Townsend Peak P500
Peak 3,096ft P300
Peak 2,012ft P300

Jun 16, 2016

With: Jim Burd

Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPXs: 1 2 3

Brother Jim had flown into town the night before to join me for a trip to Southern California for an extended family gathering. I had a selection of short, easy summits to tag on our way down, on either side of Interstate 5 north of Santa Clarita. Jim didn't seem to care that these were 3rd order summits, quite low on the ladder of climbing objectives. The last peak proved surprisingly difficult, a most interesting summit by my reckoning, though not so much by Jim's.

Townsend Peak

This P500 is found just west of I-5 at the Templin Hwy offramp. We parked at the pavement's end where Forest Road 6N381 starts. Heavy erosion at the start has made it dangerous for low-clearance vehicles and a beefy gate found just up the road blocks all traffic, or at least is intended to. Upon closer inspection, Jim found that the gate wasn't locked at all, just had the appearance of being so. We followed the road up for half an hour until we reached a saddle on the south side of the summit. An old firebreak was helpful for the final stretch to the summit. The top provides a good view of the Los Padres NF and Cobblestone Mtn to the west and northwest, Canton Canyon dropping down below us in the same direction. The Angeles NF and the Liebre Range stretch out across the freeway to the east. We dropped off a steep embankment to get back to the dirt road and followed it back, taking just over an hour. This was the longest of the three hikes.

Peak 3,096ft

We drove the Templin Hwy (not really a highway at all - it was never completed as originally planned) east to the Old Ridge Route (a precursor to the Golden State Hwy (Rte 99) which was eventually supplanted by Interstate 5). From there we drove south less than a mile to a gated dirt road going west up to unnamed Peak 3,096ft. The area is just inside the Angeles NF, but the gate is signed for No Trespassing. It took less than 10min to hike the road up to the open top where some signs indicated buried utilities amidst a scattered collection of discarded, old clothing. Why here? One of life's many unsolved mysteries... We paused on the way down to marvel at a pepper tree that grew along the road, seemingly out of place among the sparse chaparral. Perhaps planted by the landowner at one time in years past? A plot of land for a home that never materialized? Another small mystery...

Peak 2,012ft

We drove the Old Ridge Route south into Castaic and then west under the freeway into a newish suburban development along Sloan Canyon Rd. We parked in the neighborhood off Greenwood Pl and hiked up to a water tank serving the community there. Our goal was unnamed Peak 2,012ft, only 1/3mi from our start. This would prove a more challenging summit, taking us almost an hour. The area is comprised of disintegrating sandstone, rugged slopes that could prove treacherous if one isn't extremely careful. We struggled up the initial slope above the water tank, then gingerly walked across the thin ridgeline connecting to our summit. From the summit, it appears it might be easier to approach this peak from the west via Sloan Canyon. We went back nearly the same route, recrossing the dicey ridgeline but finding an alternate way down the initial slope. By the time we returned it was close to 5p so we called it a day and drove to our sister's place in Santa Clarita - time to switch into family mode...


Terry Morse comments on 03/16/18:
While looking through your list of peaks, I see that you haven't climbed Towsley Peak in the Santa Clarita Valley. It starts out at Towsley Canyon off of Calgrove and is about a 6 mile loop. I'm not sure of the gain. Great views in all directions.
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