This is a new area above Castaic to explore, that is surrounded by steep topography in the Los Padres Forest and private ranch property northwest of the Santa Clarita Valley. On this route, we will follow dirt roads, fire breaks along ridgelines, and river beds to make connections that would create a lollipop loop rather than an out and back. All off-trail hiking will be ascending and descending steep ridgelines and it will be mostly through semi-open grassy terrain, so bush-wacking would be minimal, but there will be bush-wacking. One thing I can guarantee is as long as we have a clear, cloudless day; the visuals from the ridgelines will have stunning panoramic views of the Santa Clarita Valley, the southeastern region of the Los Padres National Forest and the northwestern region of the Angeles National Forest. On the section that has yet to be scouted, we should have views of Lake Piru and perhaps the elusive Devil’s Gateway. The second-half, exploratory portion of the hike will make the hike easier and more interesting than the original-scouted hike.
Distance: 10 to 12 miles.
Elevation Gain: 2,000 to 2,500 feet. The elevation will be at the beginning and mostly on the way back.
Difficulty: Moderately difficult.
Level: Advanced beginners are welcome.
Pace: Between 2 to 2.5 miles per hour on the dirt roads, slower on steep fire breaks, and very slow when we go off-trail. We will need to keep the group together, so all tigers will need to regroup at all junctions.
What to Bring: Minimum 2 liters of water, lunch and snacks. Wear appropriate foot wear to help with the steep terrain. Hiking poles should be useful if you have them. Also, dress in layers to adjust for possible changing weather conditions.
Meeting Place and Time: Intersection of Templin Hwy and Golden State Hwy (roughly 5 miles north of Lake Hughes Road in Castaic) at 8:00 am.
Earlier Meeting Place and Time: Corner of Leonora St and Ponce Av in Woodland Hills at 7:15 am. No host will be there, so participants will have to arrange their carpooling. Please be willing to drive and have a full tank of fuel. Riders please be willing to share in the cost of the fuel.
Directions to the trailhead from Woodland Hills: Take the US-101 East/South, I-405 North, and I-5 North all the way through the Santa Clarita Valley. Go up the grade above Castaic and take the first exit, which is Templin Hwy. Make a left turn and go just pass the freeway to Golden State Hwy. Make a left and park on the east side of the road.
This hike has the potential to be brilliant, but it is still a work-in-progress.