We've hit this loop before, but never quite this way- backwards! We're also starting from a different point! AND, I promise some segments we've never done before! Read below, and you'll see that this 8 mile loop is packed with history worthy of the seemingly superfluous exclamation points. 1800' of elevation gain ensures you get a workout.
Starting from the Rocky Peak trailhead, we'll descend through an animal passage to Corriganville. After circling through the former amusement park, we'll climb back up to the Santa Susanna Pass, then down again along the Stagecoach Trail. We'll cross through Chatsworth Park, exchanging rumors as to why it's closed, then cross over the railroad tracks atop another tunnel. The stretch run is a helter skelter romp on dirt road and single track back up to Rocky Peak.
The Chatsworth side is exposed, so prepare accordingly for sun; the Simi side is mostly shaded. Some of the trails get tight in the brush, so I recommend long pants or zip pants if you have them. I also recommend hiking poles if you like to use them- there are spots you'll want them.
Now here's that history you were promised:
The Stagecoach Trail was once the route of conveyance from LA to San Francisco. A rough-hewn path was carved out of the sandstone by hand, and pins were pounded in along the way so block and tackle could be used to ease coaches up and down the steep, precarious slope (so precarious, part of it was named Devil's Slope). Pick marks and pin holes can still be seen in the rock, as can grooves from countless wheels making the journey. I promise you will be amazed that this boulder-strewn trail was once a major artery of travel.
Even more fascinating is Corriganville. Founded on land Ray Corrigan, a silent movie cowboy, scouted on hunting trips with Clark Gable, Corriganville soon became a thriving movie lot. 3500 films were shot on the grounds, including The African Queen, Tarzan, The Creature From the Black Lagoon, and Robin Hood. When the film industry moved to other spots, Corrigan returned to his roots and converted the still-standing western sets into a wild west tourist attraction. He recruited his old movie buddies and they performed all manner of cowboy stunts for customers, culminating in a shoot out. Numerous fires wiped out the sets over time, but the foundations remain, as well as the rock Tarzan used to dive from, the water trough the Creature swam in, and other Hollywood artifacts. The land has been converted to a public park, but is still used for filming now and then (an episode of Bones was being filmed one time I was there).
One of the best features of Corriganville is an array of 15 or 20 placards set up around the grounds, educating on not only the films and personalities that gave the area color, but on the flora, fauna, geology, and local history, like the making of the 118 and the Amtrak train tunnel we'll be passing over on our return.
Park at Exit 32 (Rocky Peak Rd) on the 118, at the Santa Susanna Pass between Chatsworth and Simi Valley. There's a large dirt lot on the south side of the 118, on Santa Susanna Rd. Park there, then cross the 118 to the small lot on the north side.
DISCLAIMER / RELEASE OF LIABILITY
The hike host is a volunteer and not responsible for the group. Safety should be a priority for everyone in the group. Please treat this meet-up as hiking with a group of friends. If you become fatigued and unable to continue the hike, it is expected you will advise the hike host of this and return to our starting point on your own. If you are able to proceed, it is expected that you will maintain line of sight with other members of the group at all times and help to promote the group’s safety and fitness goals.
Outdoor sports and other events we plan can be inherently dangerous and accidents may happen. By participating in any posted event, you are taking responsibility for your own safety and well-being. The Weekday Trailblazers Meetup Group and its organizers are not trained leaders and we do not confirm the qualifications of any of its members to lead or participate in trips. All participants take full responsibility for their own actions.
If you choose to sign up for this or any Weekday Trailblazers Meetup event, you are releasing the Weekday Trailblazers Meetup Group, its organizers, and sponsors from all liability in case of possible injuries. Your personal safety depends on your own judgment and experience.
All participants must be 18 or older, or accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.