Marsha McLean | Beauty Within Our Backyard: Santa Clarita Hiking Challenge

Marsha McLean

“Look deep into nature and you will understand everything better.” – Albert Einstein 

As someone who has fought long and hard to preserve the open spaces in and around our city, and proudly serves as your councilwoman, it is with great pleasure that I announce the Santa Clarita Hiking Challenge for 2023. This challenge will deepen your appreciation for the outdoors as it draws you closer to nature, taking you deeper into the heart of our community. 

It is easy to become disconnected from the natural world in today’s fast-paced and digital environment. That’s why I strongly advocate for initiatives involving our community and nature. The hiking challenge serves as a reminder to slow down, step away from screens and engage with the world in its most natural form.  

Lace up your trusty hiking boots, enjoy the open air and take in the beauty surrounding our city. The challenge will begin on Sept. 23 and conclude on Dec. 31.  

This year, participants are challenged to hike four trails within Rivendale Park and Open Space at Towsley Canyon. The routes vary in length and difficulty, giving hikers a unique experience as they go through the course. Participation is completely free of charge, and a special prize will be given to the first 50 participants who complete all four hikes within the challenge period.  

In order for us to track your progress, please submit an entry when completing a hike to This challenge is a wonderful opportunity for families, friends and neighbors to come together and create cherished memories. There’s no better way to celebrate the changing seasons than by exploring the breathtaking landscapes of our city. 

As you walk through the trails, you will uncover the captivating history of Rivendale Park, a place that has undergone an incredible transformation since the city took ownership in 1995. Once a hub for equestrian and riding activities, the park’s journey has been nothing short of extraordinary. What initially began as a plain lot of land within the Santa Clarita Woodlands has now blossomed into a well-organized and structured parking area.  

This development coincided with the city’s acquisition of an adjacent 118-acre area to the park’s north, which created the Elder Trail. This new trail seamlessly merged with the existing Towsley Canyon trail system, forming a loop that is perfect for the average hiker. As you traverse this loop, you’ll be treated to beautiful views showcasing the blending of natural beauty and thoughtful planning. 

If you’ve already explored Rivendale Park and are seeking new challenges or captivating views, I recommend looking at the maps on These maps provide background information, trail highlights and difficulty levels. As you explore the various trails throughout the city, make sure to prioritize safety and show respect for the environment. Stick to marked paths and be cautious of the wildlife you may encounter. 

The hiking challenge is not just about conquering trails — it’s about reconnecting with the world around us, nurturing our well-being and embracing the spirit of adventure within each of us. So, approach this challenge with excitement and push yourself to see more of our wonderful city.  

If you would like more information about the Santa Clarita Hiking Challenge or other trails within the city, please visit 

Marsha McLean is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at [email protected]. 

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