Newhall Pass Open Space, Santa Clarita, CA

Newhall Pass Open Space

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  • Location: There are two trail heads, both off of the Old Road. This write-up assumes a start from the northern trail head. The approximate address is 23110 The Old Road, Newhall, CA 91231. From Valencia, take I-5 south to Calgrove Blvd./exit 166. Bear right and follow Calgrove Blvd, which becomes the Old Road, for a total of 1.9 miles. The trail head is on the left side of the road, just after you cross under the freeway. From the 14 Freeway, take the exit for I-5 south but follow the signs for the Old Road. Bear right to exit the freeway for the Old Road and then turn right onto the Old Road and follow it 1.4 miles to the trail head. From the south, take 5 Freeway to Roxford St. Turn left, cross the freeway and turn right onto Sepulveda. Follow Seuplveda for 1.1 miles to San Fernando Rd. Bear left and follow San Fernando Rd., which becomes the Old Road, for 3.4 mile. The trail head will be on the right. For directions to the southern trail head, click here.
  • Agency: City of Santa Clarita
  • Distance: 4.4 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1,050 feet
  • Difficulty Rating: PG
  • Suggested time: 2 hours
  • Best season: September – May
  • Dogs: Allowed on leash (exercise caution on warm days)
  • Cell phone reception: Good (fair in some spots)
  • Water: None
  • Restrooms: None
  • Camping: None
  • Recommended gear: insect repellent hiking poles sun hat
  • More information: Article about Newhall Pass Open Space here
  • Rating: 6

In June of 2017, the City of Santa Clarita acquired 240 acres of land just north of the 5/14 freeway interchange. The Newhall Pass Open Space offers a challenging hike with panoramic views of the San Fernando Valley, Santa Clarita Valley, Santa Susana Mountains and western San Gabriels. As might be expected, the hike’s proximity to the freeways makes traffic noise hard to ignore, but considering that the area was once slated for a housing development, it’s hard to complain. Its convenient location to both the Santa Clarita and San Fernando Valleys make the Newhall Pass Open Space a valuable outdoor resource, one that is sure to become a hit among local hikers in the years to come.

The hike can be done several ways: as an out-and-back with big ascents and descents in both directions, as a point-to-point with a short car shuttle or as a loop, requiring a 1.2-mile return along the shoulder of the Old Road. This write-up assumes an out-and-back hike starting from the north trail head, getting the biggest single climb of the route out of the way sooner. Begin by following the unsigned single-track trail heading southwest from the parking lot, briefly paralleling the Old Road before dipping into a pleasant, oak-shaded canyon and meeting a fire road. Head right and begin a steady ascent, in and out of shade, enjoying a bird’s eye view of the 5 Freeway. After passing a gate at 0.6 mile, stay left at the next two intersections and continue your ascent to a clearing near the top of the ridge with views on both sides. A little more climbing (now on the opposite side of the ridge, away from traffic noise) brings you to the high point of the route, about 2,200 feet above sea level and an ideal place to stop and catch your breath. If you are short on time, this is a good turnaround point.

From here the trail descends gradually, continuing to follow the ridge. At 1.7 mile, you make a brief climb to a knoll on the south edge of the ridge marked by a cell phone tower, just above the 5/14 interchange. From here, an oak-shaded paved road takes you steadily downhill, dropping 300 feet in half a mile to reach the trail’s southern terminus. A few log benches line the parking lot and a giant oak provides some shade. Other than the occasional car passing by on the Old Road this is a tranquil place to stop and rest before retracing your steps back up to the ridge.

Newhall Pass Open Space, Santa Clarita, CA
Start of the hike from the north trail head
Newhall Pass Open Space, Santa Clarita Valley, CA
Geology near the top of the Newhall Pass trail
Newhall Pass Open Space, Santa Clarita, CA
Looking east from the trail near the high point
Newhall Pass Open Space, Santa Clarita, CA
Makeshift bench beneath an oak at the southern end of the trail

Text and photography copyright 2017 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.

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