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Placerita Canyon State Park

19152 Placerita Canyon Road, Newhall, CA, USA

March 1st to October 31st Operating Hours Tuesday - Sunday 8:00am to 7:30pm (Closed Monday) | November 1st to February 28th Tuesday - Sunday 8am to 5pm (Closed Monday)


camping, outdoor-adventures, road-trip, hike, water-activities

Placerita Canyon State Park is home to the famous "Oak of the Golden Dream," where gold was first discovered in California in 1894. 

This historical state park in Santa Clarita is a shaded woodland haven in Santa Clarita Valley. It contains historic sites, trails, and a Nature Center. The Nature Center has a few live animal habitats (Red Hawk, Owl, etc.) and a large bird viewing exhibit that gives you views directly into the mountains to bird watch. There is also an indoor portion of the Nature Center with dioramas of the wildlife and geology you can find within this park. They also provide a few free programs (such as junior rangers) throughout the month. Be sure to check their website for what they are offering at the time of your visit. You can also find a small gift shop and restrooms at the Nature Center. 

This state park offers eight trails that network over 12 miles of hiking. We have personally completed Heritage Trail, Hillside Trail, and Manzanita Mountain Trail with our two toddlers. Our dream was to complete Waterfall Trail, but it was no longer offered due to the Sand Fire in 2014. We are hopeful they will open it back up again, but the damage was quite extensive.

The well-maintained, clearly marked trails take you through the northwest side of the San Gabriel Mountains and offer multiple viewpoints of the Santa Clarita Valley surrounded by the Angeles National Forest. Depending on what season you visit (such as late winter or early spring), the Placerita Creek could be flowing. So be prepared to walk through the creek in certain portions of the park. There are also bridges to cross the creek near the picnic areas. During the summer months, it does dry up quickly, given the intense summer heat in the Santa Clarita Valley. 

There are historic landmarks here such as the "Oak of the Golden Dream," the oak tree where gold was first discovered, and the Walker Cabin, which gives you a first-hand experience of early pioneer living. They also have a butterfly pond and garden and are working on adding a new exhibit soon along Heritage Trail that is accessible to the blind or visually impaired. Construction for this is happening now (you can walk through this on your way to "Oak of the Golden Dream"). There will be a sensory element to each exhibit, such as touch, smell, or hearing. We are very excited to continue to see this develop!

We personally come to this state park due to the wide-open, shaded space. It is rarely crowded and even if it is, there are so many areas it is always a peaceful experience. It is a great park to let our toddlers take the lead and explore safely. We are frequent visitors and pick a new portion of the park to explore each time. There is always ample parking!

This also would be a great state park to reserve a campsite at or plan a small day trip as there are also many picnic areas and plenty to see! Reservations for picnicking and group camping are available by calling the park office.


Parking Restrooms Good for All Ages Hiking Nature Center Picnic Tables Camping Animals
Thoughtfully captured by:
Taylor Hansen
Taylor Hansen, mom of two toddlers making family-life in the big city of Los Angeles happen on the daily! They are a nature & science lovin’ family of four that spends as much time as possible exploring the great outdoors. Their family motto is “Leave the road, take the trails…” Their favorite outdoor activities are bouldering, waterfall hikes and family bike rides. When they aren’t out on the trails you’ll find them digging for sand crabs at the beach, collecting water samples to observe under their microscope or working on their outdoor family apparel for our Etsy shop!!! Follow their Los Angeles adventures on instagram @hansensonthehustle!
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