From Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park to the magnificent mansion of silent movie star William S. Hart, these landmarks in the Santa Clarita Valley are a “must-see” for every SCV resident.
The list combines both nature and history. Please note, the hours and availability of facilities can change at any time. It is advised that you visit the website to get the latest updates.
Nonetheless, you should keep this list of places to visit in your back pocket!
Vasquez Rocks Natural
10700 Escondido Canyon Road, Agua Dulce
Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park is a 932-acre park located in Agua Dulce and visible from the Antelope Valley Freeway. According to the website, the trails are now open with strict guidelines, including face coverings and social distancing.
The unique Vasquez Rocks formations are a familiar sight having been the background for many films and commercials. Rock climbing is the primary sport, but for a less perilous workout you can walk along the many hiking trails.
In 1873 and 1874, Tiburcio Vásquez, one of California’s most notorious bandits, used these rocks to elude capture by law enforcement.
Vasquez Rocks was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 because of its significance as a prehistoric site for the Tataviam people.
Vasquez Rocks is probably most famous for its use as “alien” planet locations on the original “Star Trek” television show. The most famous of which is “Arena,” where Captain James T. Kirk fights a reptilian alien called a Gorn (played by stunt man Bobby Clark, a resident of Agua Dulce).
William S. Hart Park, Mansion and Museum
24151 Newhall Ave., Newhall (661) 254-4584
Park Info arks.lacounty.gov/william-s-hart-regional-park
Museum Info ww.hartmuseum.org.
The William S. Hart Park and Museum is the former retirement home of its namesake, the famed silent-film actor, author and director of more than 60 hit Western movies in the early 1900s.
His most well-known film may be the silent film “Tumbleweeds,” which was originally released in 1925. It was re-released in 1940 with a filmed “talkie” prologue.
Hart is also the author of almost a dozen books, the best known may be his autobiography “My Life East and West.” Published in 1929, the book has been deemed “culturally significant” by literary and historical scholars.
Be aware that once the museum reopens, you will have to walk a quarter-mile up a hill in Hart Park to the Hart Mansion for the tours.
However, it is a unique and quirky place that is worth the effort to find.
You won’t want to miss other offerings of the park. Thanks to a gift from Walt Disney in 1962, the park is home to a herd of American Bison. As you walk up to the museum, look right and you should see them grazing.
The park also has an animal barnyard that children, and adults, will enjoy.
St. Francis Dam Disaster Site
Completed on May 4, 1926, the St. Francis Dam stood nearly 200-feet tall, 700-feet long and covered 600 acres. It was the largest arch-supported dam in the world, with the ability to hold more than 12 billion gallons of water. It cost $1.3 million to build.
Less than two years later, the dam collapsed at 11:57 p.m. March 12, 1928.
Nearly 500 people lost their lives as the wall of water swept down San Francisco Canyon to the Santa Clara River at Castaic and on toward the Pacific Ocean at Ventura.
All that is left of the dam are some mounds of the dam’s aggregate concrete.
The dam site is not for the faint of heart and takes some determination to reach. Use caution and common sense. It is difficult terrain, with jagged rocks, sheer cliffs and rattlesnakes.
Find the remains of the St. Francis Dam approximately seven miles from the intersection of Copper Hill Road and San Francisquito Canyon Road.
24101 Newhall Ave., Newhall
Heritage Junction is home to the 19th century Saugus Railroad Station and many historical buildings from old Newhall. It is located adjacent to William S. Hart Park.
The train station includes a small museum and a 1900 Mogul Engine #1629 — a class M4 train, weighing 75 tons. When available, tours are given by the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society.
Buildings of interest include
the tiny six-pew Ramona Chapel,
1860 Mitchell House Adobe,
Saugus Train Station,
Newhall Ranch House,
Edison House and