Hike the Towsley Canyon Loop

Los Angeles Towsley Canyon Trailhead

  • Activities:

    Chillin, Photography, Mountain Biking, Running, Hiking, Fitness

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:


  • RT Distance:

    5.1 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    1340 Feet

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Picnic Area

This adventure, suitable for the whole family, is a scenic but pleasant hike that takes you into the hills surrounding Santa Clarita. Located just off Interstate 5 freeway, the trail features large oak groves, a trip through Towsley Gorge narrows, and panoramic views of the surrounding landscape including Towsley and Wiley Canyons and the Santa Clarita/Newhall Valleys.    

The Towsley Canyon Loop can be done in either a clockwise or counter-clockwise loop. The clockwise path starts with a gradual ascent through Wiley Canyon and steep descent into the Towsley Gorge while a counter-clockwise route starts with a steep climb out of Towsley Canyon and a gradual descent back to the parking area. I recommend the clockwise route, after parking in one of the free parking lots continue on foot up Towsley Canyon Road (passing on your left the alternate/counter-clockwise trailhead) until you reach Ed Davis Park (.6 miles). Hear you will see a chain gate and an old wooden sign marking the beginning of your adventure. Go pass the gate and begin following the gravel road in front of you, this is the entrance to Towsley Canyon. The canyon trail is filled with many large oak trees providing great shade and relief from the sun along the way. Over a mile into your journey the walls of the canyon will begin to grow steeper as the path transform into a creek bed with large boulders. This area is known as the Towsley Gorge narrows, the creek bed trail is usually completely dry, but may require some boulder hopping during the rainy months. While hiking through the Towsley Gorge a small trail will appear on your left, this trail leads to a cave that can be explored and was once a popular spot for Geocachers. Just before leaving the narrows you will see the trail leading east (left) to the top of Towsley View Loop. I recommend stopping here to take a breath, drinking some water, and prepare yourself for the climb to the top.   

At the end of Towsley Gorge turn left at the fork and start the 1.5 mile climb to the top of the Towsley View Loop. The climb out of the canyon follows a series of switchbacks ascending about 1000ft, this part of the trail has little cover from the sun and can get very hot in the summer months. As you gain elevation the view of Towsley Canyon will begin to grow, be sure to take your time with this part drinking water and enjoying the scenic vistas. 3 miles into your adventure you will crest the top of the switchbacks and come upon clusters of oak trees along with large fallen logs (good for use as benches), here you can take a seat in the shade, pull out your lunch and enjoy the views of Santa Clarita Valley and Newhall Pass.   

Now that you have rested up and enjoyed a lunch or snack you can get back to the trail and begin the descent into Wiley Canyon. Continue to follow the trail southeast, if you have not already you will reach the high point at 2,550 feet. The way down will be easier than the way up, following large U-shape bends, the trail gradually makes its way down 800 feet over 2 miles to the back of Wiley Canyon giving you another glimpse of Towsley and the Santa Clarita Valley. Finally you will come to a fork at the end of Wiley Canyon, stay straight/ right for .3 miles until you find yourself back at Towsley Canyon Rd. From here it is a straight shot back to the parking area and your car.    

Pack List

  • Daypack
  • 3 liters of water
  • Sunscreen
  • Sun hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Snack/Lunch
  • Hiking shoes or boots
  • Camera
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Overall rating: 

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This is one of the best trails in Santa Clarita. This is a good 5 mile loop to bike. I would go early because it can get crowed also make sure to take the loop counter-clockwise. Head towards the back of the canyon. There are some tight uphill switchbacks in which you might have to walk. The downhill is very scenic and worth the climb.

11 months ago
11 months ago

Spencer WilliamsExplorer

SCUBA Instructor, with an obsession for the mountains.

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