The Manzanita Mountain Trail is short but challenging in Santa Clarita. We were looking for something with great views but wasn’t too long. I didn’t do much the week after the Los Angeles Marathon. I walked once and swam once. Plus, I desperately wanted to get out of the Antelope Valley (I get stir-crazy if I’m here more than a week, LOL). Anyway, so we decided to head to the Placerita Nature Center. I’ve been a few times and run and hiked, and I enjoyed it’s usually relatively quiet. Spoiler: on a beautiful spring day, it was not quiet. Placerita Canyon is a family-friendly park with a hike or trail for everyone.
About Manzanita Mountain Trail and Placerita Canyon:
The Manzanita Mountain Trail is a 1.7 out-and-back trail near Newhall and Santa Clarita. It’s located right off the highway and easy to find. The park is busy on weekends, but it’s pretty quiet during the week.
Placerita State Canyon Address: 19152 Placerita Canyon Rd, Newhall, CA, 91321
Placerita Canyon State Park is a California State Park in the western San Gabriel Mountains near Santa Clarita. Unlike many trails, Placerita Canyon has a lot of history and exhibits. The Placerita Canyon dates back to 1842, when it was annexed under Rancho San Francisco. It also is the first documentary discovery of gold in California! In 1900, they discovered oil. There are several different trails for all abilities.
My Experience at Manzanita Mountain Trail:
Shoes: Soloman Sense Ride 5 (review to come)
Total: 2.5 miles
At first glance, the Manzanita Mountain Trail doesn’t look too intense, but it’s much more challenging than you might think. Near Newhall, if you look out while on route 14, you’ll see the mountains. Those are the mountains you are climbing, and dang, they are high. Once you’re at the top, you can take several offshoots and go further up. I am sure you can easily make it a 5-10 mile hike with a ton of elevation.
Hiking long wasn’t my intent for the day, though. I just wanted to get some movement after the Los Angeles Marathon. Nothing too strenuous. We noticed how busy it was when we got to the Placerita Nature Center. I’ve been there several times and have never been *that busy*.
We weren’t sure where to go and decided to take the Manzanita Mountain Trail. It is new to us trail, and I thought it would be less flooded. California has gotten a lot of rain lately, so many creeks are full-blown. Despite coming to Placerita Canyon a few times, I hadn’t seen the creek bed fill up.
Once on the Manzanita Mountain Trail, you’ll notice its steepness. I used the Salomon Sense Ride 5 trail shoe, which is a great option. I didn’t feel like I was slipping or sliding. We just continued hiking to the top. I was amazed by how many small children I saw hiking. Truthfully I was like if they can do it, so can I.
The Manzanita Mountain Trail follows the ridge, and you walk along relatively narrow trails with steep drop-offs. I wasn’t expecting that, but it’s such a fantastic view. It’s not as little as Mount San Antonio (aka Mount Baldy), but thin enough.
We continued hiking. Once at the top, you are rewarded with a great view of Santa Clarita. It’s also fun to see route 14 and look down on it. We decided to hike a little further and see more of the views. I do appreciate there are many different offshoots at the top so you can probably make your hike as long as you want.
Manzanita Mountain Trail Conclusion:
If you want a shorter hike with rewarding views, consider the Manzanita Mountain Trail. It’s not easy, but it is manageable with proper footwear. I’m looking forward to returning, exploring even more of the area, and getting to the tallest mountains!
You can see more hikes here.
Questions for you:
Have you hiked the Manzanita Mountain Trail?
What is your favorite hike?