Placerita Canyon Nature Center, Newhall

#175 of 241 in Wildlife in California
Placerita is an east-west running canyon featuring cool, shaded oak groves, a willow and sycamore-lined seasonal stream and numerous other interesting plant and animal communities.

The historic "Oak of the Golden Dream" is the site of California's original gold discovery in 1842. Another landmark is the Walker Cabin , built by Frank Walker in 1920 for his family.

A network of self-guiding nature, history and hiking trails radiates out into the park from the Center, with longer hikes leading to a seasonal waterfall and to the top of the Santa Clarita Divide. Picnicking is available near the Nature Center.

The park encompasses oak woodland, chaparral, and riparian plant communties on the north side of the San Gabriel Mountains southeast of the City of Santa Clarita. The park not only serves to conserve a slice of the wild environment but also endeavors to educate the public on the value of undisturbed flora and fauna through wild animal presentations, nature hikes, and self-guided educational trails.
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Placerita Canyon Nature Center Reviews
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42 reviews
  • Location is off the beaten path. The property contains some native birds and mammals as well as snakes. Note the surrounding area was consumed by fire a year ago. Sad but it makes for interesting view...  more »
  • As a full-time toddler father, I try to get my son out of the house at least once a day. We're always looking for new things to do as I have to admit I get bored just going to a park everyday. Placeri...  more »
  • To beat the heat we visited early on a Saturday morning before the Nature Center building was open (9am-5pm). Quite a few people were there enjoying the hiking trails, although 2-3 of them were closed...  more »
  • Been coming here since I was young still is the most beautiful place I have seen and after the devistating fire it's nice to see the park coming back to how it used to be I hope in time they open all the trails. It's work coming here with kids or anyone who enjoys nature.
  • As a full-time toddler father, I try to get my son out of the house at least once a day. We're always looking for new things to do as I have to admit I get bored just going to a park everyday. Placerita Canyon Nature Center is a great thing to slip into your repertoire of places to go. While there is tons of hiking, if you're not going to do the hikes, it's a nice, fairly short trip that you're not going to spend hours at, yet still interesting. Walking up to the nature center, be sure to check out all the cages that have local birds in them... I particularly love the raven! They also have tortoises too! There is an additional hallway that used to have fish and some other things, but that's been empty lately. You can still check it out though. Then there is the nature center itself which my son loves! There are two rooms and a hallway. One room has panoramas with fake scenes of the outdoors and different wildlife. The best part for a toddler is that there are glowing buttons to press! Each button makes the sound of a different bird. There is also a TV screen that my son loves (for some reason) that shows old black and white movie clips that were filmed around here. The second room has a bunch of cool taxidermy including a huge bear! But they also have some live animals like rattlesnakes, a turtles, fish, a bee hive and more! So while it's not going to take an hour... there's still enough here to make it worth the trip form LA. Then, you should take the "nature trail", which is a very short hike that takes you past some cool old buildings and around the corner to "The Oak of the Golden Dream" which is the site of the first place gold was discovered in California! It's not the most exciting thing on the planet, but it's something fun to do. I highly recommend checking this place out! We will often also visit the nearby Dunkin' Donuts after, haha. They have a drive through which is nice.
  • Great place for the family many things to do and see . I recommend anyone to come here .
  • Like probably a thousand other people who drive by every day and have never stopped, I've driven past it a dozen times. I only stopped today to kill a little time. Very lucky for me! Quiet, serene, clean little nature center. I see there's a raptor presentation tomorrow. I'll be back with the kid in-tow!
  • I love this place. Must visit the Oak of the Golden Dream.

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