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An Ironman Training Ground

Ridges and gullies training ground at Castaic Lake SRA

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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 6.3 miles
Duration: 1-3 hours
Family Friendly

Overview :  Castaic Lake is an interesting park. The lands are owned by State Parks, the recreational elements are run by Los Angeles County Parks... more »

Tips:  Location - Directions
Castaic Lake is an interesting park. The lands are owned by State Parks, the recreational elements are run by... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Getting There.

Starting on HWY 5, take the Lake Hughes Road/Sloan Canyon Road Exit East toward Castaic Lake.

Turn Left (north) at Ridge Route Road.

Turn Right (east) on Castaic Lake Drive. Pay the entrance fee at the kiosk.

Arrive at a 3-way intersection.
Note: the building across the way is the park Info Center.

Turn left (north) onto Grasshopper Road,... More

2. Trail Head

The trail head itself is located at the top of the boat ramp. We'll follow the Fisherman's Trail over and along the lake shore.

In hot weather use this as an opportunity to top off on water. If you're not familiar with the trails here, you should pack extra.

Only a few of the trail junctions are adequately marked and the downloadable maps ... More

3. Junction

A fairly steep zigzag trail up to the ridge-line.

4. Picnic area with shore access

A great shady area with a picnic bench overlooking the lake.

5. Point with vista

Heading down the trail to the next point is another shaded area with both shore access and a great panoramic vista of the lake's arm.

6. Uphill Climb

Leaving the shoreline the trail abruptly begins the fairly steep climb to the ridge above.

7. Dog-leg

Dogleg and view. The climb for elevation continues with the fire road cutting behind a tree-covered rise on the slope.

8. A Flat Spot.

A flat turn-around area before the road continues its upward grade to the ridge-line.

9. Ridgeline Junction

The trail reaches the ridge
Decision time.

Follow the ridge south along the Pine Ridge Fire Road -or-
Head north along the fire road to create a longer hike.

In both directions the ridge at its higher reaches is tree–lined, which really helps in hot weather.

What we found interesting was the extent this park goes to in fire break cutting. Both ... More

10. View from the Ridgeback

Vista overlooking Upper Castaic Lake and surrounding countryside.

11. Junction

We took the side road mid-curve and headed south, then west to take a look at the valley below. This road, as it turned out, serves only for access to the transmission towers for the power lines.

12. Transmission Towers

The road dead-ends at the transmission towers. What it does provide is a terrific overview of the valley below.

Head on back when done.

13. Junction

Return to junction.

14. Junction

Return to Junction (WP 9). Head northerly up the ridge.

15. Vista with a bench

A shaded bench just where it's needed along the ridge-line overlooking Castaic Lake.

16. Gate and Junction

A range gate to the adjoining ranch. Please, do not enter and help the park remain a good neighbor.

Two fire roads join at this junction. The first heads due west along a range fence. The second heads downhill into Cutler Canyon below.

The fire road down into the valley.

17. Junction

A trail heading up a gully to the west is either another fire road or part of a competitive biking course.

18. Side Trail

Single track up the hill.

Keep to the main trail.

19. Much needed shade

Heading into a spot called "the Hub".

20. The Hub

Part of the Pro's Uphill course. "The Hub" is just that - a junction from which roads and trails head in at least 5 directions. It's a substantial flat area where all sorts of staging can occur for events.

Head up the largest of the fire roads, heading west and up. This will be part of the "Pro's Uphill".

21. Pro's Uphill

The road turns on itself as it crosses the gully's flow-line. There’s a great view looking down the valley.

22. Nose and Junction

Rounding the nose, another good viewpoint presents itself.

An additional trail is available here that follows a path below the ridge top.

23. Grasshopper Fire Road

Grasshopper Fire Road heads along the ridgeline and works its way down to lower elevations and a valley below.

24. Viewpoint

"The Box" Expansive view that includes the cities below and surrounding ranges south and toward the coast.

Junction: Follow the Vista Ridge Fire Road along the hill's spine, which will eventually take you down to Grasshopper Canyon.

25. Junction

Our original desire was to take the trail at this junction into the valley and head north.

We missed it due to inadequate trail signage (and we didn't have an air photo with us). The intent was to head back to a point just south of "The Hub" and take a trail heading east up the ridge between the valley and the lake. From there we hoped to join... More

26. Trail Junction

The trail reaches the floor of Grasshopper Canyon and will follow the floor to the paved portion of Grasshopper Fire Road (southeast).

27. Junction

A road crossing the seasonal creek bed. Continue on the current road.

28. Trail Head at Grasshopper Fire Road

The paved road is the one we came in on to the boat ramp. As a narrow two-lane and winding road, it's probably not the safest of shortcuts back to the starting point. This area looks like it could be useful for staging horses and bikes. There's plenty of dirt parking.

Cross and head over to the West Ridge Trail across the street.

29. West Ridge Trail

The West Ridge Trail starts off in a densely shaded forest glen. About midway through the forested section will be a side trail that leads down to the Lower Lake and its northernmost parking area.

After exiting the other side of the forest, the trail's in open chaparral country and will rapidly gain elevation as it approaches the Castaic Dam's... More

30. 7 Acres Group Picnic Area

Back up to about 1600' elevation and at the upper trail head for the West Ridge Trail.

The broad field and picnic area is called "7 Acres". It's a large day-use area with expansive views across both the Upper and Lower lakes which includes the dam.

Picnic benches are shaded and have BBQ pits. There is also ample parking at the northeast corner.

... More

31. Restroom and Water

From here, head north along the fence line along the Upper Lake overlook. The route will blend into a trail which will ultimately intersect Grasshopper Fire Road on the way to the boat ramp area.

32. 3 Acre Park

Crossing the road the path follows the parking area at 3 Acre Park, another day-use area.

This picnic area also has the lower trail head for the Pine Ridge Fire Road which can also be used as a route back to the boat ramp area by keeping to the lower trails.

33. End

We followed the Grasshopper Fire Road back in. There's a convenient shelf just off the road's lake side that will keep one out of traffic.