Hike Placerita Canyon

2 minute read

Placerita Canyon trail offers creek crossing, scenery canyon hiking, wildlife-watching, geological and historical interests.

Information:

– Distance: 4.8 miles out and back

– Difficulty: Easy

– Time: 1:45 hours

The trail starts next to the Placerita Canyon Nature Center. Traverse the creek and follow Placerita Creek upstream to Walker Ranch.

The trail to the Walker Ranch is marked with direction signs, so it’s easy to navigate (plus there is only one route to reach it). You will have alternative routes if you are looking for shorter or more challenging trails.

The first mile and a half walk along the creek and cross it seven times. There are stones and wood trucks to cross, so it’s not difficult. As it can be unsteady, especially after rainy days, I recommend a hiking stick and/or hiking shoes. Note: I hiked it after a rainy week in L.A. The creek will probably be dry in the summertime.

Creek crossing

Note: watch out for poison oak.

Poison Oak

At 1.75 miles, you will smell an unpleasant and strong crude oil. Look closely to see a pool of bubbling white oil out of the ground. This white oil is a rare geologic feature. This highly refined oil, filtered by layers of sediments, is said to burn longer and brighter than kerosene. In 1900, the New Century Oil Co. drilled wells in the canyon, but it didn’t work as expected. They went bankrupt two years later. 

There are multiple benches along the trail and a large picnic area at the end.

Walker Ranch with the large picnic area

Walker Ranch is the end of the Canyon trail. Unfortunately, the intersection leading to the 15-foot waterfall trail is closed since the San Fire in 2014.

This stone fireplace is the remaining of Frank Walker’s unfinished larger house. Mid-1920s, he built a summer cabin, then a house for his family. They created the “Walker’s Placerita Camp,” a ranch offering outdoor activities. In 1959, he sold his property to the State of California.

Finally, retrace your steps to access the parking lot.

Article based on my hike in January 2022.


*COVID-19 update as of May 2022*

  • Please practice a physical distance of 6 feet between yourself and others.
  • Please check L.A. County’s health and safety protocols before your hike.

Address:  Placerita Canyon State Park, 19152 Placerita Canyon Rd. Newhall, CA 91321

Tips:

– I recommend hiking early morning to avoid heat

– Park open from 8 AM – 7:30 PM

– Parking: free parking lot

– Grab water, hiking or tennis shoes, and sun cream

– More information at https://parks.lacounty.gov/placerita-canyon-state-park/

Ready to hike Placerita Canyon?

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