Saturday, March 19, 2016 - Choices - Short or Long
Option 1: Mentryville and Pico Canyon
Option 2: Mentryville and Pico Canyon, continuing up from the back of the canyon to the Pico Peak
Option 1: Rating/ Distance (Round Trip)/ Total Gain:
Easy /~4 miles total (out and back) / 200ft Gain
Description: The first 2 miles of the hike starts in the town of Mentryville, followed by a gradual climb on a paved road (no traffic though), until we reach Oil Well #4 at the back of the canyon. The well was owned by California Star Oil, later to become Standard Oil of California.
Along the way we will talk as we go about Mentryville, the history of Pico Canyon and the early oil industry in Santa Clarita Valley. This shorter hike ends after the 2 miles at the end of the canyon. Anyone who does not wish to continue up to the Peak with Steve can return along the asphalt service road to the parking lot the same way. This will give you a nice Easy 4 miles!
Option 2: Rating/ Distance (Round Trip)/ Total Gain:
Moderate / ~7.5 miles total (out and back) / 1200ft Total Gain
Description: After Well #4 at the back of the canyon, we start to climb the service road for another 2 miles, adding another 1000 ft. in gain giving us 1200 ft total gain getting to the peak. At the top there is a picnic table where we can have lunch/snack, and relax for a bit. The views from here are some of the best in Santa Clarita Valley (see above)!
On our return, about 2/3 the way back, we will take a detour down a different and more challenging but shorter trail back to Pico Canyon. We will pass interesting rock formations to arrive in Johnson Park. We pass a mock- up of an oil well (see photo below), an old saloon bar, and a dancing / recreation area used by the oil workers in the 1930's. From there, we walk back down the canyon and return to our vehicles.
Be at the parking area in Mentryville at 7:45 AM, for a 8:00 SHARP departure up the trail. There is a restroom at the trailhead.
Lots of water (2 - 3L), snacks, a camera, a hat and sunscreen. If going all the way to the top on the longer hike, you will need boots with plenty of thread as the trail is sandy and the return hike is down a narrow, steep trail. Poles are very helpful for this portion of the longer hike, if you have them. BRING $5 CHANGE FOR SELF-SERVE PARKING!
From Los Angeles , drive North toward Santa Clarita on the 5 Highway.
From Antelope Valley, etc. Follow the 14 Hwy South to where it intersects with Interstate 5. Be ready in right lane and turn North on the 5 (a big curve flyover), toward direction Santa Clarita/ Sacramento etc.
Both - A few miles North of the 5/14 interchange, look for lots of fast food/ gas etc. and exit on Lyons Avenue WEST ramp. Turn left and go over the 5 Highway. Keep going West until it becomes Pico Canyon (maybe 2 miles).
Continue on Pico Canyon as it narrows and ends at a green gate in front of the old town of Mentryville. Go over the bridge on the left and park close to the big pepper tree by the rest room, where we will meet. You must pay a $5 MRCA parking fee to park here.
If you wish to avoid the $5 fee, there may still be space outside Mentryville (back at a "Y" / turnout that you pass about 3/4 mile up the road) at no charge. You then have to walk in to meet us (extra hiking credit!). NOTE: If doing this, allow an additional 20 - 30 minutes for the walk in , we will leave Mentryville going West up the canyon road at 8:00 AM SHARP!!!
Leader: Steve I.