Tending The Wild

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Saturday, December 3, 2016 – Trail Canyon to Lazy Tom Lucas Camp

Hike Length: 6-7 miles Round Trip/ Out and back

Gain: ~1500′

Hiking Time: ~ 3.5 Hours

Rating: Moderate

Description: This a beautiful, barely used, single track trail that has been restored maintained by a local hiking club. The highlight of the hike is a 30′ waterfall (which may have some water), 2 miles up the canyon. The view of the falls is great from the trail, however, those who want to kick it up a notch can take a hike down to the bottom (if there is water) or climb to the top of the falls, by way of short side trails. The hike starts on a dirt road passing cabins. In a short distance the road changes into a single track trail and we cross Gold Creek a few times. One mile into the hike we leave the creek bed and follow switchbacks up to the left until the falls come into view. The canyon faces N/S and has good shade in the early morning until the sun breaks above the ridge line.

We follow the trail up Condor Canyon to Lazy Tom’s Camp (photo below) where we snack before turning around. Lazy Tom Lucas (or barefoot Tom) trail camp was named after one of the first rangers in the area. The “lazy” name is to differentiate this small camp from another that is further up the canyon (unfortunately now quite overgrown).

Meeting Your Leader/ Directions to Trail head: The trailhead is not too far from SCV, so you could go directly (directions below). We will start up the trail at 8:30 AM SHARP.

Carpooling from Santa Clarita Valley: From Valencia – take the I-5 South to the Calgrove Exit (the one after Lyons Avenue). Turn right at bottom of ramp.


From SFV etc. – take the I-5 North. After I-5/ I-14 split, stay in the right lane of the I-5 until the next exit – Calgrove Blvd. Turn left at the bottom of ramp, then go under freeway.

Both – Go through the traffic signal and immediately after, turn right into a driveway/ parking lot outside Towsley Canyon. Park OUTSIDE the gate and look for club members and leader here.

Meet at Towsley Canyon front parking area outside the gate at 7:30AM. We will leave at 7:45AM SHARP.

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 Canyon Trail head: Take the I-5 to the 210 Freeway East. Exit the 210 at Sunland Blvd and turn left. (Might be a good idea to visit a washroom while in town on Sunland, as there are none at the trailhead).

Keep your eyes open because in 0.9 miles, you will turn left at Oro Vista Ave. Drive 0.8 miles on Oro Vista through suburbia until the road bears right and becomes Big Tujunga Canyon Road. Drive 4.3 miles along Big Tujunga, paralleling the river bed. Watch for a turnout on the left into a dirt road/ white gate (Note: There is no sign to alert you to the turn). If the gate is locked, wait at the turnout, someone should come and unlock the gate on their way out.

Entry is at 4108 Big Tijunga Cyn Rd. (- 34°18’13.2″N 118°15’29.7″W). If you find you have just passed the Wildwood Picnic area, you have gone too far, turn around. On your way back there IS a sign pointing to the obscure entrance!

Once you are off Big Tujunga, drive up a short winding dirt road to a junction – bear right and drive carefully down into Trail Canyon. Park at the Trailhead under the oaks, near some wood cabins. There is plenty of parking at the trailhead but there are no restrooms.

We will start up the trail at 8:30 AM SHARP.

BRING: Hiking poles, if you have them, extra layer in case it gets hot/cold, lunch/snack, water (2 – 3L), a camera, hat and sunscreen. Wear long pants for this one as there can be poison oak in places!
Adventure Pass: Yes (just in case), 1/ car for those who drive. These can be obtained at any ranger station, REI Store, or BIG 5 Sporting Goods store; $5 for a day pass, $30 for a year pass.

Dogs: OK, on leash and if well behaved around people / other dogs. If you bring a dog, please drive yourself.

Leader: Steve I.

Saturday December 10, 2016 – “Figure of 6”: Elsmere Canyon, the Waterfall, 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 but this time we are going to try another new one. We will go up the center of the canyon and see the waterfall. 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 by the 14 Hwy. and up, up, up a steep track to a grassy overlook of the I-5 and SR-14 interchange. After a short picnic here, we pass through the beautiful higher meadowed regions of New Elsmere, down some country laneways and eventually through back along the creekside canyon 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, the new Elsmere purchase, and the new waterfall trail. (There may not be any water in the waterfall unless we’ve had recent rain).

