Difficulty G Distance 0 to 2 miles General information: Cellular Service General information: Dogs allowed General information: Hikes with free parking Rating: 4-6 Santa Clarita Valley and Desert Gateway Season: Fall/Early Winter Season: Late Winter/Spring

Rivendale Park and Open Space (Santa Clarita)


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  • Location: Santa Clarita, adjacent to Towsley Canyon/Ed Davis Park. From I-5, take exit 166 for Calgrove Blvd. Head south on Calgrove Blvd. (turn left if you are coming from L.A.; right if from the north) and head south for 0.4 mile (Calgrove Blvd. becomes The Old Road). The parking area is on your right. Park in the small lot signed for Rivendale Park and Open Space.
  • Agency: City of Santa Clarita
  • Distance: 1.7 miles
  • Elevation gain: 250 feet
  • Difficulty Rating: G
  • Suggested time: 1 hour
  • Best season: Year round but hot during the summer
  • Dogs: Allowed on leash (exercise caution on warm days)
  • Cell phone reception: Good
  • Water: None
  • Restrooms: None
  • Camping: None
  • More information: Here
  • Rating: 4

Located next to larger and more famous Ed Davis Park and the Towsley Canyon trail system, Rivendale Park and Open Space is one of Santa Clarita’s newer outdoor areas, designated since the 1990s but officially open since 2015. The 1.7-mile Elder Loop Trail is the first “complete” trail in the park, climbing a ridge to the north of Towsley Canyon and providing some nice views of the surrounding mountains and suburbs. To be sure, the trail never really escapes the noise from I-5 as the routes that go deeper into Towsley Canyon do, but this park is still a good spot to keep in mind on warm days or when you are short on time.

Hiking the loop clockwise, as described below, allows you to get the least interesting part of the route out of the way first. Begin by heading west on Towsley Canyon Road for half a mile. At an auxiliary parking area, look for the signed Elder Loop Trail. It makes a hairpin right turn and begins its climb from the canyon. As you get deeper into the folds of the canyon, the freeway noise starts to lessen. A few switchbacks bring you to the top of the ridge. At a large oak tree, there is a junction with the Taylor Trail on the left. This segment of the still in progress (as of November, 2017) Taylor Trail goes 0.3 miles north to a service road, an option if you want to extend the hike. The Taylor Trail is coterminous with the dirt road for a short distance before ducking into a neighboring canyon and reaching a constructed but yet-to-be-opened parking area, requiring you to either retrace your steps or endure a not-fun 0.7 mile walk along the Old Road to return to the trail head.

The Elder Loop continues along the ridge, soon taking in some panoramic views of the Santa Clarita Valley. You reach a Y-junction with the Taylor Trail. Either route will get you back to the parking lot. The views on the 0.4 mile segment of the Elder Trail are more panoramic but the 0.3 mile stretch of the Taylor Trail, which drops through a tributary of Towsley Canyon is quieter.

Rivendale Park and Open Space, Santa Clarita, CA
Cottonwood tree on Towsley Canyon Road
Elder Loop Trail, Santa Clarita, CA
Start of the Elder Loop Trail
Rivendale Park and Open Space, Santa Clarita, CA
Deer on the hills above the Elder Trail
Rivendale Park and Open Space, Santa Clarita, CA
Oak tree on the ridge at the upper junction with the Taylor 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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