A good hike in the Santa Clarita area with several interesting things to see. The one issue I have is that approximately 70% of this hike is on paved road. The feel of the hike is typical for this area, that is it has a sort of industrial feel with it’s history of ranching and oil production.
There is a $5 parking fee, self paid. The parking lot is right next to Mentryville, a now deserted little town that once housed families who worked in the oil business. There are several structures and lots of old rusted equipment. I started down the paved road. This section is in very good shape and must have been newly paved within the last decade. After about a mile I arrived at Johnson Park, a picnic area that was once used by the oil company families. Today there are lots of sturdy looking picnic tables and a couple of BBQ grills. Looks like a good place for a family reunion.
I heard something fall from the derrick and looked up to see this squirrel checking me out. I think he tried to drop an acorn on my head.
At the end of the nicely paved road are a couple of plaques marking Pico #4, the west coast’s first commercially productive and longest pumping oil well. The well was active between the years of 1876 – 1990.
Right after Pico #4 the road makes a hairpin turn and heads up the mountain on a road that is about 50% paved, 50% dirt. However, there is also a rough, abandoned paved road that breaks off to the right which I took time to explore. The spur trail is quite overgrown and the pavement is in pretty bad shape. Watch out for poison oak growing across the trail.
The trail lifted me up above the canyon.
From above the canyon, I love the look of that ridge on the left, like serrated knife edge.
I found myself right above the little tree I spotted coming up the trail. You can see the nicely paved road running down the middle and the 50/50 dirt to pavement road running up into the hills on the right.
From elevation I spotted the twisted steel of Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park. The tallest structure is the 400+ foot Superman roller coaster.
The road ends at a flat spot. There’s this trailer – I assume a weather station. Also, an old sign marking another oil well. At the far end of this flat area is a single picnic table which I used to rest and eat lunch. There is a narrow trail that continues on from this point another two miles, or so. I wandered out for a ways before turning around. It looks kind of scary but it felt solid.
Photo 1 – Orb-tenna on top of Oat Mountain Photo 2 – I began my hike back. Take note, the trails here have little shade during the mid-afternoon hours.
Thank you, Pico Canyon