By Mayor Laurene Weste
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” – John Muir
It took decades of hard work to preserve the thousands of acres of open space that surround our City. Work that is well worth it. Now our residents, neighbors and future generations will be able to explore and enjoy the natural beauty of Santa Clarita forever. Currently, our preserved open space is 9,314.9 acres with 85 miles of trails. Those numbers rise yearly as we acquire more land and our amazing trail volunteers complete more trails.
I encourage all of you to plan your own hiking adventure. Our trail system offers hikes for every athletic ability, from flat, picturesque walks to challenging climbs that will reward you with magnificent, sweeping views. Before you go, please visit hikesantaclarita.com for a complete list of interactive trail maps, parking information, trail etiquette tips, a photo gallery showcasing the beautiful, natural spaces and what you need to take with you for your visit.
Here are some safety tips to ensure a successful adventure:
- Always hike with a buddy (this is critical)
- Take plenty of drinking water (especially on hot, summer days)
- Bring a charged cell phone
- Please stay on marked trails
- Share your hiking plans with someone back home before you leave
- Keep dogs on a leash at all times for their safety
- Bring a steel whistle
Another important tip is to make some noise. It is important to let snakes and other critters know you’re coming, but also your fellow trail users. Mountain bikers should have a bell on their bike so they can alert horses/riders and hikers that they will soon be riding past. Horses and hikers could be injured if not warned in time.
Also keep in mind that our mountains and canyons are home to an abundance of wildlife. Please respect these animals during your visit and remember that you are a guest in their home. Visitors can expect to see lizards, birds, rabbits, deer and squirrels. Occasionally, you may also see snakes (including rattlesnakes), deer, bobcats, coyotes and in very rare occasion, mountain lions and bears. If you see wildlife, keep your distance and remain calm. Please remember when hiking our trails do not litter and do respect the park property, vegetation and wildlife.
If you would like to check out the wildlife safely – the best way to do it is on our wildlife camera. You can do this by visiting hikesantaclarita.com and clicking on the “Wildlife Caught on Camera” under the FAQ tab. There you will see amazing photos from our open space cameras that are triggered when skunks, deer, bob cats, foxes, coyotes, mountain lions, and even bears walk by!
I urge you to get outdoors and take some time to reconnect with the beautiful abundance of nature that surrounds us. Happy trails!
Mayor Laurene Weste is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at [email protected].