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Photo Essay: Hike Towsley Canyon

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SoCal winter hikes have a benefit: hiking past 9 a.m. does not bring on heat stroke. And if you are doing a 5.1 mile, two and a half hour hike with a 1000 ft. elevation gain and loss, it cannot hurt to sleep in a little.

Named after Darius Towsley, who discovered oil here in 1865 and later sold it to Chevron (then Pacific Coast Oil), this Santa Clarita Valley hiking spot is only a few minutes from Los Angeles city limits (Granada Hills and Sylmar). Now part of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, the trails that wrap around Ed Davis Park offer the public one of the best unknown hiking spots around Los Angeles.

Two trails are available for hiking. The easy 1.9 mile one is called the Canyon View Trail. The previously mentioned 5.1 mile trek, the Towsley View, is what we recommend. Most people tend to hike the circular trail counter-clockwise, which has a much easier incline, but we prefer clockwise. Not only is it more of a challenge, but in the last mile of the hike, you traverse the coolest part of the trail - The Narrows, where the "trail and the creek squeeze through a 20-foot-wide gap between 200-foot canyon walls" (LA Times hiked it too). Save the best for last, right?

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If you are crazy enough to do the Hard Corps Camp Pendleton "World Famous Mud Run," this is a must for training (as in you run the trail instead of hike). If you like hiking you should do check this one out anyway.

From LA, to get to Towsley, take I-5 North to the Calgrove Exit and turn left. About 100 yards and past the traffic light, turn right into the dirt lot where you can park.

Pictures after the jump.