- Location: The Old Road, Santa Clarita. Take Interstate 5 to Calgrove Blvd. (exit 166). Head southwest on Calgrove Blvd. (turn left if you are coming from the south; right if you are coming from the north). Make the first right onto The Old Road. The signed trail head will be on the left in half a mile, but since there is no light and opposing traffic is steady, you may have to go another half mile to Lyons Ranch Road and make a U-turn to be safe.
- Agency: City of Santa Clarita/Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (Ed Davis Park at Towsley Canyon)
- Distance: 5.3 miles
- Elevation gain: 900 feet
- Difficulty Rating: PG
- Suggested time: 2.5 hours
- Best season: September – June
- Dogs: Allowed on leash (exercise caution on warm days)
- Cell phone reception: Good at the trail head and near the Towsley Canyon parking lot; weak to none for the rest of the route
- Water: None
- Restrooms: Chemical toilets at the Towsley Canyon picnic area near the start of the Elder Trail
- Camping: None
- More information: Rivendale trail map here; Canyon View Loop trail map here; Canyon View Loop elevation profile here
- Rating: 6
Updated October 2018
This enjoyable and scenically varied hike explores both Rivendale Open Space, one of Santa Clarita’s newer park lands (2015) and the Canyon View Loop in the larger, more famous Ed Davis park. The Canyon View Loop is sometimes overlooked for the longer and more challenging Towsley Canyon Loop, but when combined with the trails of Rivendale Open Space, it makes for an appreciable workout with some impressive views of the Santa Clarita Valley.
There are several options to lengthen or shorten this loop as you see fit. This hike starts at the new Taylor Trail Head, less crowded than the main trail head farther south on the Old Road that also serves Towsley Canyon. Follow the Taylor Trail west into a shallow canyon, bear right at a Y-fork and begin climbing to the top of a ridge. One quarter mile from the start, the trail drops down into another canyon where a few scattered oaks provide some shade. After meandering along the canyon floor for a while, the trail bends south and makes a sharp climb up the south wall. You follow the ridge to a T-junction, 1.2 miles from the start.
Turn left and follow the trail as it skirts the south facing side of the ridge, providing views of the 5 Freeway and nearby foothills. This trail is both part of the Elder Loop (your return route) and the Taylor Trail. You soon reach another Y-junction. Bear right on the Taylor Trail which drops quickly off the ridge (staying left, on the Elder Loop, will also get you down the ridge but you will be subjected to more traffic noise.)
At 1.7 miles from the start, you reach the dirt road leading from the parking lot into Towsley Canyon, where you will likely be joined by numerous other hikers. Head right (west) to a junction with the Canyon View Trail. If you are short on time or if the day is exceptionally warm, you can cut your hike short by continuing up the road to the Elder Loop Trail and taking it back to the Taylor Trail junction for a 4.2 mile hike. However, the Canyon View Trail is a worthwhile excursion – providing the best views of this route.
Head southwest on the wide path, reaching a junction in 0.3 mile. Ambitious hikers can do the entire Towsley Canyon Loop by staying straight (you will probably see hikers returning from having done this loop counter-clockwise). To return to the Elder Loop, however, head right and begin ascending the Canyon View Trail. The trail climbs quickly, picking up about 400 feet as it reaches a narrow ridge. Here you can enjoy dramatic views of Towsley Canyon and Wiley Canyon far below as well as the more distant western peaks of the San Gabriels. The trail drops off the ridge, returning to the Towsley Canyon Trail at a picnic area where you can rest for the last two ascents of the trip.
Continue on the Elder Trail which climbs the north wall of Towsley Canyon. At 4.1 miles from the start you return to the junction with the Taylor Trail. Turn left and retrace your steps back to the trail head.
Text and photography copyright 2018 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.
Nice photos but why no map?
I’m fairly familiar with this area but folks new to it could get very confused.
Hi Deanna, thanks for reading and I’m glad you enjoyed the photos. As for the map, I usually try to include links to maps of the hiking areas whenever available (as opposed to embedding them in the text, which can slow down the site’s loading speed). I see that I had forgotten to include them on this hike write-up when I revised it, so I went back and added links to maps of both areas that this hike goes through.