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SCVNews.com | Opinion/Commentary: ABCs of the SCV: H is for Hiking | 03-02-2013
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The Good Long Road | Commentary by Jennifer Fischer
| Saturday, Mar 2, 2013

JenniferFischerWe’re more than one-quarter of the way through the ABCs of the Santa Clarita Valley  with Animals, Bicycle Trails, Central Park, Drums, Education, Family Dinner and Golf. Next up is one of my favorite aspects of Santa Clarita: Hiking.

I love all of the amazing hiking possibilities that exist in the Santa Clarita Valley and am really excited to share some of our favorite hiking spots. First up is definitely Placerita Canyon Nature Center, which I love because it offers so many different trails – from short trails that are great for little ones, like my boys, to longer trails for adults and older kids.

Plus, the Nature Center itself offers valuable educational opportunities about the wildlife and history of the area. Every Saturday at 11 a.m., Placerita hosts a Family Nature Walk and has a live animal show at 1 p.m. (also free). Plus, every second Saturday, there is a Bird Walk at 8 a.m. with Wildflower walks every fourth Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Another hiking favorite I discovered when training for a trail run a few years ago is Towsley Canyon. Its loop is medium-level in terms of difficulty, particularly if you run it, but it also offers breathtaking views and a variety of trail types that keep the hike or jog interesting.

The writer's son, Sky, hikes in Placerita Canyon.

The writer’s son, Sky, hikes in Placerita Canyon.

Towsley also has Bird and Wildflower walks coming up with a Bird Walk on March 16 at 8 a.m., and a Wildflower walk on March 23 at 1 p.m. Towsley is located at 24335 The Old Road.

Towsley by far was my favorite hike when I was training. For some reason, I just absolutely loved it.

A hike I would like to explore is the Piru Creek Trail, which goes along one of the few remaining year-round free flowing rivers in Southern California. If you do the full hike from Frenchman’s Flat to Lake Piru, it is 14 miles, so you will need to have ample time (and water and food) for the hike, but many people enjoy hiking up for a few miles and then heading back down the trail.

To get there, drive north on Interstate 5 from Los Angeles through Santa Clarita past Castaic. Take the off-ramp to Templin Highway, proceed under the freeway and then turn left until you come to a T. Go right, following the route of the old highway that was replaced by I-5. After about five miles, the road ends beside Piru Creek at a place called Frenchman’s Flat where the road has been transformed into a parking lot. (You do need an Angeles National Forest Adventure Pass to park.)

A great resource that lays out (by difficulty) all of the trails in the SCV that are available for hiking can be found through the Santa Clarita Guide. Many of the easy trails in the area, which are best for kids, are at Placerita Nature Center – the best spot, in my opinion, for family hikes.

With Spring just around the corner, it is the perfect time to start planning a family hike. It’s a fun, free way to spend some quality time together as a family in the great outdoors.

 

Jennifer Fischer is co-founder of the SCV Film Festival, a mom of two, an independent filmmaker and owner of Think Ten Media Group, whose Generation Arts division offers programs for SCV youth. She writes about her parenting journey on her blog, The Good Long Road. Her commentary is published Saturdays on SCVNews.com.

 

 

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