Central Park (Santa Clarita)
- Location: 27150 Bouquet Canyon Road, Santa Clarita. From I-5, take the Valencia Blvd. exit and head east for 2.5 miles. Turn left on to Bouquet Canyon Road and go 1.5 miles. The park will be on the right. From the Antelope Valley, take the 14 Freeway south to the Golden Valley Road exit. Turn right and go 3.7 miles. Stay straight to get onto Newhall Ranch Road and go another 1.8 miles to Bouquet Canyon Road. Turn right and go 1.1 miles to the park entrance. Follow the main road in the park to its southern end where parking is available. The cross-country trail begins next to marker #13 on the disc golf course.
- Agency: City of Santa Clarita
- Distance: 3.1 miles
- Elevation gain: 300 feet
- Suggested time: 1.5 hours (plus time for optional Central Bark visit)
- Difficulty rating: PG
- Best season: October – June
- USGS topo map: Newhall
- Recommended gear: sun hat
- More information: Yelp page here; Map My Hike report here
- Rating: 3
Santa Clarita’s Central Park might not provide the taste of wilderness found in some of the city’s other open spaces, but the 3.1 mile loop in and around the park is still an enjoyable and varied hike. The entire route is more like four small loops. This post describes the loop hiked counter-clockwise, as listed on the Hike Santa Clarita website. Hikers short on time might want to just visit the western and southern loops, which are the most interesting; this would cut the total distance by about a mile.
From the end of the parking area, head north on a wide dirt path. This first section of the loop is the least interesting as it follows the perimeter of an athletic field, although a community garden near the north end adds some interest and on the return leg, willows by the banks of Bouquet Creek (a restoration project by the city currently in progress) add a buffer from the nearby street noise.
At 0.8 miles, you reach a junction. Here, the western loop (0.5 miles) begins, providing some nice views of the nearby neighborhoods and a semblance of solitude. After completing this loop, head east toward Central Bark, a fun place for dog owners to reward their canine hikers after the trip is done. The route climbs up the ridge above the dog park, reaching a junction in 1.8 miles. Head uphill, making the only major climb of this route, and reach a T-junction at the top of the ridge. Turn right and begin the 0.4 mile southern loop. This is the most enjoyable part of the trip; you’ll get nice views of the Santa Susana Mountains, the Santa Clarita Divide and more.
After completing the loop, retrace your steps downhill to the trail and continue north along the main trail. Just before you reach a service road, the trail makes a hairpin left turn and heads back south toward Central Bark, then back to the parking area.
Text and photography copyright 2015 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.