Directions from Valencia: take I-5 south to the SR-14 North toward Palmdale.

Directions 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 an 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

Saturday December 17, 2016 – HOLIDAY SURPRISE – New Hike featuring BIG VIEWS

Distance: ~11 Miles RT (out and back), This hike is for experienced hikers.

Gain: Plenty and worth every foot

Hiking Time: ~ 5 hours

Rating: Difficult (for distance and oodles of gain on the way out)

Description: I hope this will become a future favorite in our inventory. All specs are estimates at this time. If you enjoyed the great expanse and uninterrupted views of Five Deer trail/ Artesian Springs, you will like the features of this hike.

Meet your Leader to Caravan / Carpool to the trailhead:


Directions from the 5 FWY East to meet at the Albertson’s Parking Lot (23850 Copper Hill Dr, Valencia, CA 91354)

From LA Direction/ Valencia: Take I-5 Freeway, heading North toward Castaic. Exit at Newhall Ranch Road (Route 126) and head to the top of the off ramp. Turn East (right) toward Valencia and drive for 1.5 miles East on Newhall Ranch Road to the next major intersection (Copper Hill Drive). Turn left at this light and travel 2.1 miles on Copper Hill Drive until you see a strip mall on the right with a large Albertson’s. Turn into the lot at the light (Avenida Rancho Tesoro) and park in the NE corner of the lot, closest to the lights/ intersection. Here we will organize carpools to caravan to the trailhead, about 25 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 – THX.

Meet your Leader: In the Albertson’s Supermarket Parking lot ( 23850 Copper Hill Dr, Valencia, CA 91354) at 7:15AM for a 7:30AM SHARP caravan departure.

Do not ask me for directions to the trailhead, that is part of the surprise!

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

Adventure Pass: Yes (just in case) 1/car. These can be obtained at any BIG 5 Sport­ing Goods store or ranger station; $5 for a day pass, $30 for a year pass.

BRING: Hiking Poles would be really helpful, lunch/snacks, at least 3L of water and some electrolytes, camera, hat and sunscreen. Wear long pants , hiking shoes/boots with good tread – No flip-flops!

Remember this is December – bring an extra layer (e.g. windbreaker) as it will be windy where we stop for lunch.

Leader: Steve I.

Saturday, December 24 2016 – Local Hike: East Canyon with a twist…

Distance: 6.5 miles out and back, with a twist

Gain: 1100′ gain

Rating: Moderate (for gain). Due to the relentless gain, this is not a Beginner’s hike – you do need to be in reasonable shape.

Description: Before you head to the mall for those final gifts, join us for a fairly short bur reasonably challenging hike. Everyone who hikes in SCV knows of and has probably visited Towsley Canyon many times but too few hikers have visited, or even know of, its much less congested close southern cousin – East Canyon. Here is a chance to discover this gem and…even if you have visited East Canyon before, we will share a little used new twist to this great trail.

This is a ~6.5 mile hike, up and down East Canyon with all the gain on the way up! The trail is beautiful, shaded in many parts, following a stream bed. Expect to see plenty of bird life, leaf color and views of the Santa Clarita Valley and points beyond.

This hike features mixed woodlands of big cone Douglas-fir, big leaf maple, coast live oak, California black walnut, native ash, and valley oak.

Meet your leader: At the entrance to East Canyon at 7:30AM for a 7:45AM SHARP departure up the trail. See detailed directions below.

Directions to East Canyon meeting spot:
Exit the I-5 freeway at Calgrove Blvd. Turn West and follow Calgrove around a curve and through one light. You will now be on The Old Road. Pass Towsley Cyn on the right; then a Post Office; followed by the Church of the Nazarene. Immediately after passing the Church, look for cars and park along the side of the Old Road, behind the white line. If you do park in the parking lot at the trailhead, you will have to pay the fee.

Bring: Lots of water, 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. If the day is cool, 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.