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6 Best autumn hikes in the Santa Clarita Valley

October 23rd, 2023 | 4 min. read

By Jen Azevedo

The Santa Clarita Valley possesses the ideal combination of urban amenities and small-town charm. You can hit the restaurants, the theater, and all of the best clothing stores, but also enjoy the paseos, the small neighborhood coffee shops, and the surrounding natural parks.

Autumn is the perfect time to get outside in the Santa Clarita Valley, and hiking is a great way to enjoy the valley’s natural surroundings. The heat has finally mellowed, and you can enjoy the blue skies and crisp air!

The Paseo Club is a social club in the Santa Clarita Valley. We have been helping our members in their journeys in health and fitness for twenty years. 

As much as our staff and members love hitting it hard in fitness classes or on the tennis courts, we also love to get outside and enjoy our green spaces. We turned to Group Exercise Director and avid walker Melanie Vovk to learn where you can find the best hikes. 

In this article, you will learn why hiking during the autumn is a great activity, what seasonal changes you may observe, and the best hikes for autumn foliage in the Santa Clarita Valley.

IMG_6248Why hike?

Hiking is beneficial for several reasons. 

  • It improves cardiovascular health and reduces obesity. 
  • Hiking can also be social — bonding time with friends and family.
  • Hiking has a meditative aspect, helping people reduce anxiety and calm their minds. 

Hiking is also free, making it accessible to everyone. You can hike at whatever level of intensity you want. You can make it a slow, meandering stroll or a heart-pumping uphill climb — it is up to you.

IMG_6246What new changes in the landscape can people look for during an autumn hike in the SCV?  

Although Santa Clarita does not get dramatic fall colors compared to other locations, there are some exciting changes in the local landscape. 

Many trees, shrubs, bushes, and flowers change in appearance — and don’t forget to keep your eyes open for mushrooms that spring up after autumn rain. 

Here are some of the local flora that showcases colorful ornamentation that you can find on your hikes on the SCV trails:

pexels-nikita-nikitin-10352310Trees

  • Willow
  • Sycamore
  • Black Walnut
  • Cottonwood
  • Big leaf maple
  • Two-petaled Ash
  • Live oak (fall foliage and acorns)

Berries

  • Manzanita
  • Poison Oak
  • California Coffeeberry

Flowers

  • Thread Stemmed Fleabane

Grasses and ferns green up in autumn, making them an attractive contrast to the trees above that are turning golden. The creeks also begin to fill, creating drinking areas for wildlife and a lovely soundtrack for hiking humans.

What are the 6 best autumn hikes in the Santa Clarita Valley? 

The autumn weather makes hiking pleasant and inviting at almost all hours of the day. 

Throw on a sweater and head out early in the morning at sunrise or after dinner as the day turns to evening. Alternately, enjoy the warm (but not hot!) daytime temps with birdsong and blue skies illuminating your explorations.

comp_SCV 2023-01-20 at 5.24.29 PM (1)1. Towsley Canyon 


There is a two-mile and a five-mile at Towsley Canyon. Expect to spend 30-60 minutes walking for the two-mile hike option. The five-mile hike usually takes 1.5-3 hours, depending on your pace. Keep your eyes out for unique geological formations and frothy streambeds. You will have views of lush hillsides and canyons.

2. Placerita Canyon State Park 


Placerita Canyon offers several trails varying from 1.5 miles to 13.7 miles in length. Most of the trails have very little shade, so autumn is the best time to experience these hikes. There are a variety of trails — long or short, flat or with elevation gain. A few of the paths are even dog-friendly!

3. Vasquez Rocks Trail 


The Vasquez Rocks Trail is a 3.3-mile loop trail near Agua Dulce. This is another trail with very little shade, so it is recommended to take a hike in the fall when the weather is cooler. The trail is dog-friendly, but dogs must be on a leash. Vasquez is very scenic and beautiful, and you may see some yuccas and wildflowers.    

IMG_46624. Elsmere Canyon Trail Loop 


Elsmere is another lovely 3.1-mile loop that’s easy to moderately challenging. This trail can be social or quieter based on your chosen hike time. The trailhead is near Whitney Canyon Park. 

5. Del Sur Ridge 


Del Sur is a longer hike at 9.4 miles. The trail showcases the golden hills of Southern California, making it a gorgeous walk. Part of the trail goes through the Angeles Forest, where you may encounter off-road vehicles. Weekdays may be best to get a quiet hike in.

6. East Canyon to Jones Junction 


This trail is part of the “Saugus to the Sea” road. It is an unmaintained trail, but the consistency of the hikers has made a well-worn path along the old water irrigation ditch. This trail varies as you go — from an old road grade to a path, to the Jones Junction water tanks. You’ll have great views of the San Gabriel Mountains as you get close to the turnaround point. It is approximately six miles long, out and back.  

pexels-sebastian-beck-3283498Enjoying the natural trails of the Santa Clarita Valley

Hiking in the fall is a wonderful physical activity because the temperatures are cooler (and there are fewer snakes)! It is also pleasurable because you don’t have to get up and go at the crack of dawn to avoid the heat. The cooler weather opens up your hiking window, so you can go any time of the day.

The trees and shrubs are shifting, adding colorful foliage, berries, and other interesting seasonal changes.

In this article, you learned the benefits of hiking, what seasonal changes happen in the Santa Clarita Valley's natural areas, and the top six hikes.

When you aren’t wandering the hills of the valley, come to the Paseo Club for food, friendship, and fitness. We offer over 60 fitness classes each week, pickleball and tennis courts, and a junior Olympic swimming pool. 

View Athletic Calendar

Members enjoy sampling the delicious fare at the cafe, getting a massage or facial at the spa, or joining one of the many social or charity events.

If you are interested in seeing all eight acres of our facilities, schedule a tour of the club. Meet members, staff, and instructors and see if the Paseo Club is a good fit for you.

Schedule a Tour

Jen Azevedo

Jen Azevedo is a tennis professional, pickleball professional, personal trainer, group exercise instructor, and the general manager of the Paseo Club. She loves the community at the Paseo Club and that it is also a safe and fun place for her daughter. Jen’s favorite activities are joining her tribe for trail races or her partners for tennis matches. Occasionally Jen slows down to relax with a book — she reads over 100 a year!