Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Hiking Wilson Canyon Pt 2
This is the scene that greeted me when I pulled into Wilson Canyon's parking lot. As some loyal readers of this blog might remember, I had quite the travails at Wilson Canyon a few months ago. At the time, I vowed to give the park another go and so I went.
There are many trails in this place but whether you know where any of them go is a highly doubtful affair. This place has a significant signage issues and there are a lot of unknowns. That being said, I did manage to find my way up to Wilson Saddle, come along with me, won't you?
To get to Wilson Saddle, you start at the parking lot (its $5 but the parks need every penny they can get, pony up cheapskate won't ya? :)) go through the gate and head left. The path is wide and winds through beautiful trees.
Eventually you get to a mini-picnic area (with locked bathrooms, natch) and this is key, keep heading to the left. Eventually you get to this sign:
And then, despite all thoughts to the contrary, you head South. Despite the mountains being to the North. South will take you on a horse trail which eventually winds its way around West and eventually coming North. It will eventually intersect with the fire road which is the Los Pinetos Trail. This trail will lead to the Wilson Saddle and the top of Placerita Canyon. Placerita is a great hike in the Antelope Valley and I had no idea it hooked up to the mountains in Sylmar California but that just shows you how lousy my spatial geography is.
When you get off the horse trail and onto the trail proper all I can say is, keep bearing right. At every junction, right is right, or so they say and you will get to the saddle. See this? Go Right.
I hate to think that I am boring you with this overly long description of HOW to get on the trail but this is Wilson Canyon's fault.
Once on the trail it is up and up for a good 4 miles to the saddle (factor in the horse trail and one way is 5 miles). The fog, while lessening the great views still cast a ghostly pale on the things I could see.
The fireroad goes up and up and up.
No rest for the weary. Even though it was extremely foggy I worked up a really good sweat getting up this baby. Whatever it lacks in signage and on the day I hiked it, scenery at all, this trail definitely will give you a good work out.
What was also really surreal was hearing the traffic of the nearby 210 and 5 at the lower elevations but not being able to see 15 feet on either side of you. Also there are definite side "kayak" trails that seems to cut around the twists and turns of the main trail but as it was foggy I decided to stick on the main trail but on a nice day, these cut through trails might be just the ticket.
Eventually you make your way to the top of the saddle. On this day, the wind really picked up and was blowing the fog all over the saddle so I didn't stay up there long. Here was the "view"
However, one of the neat things about this trail was the flowers along the trail. Really a variety I have yet seen matched on other trails and lots that I had never seen before. The best example of this is was this sucker greeting me near the saddle.
A palm tree? Seriously? At higher elevations? What a wacko trail I was on.
Overall, I decided to give this park another go and while I picked a horrible day to do so, I get it. I get this park. This park has lots of mountains, lots of hikes but you really have to work for them. You basically have to bushwhack your way around even if you are on the trail. Me? I am a lazy, lazy man and don't think I will give Wilson too many more go-arounds. Still, if you are in Sylmar, go check it out.
Here is a "map", good luck: http://www.lamountains.com/maps/wilson_canyon.pdf