Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park
- Location: Western San Fernando Valley. From the 118 Freeway, take the Highway 27/Topanga Canyon Blvd. exit and head south for a mile. Turn right on Andora Avenue, which becomes Valley Circle. After 1.2 miles, turn right on Lassen and make an immediate left to continue onto Andora. The signed trailhead is on the right side of the road just past the cemetery. From the south, take Topanga Canyon Blvd. 5.8 miles north from Highway 101 to Lassen. Turn left and follow Lassen 0.8 miles to Andora. Turn left and park at the signed trailhead, almost immediately on the right.
- Agency: Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park
- Distance: 3.2 miles
- Elevation gain: 800 feet
- Suggested time: 2 hours
- Difficulty rating: PG
- Best season: September – May
- USGS topo map: Oat Mountain; Santa Susana
- Recommended gear: sun hat; sunblock; insect repellent
- More information: Foundation for the Preservation of the Santa Susana Mountains (FPSSM) home page here; trip description here; Yelp page here; Everytrail report here
- Rating: 6
More than a century ago, the Old Stagecoach Road was the main route between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park commemorates this legacy while offering a network of trails with nice views of the San Fernando Valley, the Simi Hills and more. Clear day vistas include the San Gabriel Mountains, the Verdugos and Hollywood Hills.
The trail system is fairly new and somewhat informal, so don’t expect much in the way of signage. There are several possible routes on the network of trails crossing the park and the proximity to civilization makes it hard to get too lost. The route described here is a good workout with good views of the park and the surrounding area.
From the trailhead on Andora, follow the fire road into the park, passing under some oaks. The trail heads west and then north, entering an exposed area. Stay right at the first two junctions, and straight at a four-way intersection (0.5 miles.)
At 0.8 miles, shortly after passing a junction with a fire road, you reach another four-way intersection. Take a sharp left and begin climbing a single-track trail that follows the old stagecoach route. Keep an eye out for a reptilian-looking sandstone boulder on the right side of the trail.
At 1.1 miles, stay left at a junction and continue climbing. This trail, known as the Devil’s Slide (not to be confused with Idyllwild’s trail of the same name) is steep and somewhat rough, though not too difficult. You soon reach a tiled plaque (1.2 miles) marking the route of the stagecoach. The views here are panoramic and if you’re short on time, this isn’t a bad turnaround spot.
However, you can get an even better view less than half a mile farther. Continue past the plaque toward Lilac Lane, an alternate trailhead. Just before you reach the street, turn right and almost immediately left, climbing around the north side of a rocky knoll. As the road begins its descent toward the 118 Freeway, leave it and head east toward the peak, bushwhacking and boulder-hopping to the summit, where you can enjoy a great view of the San Fernando Valley.
Text and photography copyright 2014 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities. By reading this, you agree not to hold the author or publisher of the content on this web site responsible for any injuries or inconveniences that may result from hiking on this trail. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.