August 27th – Devil Canyon to Brown’s Canyon Road

  • IMG_2164
    IMG_1664
    IMG_1665
    IMG_1667
    IMG_1683
    IMG_1691
    IMG_1695
    IMG_1705

View more photos →

28 hikers met at the starting point of the hike on Poema Place in Chatsworth on an unusually cool, but welcome, summer morning.  Our hike began as we descended into the heavily shaded bottom of Devil Canyon where we followed the remnants of the Devil Canyon Motorway upstream as it frequently crisscrossed the dry creek bed. 

show more

We spotted Chalk Live-Forever plants and beautiful “Naked Ladies” (aka. Surprise Lily) as we made our way up to the large dam at the junction with the mouth of Ybarra Canyon.  After a brief rest break we continued upstream along the trail which from this point on had been transformed a couple of years ago from single-track to a “one-lane” dirt road [the reason for this not being apparent though several short dirt “side roads” had also been created].  As the canyon widened we passed by grass-covered hillsides dotted with oak trees.  As we reached the upper-canyon Cathedral-like oak woodland, the trail reverted to its natural undisturbed state.  Upon reaching Brown’s Canyon Road we turned right (east) and hiked a short distance uphill where we took a break and enjoyed views to the south.  We retraced our route back to our vehicles and returned home having completed a very pleasant 9.7-mile hike with about 1,200’ of elevation gain/loss.

show less

August 20th – Johnson Motorway to Chumash Trail Shuttle

  • IMG_2129
    IMG_2126
    IMG_2127
    IMG_2128
    IMG_2131
    IMG_2132
    IMG_2137
    IMG_2139

View more photos →

13 hikers carpooled to the trailhead on Iverson Road just outside the gated southern entrance to Indian Springs Estates in Chatsworth on an already warm summer morning. After following the easement through the upscale gated community, we reached the beginning of the unpaved Johnson Motorway (once a toll road).

show more

The trail (an old dirt and sandstone roadbed) rose westward until it met a short “driveway” leading north to the ruins of the ranch house that was built by Ann and Neils Johnson (for whom the motorway is named) in the late 1800’s. Continuing our hike we followed the Johnson Motorway as it passed through a landscape of dramatic rock formations, climbing steadily, but not steeply, toward the Rocky Peak Fire Road; the temperature also climbed steadily as the sun beat down on us mercilessly. After 3.5 miles we reached the fire road where we took a short break. We then headed northward along the Rocky Peak Fire Road enjoying views of the boulder-laden landscape at the eastern end of Simi Valley, soon reaching the upper end of the Chumash Trail which we followed down to the northeast end of Flanagan Drive where we left most of our vehicles. Having finished our one-way hike, we returned home having completed a 6.9-mile hike with 1,334’ of elevation gain and 1,499’ of elevation loss.

show less

August 13th  –  Newton Canyon and the Backbone Trail

View more photos →

Twelve hikers, met at the Donut Delite parking lot and carpooled to the Newton Canyon Trailhead, where we met one more hiker from Thousand Oaks. The Newton Canyon trail follows a segment of the Backbone Trail, known for its extensive riparian canopy. It is the shade, provided by this canopy, that makes this hike a good choice in the hot Summer months.

show more

A quick spot check with NOAA weather indicated that the forecast trailhead temperature, near the end our our hike, would be about 90 degrees. Humidity was high today, so the comfort window was short. As it turned out, NOAA’s forecast was almost spot on.  There were no wildflowers in evidence, except a smattering of Cliff Asters, Wand Chicory, and Cudweed Aster. The car’s AC felt especially good, having completed 7 miles, and a bit more than 1,500′ of total elevation gain.

show less

August 6th     –     Mt. Baldy, Ski Lift, Devil’s Backbone, Ski Hut Loop

View more photos →

Six hikers carpooled to the Mt. Baldy (Mt. San Antonio) Ski Lift parking lot (6,447′) at the north end of Mt. Baldy Road on a pleasant summer morning to hike to Mt. Baldy peak (10,064′), the highest peak in the San Gabriel Mountains. After riding the lower ski lift up to Baldy Notch (7,802′), we set out on the 3.6-mile climb to the peak. Initially the trail followed a fire road/ski run heading up the mountain to the west for about 1.25 miles, eventually leading to the well-named Devil’s Backbone portion of the trail.

show more

This middle portion of the trail led onto a sharp narrow ridge with steep drop-offs on both sides posing a serious danger to careless hikers, but affording great views into the deep gorge of Lytle Creek to the north and into San Antonio Canyon to the south. The trail then narrowed to a pulse-raising 12″ – 18″ width as it wound around the southeast flank of Mt. Harwood, again requiring a keen focus on the trail. Eventually, Mt. Baldy peak came into view in the distance. After crossing a saddle, we began climbing the steep trail to the top of the mountain, pausing as needed to catch our breath. Finally we reached the top of Mt. Baldy and were rewarded with a 360-degree view. After resting, eating our lunches, and enjoying the view we descended the unsigned, steep/rocky/slippery Baldy Bowl Trail to the Sierra Club Ski Hut and enjoyed its beautiful setting. Continuing our descent we eventually reached pretty San Antonio Falls. After retrieving our shuttle vehicle we returned to Simi Valley, tired but happy, having completed a strenuous 8.4 mile hike with 2,695′ of elevation gain and 4,237′ of elevation loss.

show less