Those up for the challenge will encounter beautiful views and a bit of Santa Clarita history.
In our hectic daily lives, we sometimes overlook the beauty and history of our surroundings. While there are plenty of things to do here in Santa Clarita, sometimes it’s nice to take a step into nature and enjoy what makes this valley so great. The City of Santa Clarita has in recent years gone to great lengths to establish an organized system of trails and how to get to them. Their Hike Santa Clarita program offers plenty of information on our many trails, pathways, and hikes. Some very easy, and some more challenging. In this case, Elsmere Canyon is one of Santa Clarita’s best hiking loops, where you can enjoy a variety of terrain, incredible views of the valley, and even see some of the SCV’s past.
The Elsmere Canyon Loop can be found at the south end of Newhall Avenue. The street dead-ends just south of Highway 14. You can park in the Park n Ride lot where parking is available. Enter the trail head located near the Whitney Canyon Park sign.
The entire loop is just over 6 miles, with some uphill climbs, along with some slightly steep switchback trails near the last mile. However it is not impossible for those with limited hiking experience, although it is strongly suggested that you wear shoes that are rugged enough for various types of terrain including hard soil, asphalt, soft dirt, and after it rains, water from the creek bed.
The trail takes you through the south end of the Santa Clarita Valley, and loops upward to the dividing line between the SCV and the San Fernando Valley. From there you’ll see incredible views that include the 5/14 freeway interchange, and on a clear day, you’ll take in portions of both valleys at once. Occasionally after heavy rainstorms, you may encounter some waterfalls.
On the downhill side, the trail takes you along portions of a roadway that is no longer in use. You’ll also see caves along the way, and antique pieces of equipment from oil drilling that took place a century ago.
Overall, the average hike lasts just under 3 hours. It’s best to go in the cooler morning hours, as there is very little shade especially once you begin your ascent up the hill. Trail is accessible on foot, horseback, or non-motorized bicycles, so you have a variety of ways to enjoy.