Cienega Canyon Loop for Fall Colors

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Cienega Canyon Loop for Fall Colors

*** YOU MUST BRING A FACE COVERING to meet up at the trailhead and to use on trail when it is not possible to avoid close proximity to other hikers. Please be mindful of other people’s space. DO NOT APPROACH ANYONE WITHOUT YOUR FACE COVERING.

*** Hike is waitlisted. For the time being, you must have hiked with us previously. Put yourself on the list and I will add you if I feel you can complete the hike AT THE GROUP’S PACE SAFELY. Also, limiting the total number of attendees so please change your RSVP immediately if you cannot make it. Apologies for not being able to add everyone but safety is the main priority right now.

Long sleeves and pants recommended. Bring lunch and warm layers/poncho.


Write up is Don’s:


Distance: 11.4 miles

Elevation Gain: 2000

Rating: 7/10

Parking pass/fee: NO

Trail: a bit of asphalt and single track trail, overgrown, bush whacking, trail finding, loop – not for beginners


From the parking area we head down an asphalt road which takes us to the first canyon. In this first canyon there is a trail in some portions and not so much in other parts. There will be a few spots of some minor boulder hopping and very short climbs. If there is any water it should be avoidable. At the end of this canyon is where we’ll encounter either overgrown trails or no trail at all as we start our ascent to the loop trail. This section is less than an 1/8 of a mile and brings us to the middle portion of the route. This area does not get much use which can make the trail overgrown and difficult to find in some areas. In this area we’ll also have a rather continuous climb as we head over to Piano Box. There will be a couple spots with unavoidable water, but not very deep. (Not likely due to our current drought situation) This area is also like a roller coaster with ups and downs, nothing crazy steep for long distances, but yes there are steep spots. We’ll also get some great views to the north and Redrock Mountain and stop and look at some wind caves. This middle portion will drop us down into an area known as Piano Box which is also the entrance to Fish Canyon Narrows. The trail down to Piano Box is deteriorated in very short sections and will require extra care when traversing. We will take an elongated break here and hopefully there will be some water flowing so we can cool off a bit before returning the final few miles to the cars.

In summary: This is a great hike with many different aspects contained in one route and a great sense of accomplishment when complete. This is NOT a regular trail hike where you can return to your car if you get tired like at Griffith Park. Depending on the weather you can never have too much water on this hike.

The area: Here, amid the arid-looking mountains north of Castaic Lake, Castaic Creek flows the better part of the year through a sinuous gorge flanked by picturesque sandstone outcrops. The creek is perfect for wading – shallow, slow-moving, and warmed by the sun. Fish Canyon Narrows: In the trenchlike confines of middle Fish Canyon, aridity and moisture stand side by side, separated by a matter of a few yards. Mountain mahogany, manzanita and other drought-resistant shrubs cling to the walls, while a shallow stream gurgles merrily past a line of oaks, sycamores, willows, and cottonwoods. It is almost as if a little slice of the Pacific Northwest was transplanted to Southern California.

Directions: Head north of the San Fernando Valley on the 5 freeway and go about 6 miles north of Lake Hughes/Castaic exiting at Templin Hwy. Go right to the end of Templin Hwy (about 4 miles) At the end of Templin HWY you will see a gate and a road going to a LADWP facility to your right. Park at this gate.The map above works, but you do need to continue on the the end of Templin as described above.


PLEASE – Know your limits and abilities. Bring snacks and drink plenty of liquids when hiking. Check weather conditions and dress accordingly and be aware of your surroundings at all times. Watching out for poison oak, snakes, ticks, uneven footing, spectacular views, beautiful fauna all while interacting with awesome (usually) fellow hikers can be extremely hazardous, rewarding and fun.

The Farzan Rule: Posted hike times are the time the hike starts or we leave from a posted shuttle location. I’m aware other Meetup groups offer a grace period for late arrivals; we don’t. It’s your responsibility to know the location of the meeting spot and be there and ready to participate at the posted time. If you have any concerns about the directions feel free to contact the organizer of the event, preferably in advance of the event and not at the start time. I’m of the opinion that it’s not fair to delay an event when the majority of attendees have arrived on-time. (so named after a conversation I had with a certain un-named member)


Rating a hike is subjective, meaning the difficulty of a hike will be in direct relation to how often you hike and the type of hike you prefer. Keep in mind that any hike can have the following: un-even hiking surfaces, various obstructions, water and/or water crossings or bouldering and/or rock hopping. A great hike will have all of these!

1 – A long walk

2 – 4 mile hike w/little elevation gain

3 – 5 mile hike w/up to 1000 ft. elevation gain

4 – 5+ mile hike w/up to 1500 ft. elevation gain (heart rate increases at times)

5 – 7+ mile hike w/over 1500 ft. elevation gain (heart rate increasing even more at times)

6 – 7+ mile hike w/over 2000 ft. elevation gain (at times you might be trying to remember how to perform CPR)

7 – 5+ mile hike w/over 2000 ft. elevation gain (at times you might be muttering expletives to yourself)

8 – 10+ mile hike w/over 3500 ft. elevation gain (at times you might be angry with the hike leader)

9 – 10+ mile hike w/over 5000 ft. elevation gain (at times you might be thinking of reporting the hike leader to the authorities)

10 – Use your imagination

Class 3 Scrambling: Scrambling or un-roped climbing. You must use your hands at times to hold the terrain or find your route. This may be caused by a combination of boulders, steepness and extreme terrain. Some Class 3 routes have ropes in place for assistance.



I am a volunteer (i.e. not liable for the group). Safety is a priority for everyone in the group. Think of this as hiking with a group of friends.

Outdoor sports and other events we plan can be inherently dangerous and accidents may happen. By participating in any posted event, you’re taking responsibility for your own safety and well-being. The VHC Meetup Group and its organizers are not trained leaders and we do not confirm the qualifications of any of its members to lead or participate in trips. All participants take full responsibility for their own actions. If you choose to sign up for any VHC Meetup events, you are releasing the VHC Meetup Group and it’s organizers from all liability in case of possible injuries as stated in paragraph 6.2 of the Meetup “Terms of Service” located on the bottom of the Meetup website. Your personal safety depends on your own judgment and experience.

October 24 2020


Date: October 24
Time: 8:30 am - 2:30 pm
Hike Categories:
Website: Visit Event Website


37770 Templin Hwy

37770 Templin Hwy
Castaic, CA 91384 US

+ Google Map


Website: Visit Organizer Website


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