Mountains. A very civilized nature center housing exhibits on local history, pre-history, geology, plants, and wildlife complements the park’s wild backcountry sector (the subject of this hike)."

"This wonderful area in Santa Clarita features a gentle creek with lush shrubbery, grasses, colorful flowers, and sycamore trees. You can shorten the run and turn around at Walker Ranch 2 miles from the trailhead after exploring the waterfall, or enjoy an invigorating run up Los Piñetos Trail to see lovely views of the Santa Clarita Valley. The area is full of birds, small lizards, squirrels, and foxes. The campground at the trailhead has nature and gold mining exhibits and a large picnic area with short hiking trails the entire family can enjoy."

"Placerita Canyon has a gentleness that is rare in the steep, severely faulted San Gabriel Mountains. A superb nature center, plus a walk through the oak- and sycamore-shaded canyon adds up to a nice outing for the whole family. In 1842, seven years before the ’49ers rushed to Sutter’s Mill, California’s first gold rush occurred in Placerita Canyon. Legend has it that herdsman Francisco Lopez awoke from his nap beneath a large shady oak tree, during which he had dreamed of gold and wealth. During the more mundane routine of fixing his evening meal, he dug up some onions to spice his supper and there, clinging to the roots, were small gold nuggets. Miners from all over California, the San Fernando Placers, as they became known, poured into Placerita Canyon. The prospecting was good, though not exceptional, for several years. The spot where Lopez made his discovery is now called the Oak of the Golden Dream. A plaque marks his find."

"This flat trail near Santa Clarita follows a seasonal stream past wildflowers, coastal sage scrub, and scores of charred trees stripped by the wildfires that swept through the area in 2003. Located at the western end of the San Gabriel Mountains, Placerita is an east–west canyon with a seasonal stream, chaparral- and manzanita covered hills, and about 12 miles of hiking trails.

Now run by the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation, much of the property once operated as a ranch belonging to a pioneer named Frank Walker and his family. Its picnic area and well-marked trails make it a popular weekend spot for families from the Antelope and Santa Clarita Valleys. Be sure to stop by the renovated nature center and pick up a map before setting off on the hike. To get to Walker Ranch via Canyon Trail, cross the seasonal stream at the south end of the parking lot and walk up the dirt path to a brown trail sign. The trail is lined with small boulders and parallels the stream to the left."

Placerita Canyon Trail Reviews

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Great trail, nice and scenic with a great little stream.... will be hitting this one very often.
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This trail is great for family hiking/walking because it is flat most of the way. There is also letterboxing along this trail if you are into that ( We went in January and the weather was wonderful and although there was not much water it was still a great day.

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Trail Information

Placerita Canyon State Park
Nearby City
Placerita Canyon State Park
Dog-friendly, Kid-friendly
Moderate to Difficult
Skill Level
Placerita Canyon State Park and Placerita Canyon Nature Center
Local Contacts
USGS San Fernando
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Oct 2018