Every year, thousands of thru-hikers make the treacherous trek through the Pacific Crest Trail, a 2,650-mile route stretching from Mexico to Canada and zigzagging through three different states.
Physically abled challengers will spend months submerged in nature traveling through historic national parks, barren desert lands and steep mountain ranges.
“But they never get to go to the Pacific [Ocean],” said Tony Arnold, one of the directors of the Santa Clarita Valley Trail Users, a group of hikers who build and maintain multi-use off-road trails in and around the Santa Clarita Valley area.
Multiple community volunteers and members of the SCV Trail Users gathered early Saturday morning at the Needham Ranch Open Space in Newhall to start trailblazing the new “Crest to Coast” trail, a project that will lead future trail users to the beaches of Ventura County.
“This special and unique trail provides a crucial connection to dozens of other trails in our Valley,” Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste said in a prepared statement. “This is a project which I have been working on for nearly two decades and, once complete, will provide trail access all the way to the Pacific Ocean.”
Arnold estimates the Crest to Coast Trail will be about 40 miles long and will give thru-hikers the option to hike a “couple days” to the ocean while staying on the Pacific Crest Trail. The breath-taking views and luscious greenery make this trek one of the “prettiest places in the valley,” according to Arnold.
“It’s going to be one of the most scenic trails we have in Santa Clarita,” said Arnold regarding the Crest to Coast trail.
According to Ken Raleigh, the chair of the SCV Trail Users committee, this trail is going to be looping with several trails in the area, making it a unique hiking experience.
“There’s a lot of opportunities to put different trails together and create different loops,” Raleigh said.
The Santa Clarita portion of the Pacific Crest Trail is “approximately from the 430-mile marker to the 444-mile marker,” according to a news release. The Crest to Coast Trail will start from the entrance in Agua Dulce and run to the Ventura County Line.
Once the Santa Clarita portion is finished, the county of Ventura will add its connections to the existing trail system that will give hikers access to the county beaches.
Arnold said making the trail could take up to six to eight months barring any weather-related setbacks.
Due to the trail’s location in the southern part of the city, Raleigh said this provides the community with a challenging hiking trail in an area where there’s not an abundance of them.
“There’s a lot of people who want to stay fit and enjoy the outdoors,” Raleigh said. “The city has done a great job of acquiring these open spaces and I think this is just expanding on a lot of good work the city has already done.”