Sunday, January 5, 2020

Horse Peak - Golden Valley Ranch

Santa Clarita has a fantastic amount of open space to hike around in and a fantastic pocket of space is the Golden Valley Ranch. Within the rolling hills of GVR is the highest point in Santa Clarita, Horse Peak. While I could wax poetically about the GVR trails, I noticed there is a paucity of information about actually hiking to the peak itself so off we go!

There are several ways to hike into the GVR but I started off on the public turnout off Placerita Canyon Road. There you are greeted with some awesome vistas

and some no nonsense switchbacks as you slowly gain the ridge line. The area has really had a tough time with fire over the last few years so I stayed on the trails which were in good shape (and some grass popping up here and there due to the rain).

Eventually you do make it to the ridge line and you get to see the Santa Clarita Valley and the start of the Antelope Valley laid out before you which is a great sight.

Since you will be ill advised to go straight into the canyon your options are left or right. If you are headed to Horse Peak then head your way to the right for another mile (ish). There are some great vistas along the way

and as a newly minted fan of hawks, well there are a lot of em. A lot of hawks. If you like hawks definitely hike the GVR.

There is a junction where you can head down a steep trail toward the 14 freeway but as with everything on this hike, if you keep bearing to the right you will be fine. After a few curves and a few more ups and downs Horse Peak comes into view.

Now look, Horse Peak ain't exactly Mt. Baldy on the skyline but this is a really good short hike that gets the heart rate up with some awesome views and ends with claiming a peak. That to be is a fun day out.  There is a well maintained goat trail off the main fire road to the...wait for it...right of the fire road that you should take to attempt the peak.

I felt like this trail was maintained sufficiently and does appear on maps that I think it is safe to assume you can tromp around on it without damaging any vegetation making its way back from the fires.

After hiking a bit you come to the last 100 feet or so before the summit.

While it looks steep it really isn't too bad and someone has kicked in dirt stairs on the way up and down in case your foot is feeling a little shaky. I am terrible with heights and this is very doable both on the way up and (more importantly) on the way down.

(I am so menacing in shadow form)

The peak is a good place to hang out and check out the surrounding scenery of the GVR. In a sea of people, it was great to be alone and take in the snow capped peaks in the Antelope Valley. I only did the peak hike on my trip to the GVR but there are several other trails and I can't wait to get back there and hike more of em!

For more information about the Golden Valley Ranch, check it out here!


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