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Hiking Tips

118 Discover California State Parks SANTA SUSANA

Until trails are established and marked by Santa Susana
California State Parks, please help us preserve
Pass Road The mission of the California Department
of Parks and Recreation is to provide for the
the unique natural and cultural features of

State Historic Park

Topanga Canyon Blvd

health, inspiration and education of the
Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park and people of California by helping to preserve the
observe the following: state’s extraordinary biological diversity,
SANTA SUSANA protecting its most valued natural and
• Hike only on safe pathways. Veering onto PASS S. H. P. cultural resources, and creating opportunities
untrodden areas destroys the natural Lilac
for high-quality outdoor recreation.
environment and increases your chances of

For general state park information, contact
coming into contact with poison oak, Chatsworth the California State Parks Communications
rattlesnakes and ticks. Office, P.O. Box 942896, Sacramento, CA
Park-South Devonshire St. 94296-0001, or call 1-800-777-0369. Outside
• Everything, from the barest twig to the
the U.S., call (916) 653-6995, or visit our
rustiest horseshoe, is now a part of this website at
California State Park. If you see anything Prior to arrival, visitors with disabilities
suspicious, including the removal or who need special assistance should contact
disturbance of our precious resources, please the park at (310) 454-8212. This
report it immediately. publication is available in alternate formats
by contacting the Communications Office.
• Know your physical limits. Summer • Park hours are 8 a.m. to sunset daily. For To use the California Relay Service with
temperatures can reach 100 degrees and the your safety and that of the park community, TDD, call (888) 877-5378 or without TDD,
terrain is rugged. please observe these access hours. call (888) 877-5379.
• Always carry plenty of water. And remember • Access to the park is from Chatsworth Park
to drink it! South on the southeast side, or from a signed
trailhead off Lilac Road toward the west.
• Don’t hike alone. Use the “buddy” system. Tell
• Dogs are not permitted in the park.
a friend or family member of your plans. Let
them know when you plan to return. • Fires are not permitted. This is a high fire-
danger area. GRAY DAVIS
• In case of an emergency, please call 911. Governor

Santa Susana Pass Secretary for Resources
State Historic Park
c/o Topanga Sector Director, California State Parks
Poison Oak
1501 Will Rogers State Park Road
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272 ©1998 California State Parks (Revised 3/00)
(310) 454-8212 Printed on Recycled Paper
Santa Susana The maroon monkey flower is a rare and
distinctive form of the bush monkey
Cultural And
Historical Value
travel between the missions was known as El
Camino Real (the King’s Highway). Today, the Simi
Pass flower (Mimulus aurantiacus). It is a
perennial shrub found on dry slopes
Two distinct California Indian
Valley Freeway—also known as State Highway
118—follows the 1895 route built to ease the grade
State Historic Park groups were the primary
within chaparral, coastal sage scrub and of the old road over the Santa Susana Pass.
dwellers of this area: the Tongva
oak woodlands. This form has deep red
and the Chumash. It is not
This 670-acre historic park, located in Los flowers and blooms from March to July. Activities
known whether the area was
Angeles County where the Simi Hills meet the equally shared by the two Located at the edge of an urban area, this rugged
Santa Susana Mountains, is rich in natural, groups, or whether one was park provides exceptional outdoor recreation.
historical and cultural significance. Here in the dominant. The Tongva people, Visitors can enjoy its scenic open space with a set
western part of the Transverse Ranges, the land is highly proficient at deep-sea of trails networking through the property. Docents
dominated by high, narrow ridges and deep fishing, shellfish gathering and from the Foundation for the Preservation of the
canyons covered with an abundant variety of plant hunting sea mammals, were Santa Susana Mountains lead regular environ-
life. The park offers panoramic views of the rugged especially skilled at trading with mental education programs for local school
natural landscape as a striking contrast to the their neighboring groups—with children, and on Sundays from October through
developed communities nearby. shell beads, steatite, dried fish June the Santa Susana Mountain Park Association
The diverse terrain of ridges, canyons and rock and sea otter pelts among their leads guided hikes.
outcrops houses several varieties of habitats within slopes support more trade items. Photographers will find inspiration in the
the park’s environs. There are two seasonally dense vegetation. springtime blossoms, the striking rock formations
The Chumash people were
intermittent streams whose flows—at times Coastal sagebrush, and the views from the ridges. Equestrians will
technologically and artistically sophisticated,
significant enough to produce waterfalls—depend buckwheat, laurel sumac, chamise and wild lilac enjoy a system of horse trails through the park.
creating fine basketry, canoes capable of sea
on the rainfall. The presence or absence of springs are typical shrubs within the park environs. In the
voyages and spectacular rock art.
and streams at different times of the year has a small canyons, where seasonal rains are more
Today, descendents of the Chumash
profound effect on the local vegetation. likely to be channeled, some riparian species such
and Tongva people have maintained
The landscape of Santa Susana Pass State as willow and Mexican elderberry grow well. In the
the traditions of their ancestors
Historic Park consists of sandstone ramparts— larger riparian channels, coast live oak, California
through community outreach and
relics of mountain-building forces exerted nearly walnut, sycamores and willows create a dense
educational interpretive programs.
five million years ago. These memorable canopy. Spring rains produce acres of spectacular
The Santa Susana Mountains and
formations have been used as the background for flowers and blooming shrubs.
the San Fernando Valley have a history
several western films. Because of its greatly diverse plant communities,
as a transportation corridor that dates
The soil, which ranges from hard sandstone the availability of water, and a varied physical
back to 1769, when Spanish Army
bedrock to various forms of the surrounding clay, structure, this region supports a rich variety of
Captain Gaspar de Portolá led an
shale and crushed sandstone, provides a perfect wildlife. This rugged area is part of an important
expedition over the Sepulveda Pass
habitat for the abundant coastal sage scrub, wildlife corridor that connects the San Gabriel,
from San Diego to Monterey Bay.
chaparral and annual grasses among smaller areas Santa Susana and Santa Monica Mountain ranges.
During the next 52 years, the Spanish
of oak and riparian woodlands and riparian scrub. Mule deer, bobcats, coyotes, gray foxes and ring-
rulers established presidios, towns and
The sandstone rock outcrops shelter the rare Santa tailed cats are among the many native animals to
a system of 21 missions. The route of
Susana tarplant, while the moister north-facing be found here.

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