By Jim Walker
Signal Staff Writer
What do you think of when someone suggests a picnic? Is it a blanket spread out under a big oak tree in a green pasture, with a wicker picnic basket having a red and white checkered liner and Grandma’s prize-winning fried chicken inside? Maybe a few happy cows keeping their appropriate distance? Yeah, that’s nice.
On the other hand, maybe you’ve been on a few such picnics, and your achin’ sacroiliac reminds you that you want to be off the ground, seated at a proper picnic table, away from the ants. And maybe you want to be a little nearer civilization, where the jabberwockies are less likely to join you.
Well, in and around the SCV, you can have your picnic any way you like it. You can drop in at any likely remote spot — and there are myriad opportunities, subject only to your imagination. For example, this writer remembers one impromptu picnic that occurred in the tall brush by the creek in Towsley Canyon, just at the point where drinking the wine seemed a better idea than carrying it any farther up the trail, and sandwiches were consumed so fast the bugs never arrived.
But you can also carry out your picnic at tables intended for just that at any of the many immaculately kept city parks — and a few other areas. Some picnic tables are even in shade or under covers. Several of these locations also offer wonderful views, and all of them offer the convenience of nearby parking and restrooms. Depending on the season and day of the week, you might feel you have the park nearly to yourself. At other times, you might need to reserve your table ahead of time.
For a guide to doing that visit bit.ly/3JEIiMm. By clicking the “View Reservable Picnic Areas” tab, you will get a listing of most of our city parks, complete with enticing photos of each, so you know what to expect.
“The city of Santa Clarita offers reservable picnic areas at nearly two dozen city parks,” said city Communications Specialist Kevin Strauss. “While these areas are ideal for enjoying a relaxing lunch, they also offer picturesque locations to host birthday parties, family reunions and many more special occasions.”
Todd Longshore Park, located at 28151 Whites Canyon Road 91351, snugs up to Whites Canyon Road about halfway up the hill to where it crests before descending into Plum Canyon. This lofty location presents the park with far-reaching and unobstructed views of Canyon Country and the rest of the valley to the west. Facilities include picnic tables, a child play area, restrooms and parking.
William S. Hart Regional Park, located at 24151 Newhall Ave. 91321, offers picnic tables, restrooms, lots of green grass and shade, barbecue grills and immediate access to several excellent trails. This park is also adjacent to both the historic Heritage Junction and the William S. Hart Museum. Though the park is within the city of Santa Clarita, it is owned and operated by L.A. County. Facility reservations are made through the county at parks. lacounty.gov/reserve.
Castaic Lake Lagoon, known as the Lower Lake, is located at 32132 Castaic Lake Drive 91384. It is also operated by the county. The view of the lagoon is gorgeous, especially from one of the grassy hillsides, where shade trees are found. Picnic tables are strategically placed throughout the area, and there are 3 miles of shoreline and designated swimming beaches. The lagoon is open to non-gasoline-powered boating, and swimming during the summer. Vehicle entry fees, camping fees and boat launching fees are charged. For more information, visit www. castaiclake.com/lake-hours-fees.
Placerita Canyon Nature Center, 19152 Placerita Canyon Road 91321, is an educational and recreational entity unto itself. It features nature presentations and trailheads. Just off the parking lot are picnic tables in a location that offers a great combination of “wilderness” and “facilities.” For more information, visit www.placerita.org.
Towsley Lodge, which is the ranger station in Towsley Canyon, is no secret to the many who hike and bike the canyon. However, it might not occur to others to picnic here because it is about a halfmile up the paved part of the main hiking trail. There are picnic tables on a grassy knoll shaded by cottonwoods, and in season, there is a creek flowing nearby.
There is free parking at Ed Davis Park, 24335 The Old Road 91321. This is the beginning of the trail. The picnic area can be reserved for special group events. For more information, visit mrca. ca.gov/wedding-special-events/towsley.