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“Placerita Canyon Rocks!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Placerita Canyon Nature Center

Placerita Canyon Nature Center
19152 Placerita Canyon Rd., Newhall, CA 91321
(661) 259-7721
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Ranked #2 of 7 things to do in Newhall
Attraction details
los angeles, ca
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“Placerita Canyon Rocks!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 5, 2012

Has been going to Placerita for the past four weeks with my daughter! Place is just 7 minutes away from our house but it is awesome- a lot of things to do if you like hiking, bird watching . Thrid time we went they had Open House last May 12- lots and lots of activities for the kids! We went gold panning, treasure hunting, joined group for a walk around the center, and there was an animal show in the afternoon. Best thing though is that me and my hubby did the White Elephant Sale and was able to score cool items for small bucks! Will continue to come here as weather permits!

Visited May 2012
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26 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
California
Top Contributor
231 reviews 231 reviews
72 attraction reviews
Reviews in 52 cities Reviews in 52 cities
78 helpful votes 78 helpful votes
“A Great Place to Visit”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 15, 2012

I've been to the Placerita Nature Center and the Oak of the Golden Dream several times and have always enjoyed it and I look forward to going back again soon. There are nice displays, information and a few nice hiking trails.

Visited November 2011
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sylmar
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
“A lovely natural getaway near the city.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2012

Placerita Canyon is nestled in the San Gabriel Mountains just east of Santa Clarita off the 14 Freeway. It is a gorgeous little natural oasis surrounded by the suburbs of Newhall, Saugus and Canyon Country. Much of It was sold to the State of California in 1949 by the Walker family and is now operated by L. A. County Parks and Recreation, so it has been preserved in a pristine, natural condition and is a great escape for city-dwellers looking for a respite from the rat race. Quiet and restful, the canyon contains oak woodland, riparian and chaparral plant communities and protects the plants and animals that call the Nature Area home from encroaching civilization. It is also the location of the first gold discovery in California in 1842, six years before Sutter's Mill!. Several miles of hiking trails wind throughout the Canyon and connect to the Santa Clarita open spaces areas. There is a small museum in the Nature Center, a replica Tataviam Indian dwelling and some historical buildings and displays along the wheelchair-accessible Heritage Trail (e.g. the Walker cabin, some oil drilling equipment, a mural painted by a local artist that depicts the history of the Canyon and the "Oak of the Golden Dream"). The County employees are very helpful and knowledgeable, and a cadre of well-trained, volunteer docents provide guided hikes, live animal "shows" and classroom instruction about the ecosystem to children from preschool to 6th grade during weekdays.There are weekend events for families as well. Learn more by visitng www.placerita.org

Visited March 2012
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Tujunga, CA
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
9 attraction reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
“Scenic Trails and a Great Nature Center”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2012

A wonderfully scenic canyon with a series of easy to moderate hikes. Start at the visitors center (where you can see some animals on display and interesting exhibits) then ramble east up the canyon. The trail parallels a lovely little stream punctuated by chamise, cottonwoods, wild roses and poison ivy. You'll notice a lot of dramatic rock formations on the canyon walls as you go; some of these have been carved by early hydrolic mining. Further along, the canyon opens into a meadow full of ancient oaks and a cacophony of bird song. You can easily see the flash of the lazuli bunting, and spot owls above you if you keep looking up. We saw a gray fox in the stream bed once, who looked at us over his shoulder and proceeded to climb a tree!

The trail gains only slightly in elevation and travels in and out of the shade; best to go in cooler weather and of course bring water. About halfway to the Walker Ranch, you'll notice a pungent seep of white gas coming right out of the center of the trail; this substance was used by settlers and miners for many years. (See photo.)

The Walker Ranch area has campsites and the ruins of the Walker cabin, with its ornate fireplace made from twisted river rock still there to enjoy. From here you can continue up to the waterfall, or climb even higher to the ridge. If you want to shave off distance, there is a parking area close to Walker Ranch so you can walk down from the highway and proceed to the higher trails from there.

Placerita Canyon seems to get clobbered by wildfires every few years, but the foliage comes back quickly and the majestic oaks outlive it all. At this writing it almost looks like it never burned except for a few snags. Go in mid-spring for a pleasant flower display to add color and cheer to your hike.

Kids, girlfriends and most parents can manage this hike and there are lots of turns and changes in scenery to experience as you go, so this one is recommended for all.

I love a country that puts up historic plaques to honor trees!

Visited December 2011
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Los Angeles, California
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
12 attraction reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Preparation is key!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2012

I went hiking on one of the trails (Los Pinetos) with my friends and it was really fun, but also VERY difficult, so if you aren't in shape I wouldn't recommend it for your first time (like we did), but also be prepared with a backpack full of good snacks and lots of water and it'll be worth it, it's very beautiful out there & they also have great places for picture opportunities and other trails that are much easier (like the waterfall one).

Visited January 2012
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