Occasional chilly or rainy days during winter in the Santa Clarita Valley may make it difficult to engage in outdoor activities, but fortunately those days are normally few and far between.
Now is the best time to get outside and start moving before temperatures climb and outdoor activity is relegated to early mornings or late evenings.
There are many ways to start enjoying the great outdoors in the SCV.
Keeping active doesn’t mean becoming a fitness warrior, or engaging in high impact, high cardio sports.
A simple game of golf, a walk after dinner or a quick spin around the block on a bike will suffice. The idea is to get outside and move. Research shows that any kind of regular movement, even chair exercise, improves circulation, flexibility and will add years to your life.
The SCV is also the perfect “jumping off” point to enjoy the outdoors at the ocean or the mountains.
Getting moving is not just about motion, it can also include new experiences and learning opportunities.
Bike Santa Clarita
Santa Clarita offers more than 100 miles of picturesque trails and paseos designed for recreational bicycling.
Off-street bike trails in Santa Clarita including the Santa Clara River Trail, South Fork Trail, Chuck Pontius Commuter Rail Trail and others allow riders to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the SCV without the hassle of sharing the road with vehicle traffic.
These trails are open from sunrise to sunset and motorized vehicles are prohibited.
For a full map of these off-street bike trails visit bikesantaclarita.com/files/2012/08/2467883-Trail-Wayfinding-map_WEB.pdf.
In the spring the city of Santa Clarita has celebrated bicycling with a family-friendly Community Bike Ride as well as a Bike to Work Challenge. For more details on when 2024 biking events will be held visit bikesantaclarita.com.
Hike Santa Clarita
When driving the urban streets of the SCV you might not realize all the hiking opportunities offered just minutes from your home.
In July, 2007, the city of Santa Clarita property owners voted in favor of the Open Space Preservation District. This special assessment assists the city in purchasing land in that might otherwise be developed. By preserving these open space lands, the city has made a positive and significant impact on the retention of wildlife corridors, the restoration of threatened and endangered species native to California and the expansion of the city’s greenbelt buffer.
The city now has more than 11,000 acres of protected open space where you can get out and move.
Places to walk or hike in the SCV include: Central Park, East Walker Ranch Open Space, Golden Valley Ranch, Elsmere Canyon, Haskell Canyon Open Space, Newhall Pass Open Space, Quigley Canyon, Rivendale Park and Open Space, and San Francisquito Open Space.
Monthly community hikes are also offered through the city. The February Community Hike will be held in Haskell Canyon. For more information about the city’s open space areas or to view downloadable trail maps and find dates for the next community hike visit hikesantaclarita.com.
A handy mobile app, Hike Santa Clarita is also available in the App Store or on Google Play.
Whitney Canyon Park
Whitney Canyon Park is probably my favorite place to walk and hike. It is a 442-acre sanctuary, with a trailhead that lies directly off the Antelope Valley freeway at the Newhall Avenue exit, behind the Newhall Park & Ride (20303 Newhall Ave., Newhall 91321). The main trail is relatively flat and easy to traverse.
Enjoy the shade of a green oak forest, the wonders of a tiny creek and the reward of a small waterfall at the end of the trail. It is about a three-mile walk, but you won’t even notice the distance because of the serenity of the setting and the ease of travel.
If you enjoy your movement in a more urban setting and in the company of others the city of Santa Clarita Seasons Catalog offers a variety of opportunities to get moving. Among the offered classes are the following.
Dance Take classes in tap, salsa, line dancing and square dancing.
Water fun The Santa Clarita Aquatics Center has lap swim, adult water polo and water exercises.
Health and fitness Yoga and other health and fitness classes are also offered. If you miss the winter session of classes the spring session will begin in just a few weeks.
The Winter Seasons catalog can be found at https://santaclarita.gov/seasons.
Get Out of Town
If you want to get your “move on” outside of the SCV this is the time of year to visit the Mojave National Preserve operated by the National Park Service. Several easy established trails are available to explore if this is your first visit to the preserve. It is roughly a two-and-a-half-hour drive, about 175 miles, from the SCV to the preserve.
The Hole-in-the-Wall Nature Trail is an easy half mile round trip where you can learn to identify desert plants on this hike between the campground and visitor center.
The Rock Spring area is beautiful, lush part of the Mojave Preserve. Though water flows infrequently, you may still find it in the spring.
The Rock Spring Loop is an easy, one-mile interpretive trail, featuring descriptions of the mining and military history of the area. You’ll also find the historic Rock House building. The 1-mile loop trail starts at the Rock House and leads to a well-known water hole and site of an 1860s military post.
Visit www.nps.gov/moja/planyourvisit/established-trails.htm for information.