Placerita is an east-west running canyon featuring cool, shaded oak groves, a willow and sycamore-lined seasonal stream and numerous other interesting plant and animal communities. Unfortunately, a large part of the canyon is now burned over. On the other hand, new growth will return and with it, different bird and other wildlife as the area slowly transitions back to its natural state.
The historic “Oak of the Golden Dream” is the site of California’s original gold discovery in 1842. Another landmark is the Walker Cabin , built by Frank Walker in 1920 for his family. Both miraculously survived the fire.
Historically, the park has encompassed oak woodland, chaparral, and riparian plant communities on the north side of the San Gabriel Mountains southeast of the City of Santa Clarita. The park has not only served to conserve a slice of the wild environment but also endeavored to educate the public on the value of undisturbed flora and fauna through wild animal presentations, nature hikes, and self-guided educational trails.
The Sand Fire, while not entirely a “natural phenomenon” (arson is not suspected but it’s likely that human activity of one sort or another was involved), has triggered a sequence of regrowth events that naturalists and birders will no doubt find informative.
Directions: Take the 405 or 5 Freeway north to the 14 Freeway. Exit the 14 at Placerita Canyon. Turn right at the end of the off ramp and continue about 1.5 miles to the park entrance. Turn right and park at the Nature Center.
Various leaders. For more information, call the Nature Center at (661) 259-7721