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Wiley Ridge Route-Santa Susanas

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David R

Joined: 12 Jun 2011
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2014 5:36 pm    Post subject: Wiley Ridge Route-Santa Susanas  Reply with quote

It's looking a bit slow in here so I will post a nice moderate hike that I just discovered out of the Santa Susana mountains. This hike starts at the very popular Towsley Canyon just off the 14 on the Old Road. I have come here a few times for training hikes and it offers some decent gain on the traditional loop route. The negatives are it is crowded and also gets some mountain bikers.

This route takes you around the Wiley Canyon watershed with minimal amount of foot traffic. The route begins immediately after you leave Towsley Canyon and enter into Wiley on the signed dirt trail on the left 100 yards from the parking lot. From here go about 50 feet  past the gate and you will see an obvious ridge to the right and a trail branching off in that direction. take this steep trail up until you hit the inner established loop trail. Stay on the regular trail along the ridge until it starts to descend into Towsley Canyon and notice another trail heading to the left up the ridge. Continue up this steep route with an even small rock scramble of about 10 feet. You will reach a bench and soon intersect the main outer loop trail. Follow this for a short distance until you will see a branch to the left that takes you back up to the apex of the ridge.

From here it was all new to me and apparently a relative new trail that has been made my mysterious hiker(s). I decided I wanted to simply hit the apex of the ridge and noticed a trail continuing upwards and took it. I was surprised by the shape it was in and the fact that apparently a cyclist had come this way. I reached the high point of the ridge I had been climbing which had a small post attached to the top. To my surprise the trail continued in a southward direction towards Oat Mountain, hmm this looked interesting.  I disregarded my main route and followed a very cool trail that was made like a fire break going straight up and over bumps along a very narrow ridge. This area had a lot of fault action and the ridge felt that way with nice drop offs especially to the east.

The trail continued until it had completely passed Wiley Canyon and it reached the ridge intersecting Rice. From here a small trail seemed to head towards that ridge and the main trail with my biker tracks continued along this N/S ridge towards Oat. I really wanted it to go to Oat but the going was looking rough ahead of me. Sure enough the trail dropped down to a saddle and made a sharp left heading back to the E/W trending ridge between Rice/Wiley. There was a slight use trail continuing south but it looked like it would dead end, I'll need to confirm next time.

The trail now followed easterly along what looked like an old fire road. Soon it narrowed again and I reached a junction with the ridge that dropped down between Wiley and the next canyon over before Rice. The bike tracks continued along the main ridge and even though I saw a trail heading down this ridge I decided to follow my pathfinder. This trail ended about 100 yards further at a rock outcropping. There appeared to be a steep down climb from this point but I could find no evidence of people actually making it so I back tracked to the turnoff with the other ridge. Along this section I also saw a machete so the trail making process looks rather recent.  

This trail had no bike track markings and it soon became evident why as it had an easy but narrow 20-30 foot down climb over mixed dirt and rock. This section of the ridge was also narrow and didn't allow any room for error with my only concern the slickness of the dirt due to the recent rains. Once you down climb this section, the ridge widens significantly and I met a couple of deer grazing under some oak trees. There is evidence of humans activity with some old circular rusted metal that I couldn't tell what they were for.  

From here you reach a gully that drops back into Wiley canyon. There was a faint trail that continued along the ridge which I'll explore next time as that will make it a true clean ridge climb as it should dump you out right by the parking lot. I instead followed the main trail that drops you into Wiley right where the main trail starts to climb out of it. On the way down I saw a cool bubbling oil pot replenished with water after the recent rains. I saw no hikers on this section of the trail and the trail looks relatively recent in its completion. I could find no write ups of this hike as well. I would like to try and find a way to drop down into Rice Canyon as that would also be an interesting variant to the loop and will be a primary goal for next time. All in all a new interesting training hike that I don't think will ever become all that popular, even if word gets out, due to the terrain.
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Cucamonga Man

Joined: 27 Jul 2011
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Location: Monterey Park, CA

PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 8:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the report. I've never been to the Susanas. Guess I need to get out there. When I read your reports I wish there were pictures. Do you take any when you hike?
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