One of the unique characteristics of Southern California is you can sit in five lanes of traffic on a local freeway one minute and 10 minutes later, lose yourself in some of the most spectacular natural splendor found anywhere in the world. Such is the case with Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park, which towers over the vast residential and commercial development in the San Fernando Valley.
Overview of the Park
Located in Los Angeles County, Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park sits where the Simi Hills merge with the majestic Santa Susana Mountains. As the western section of the Transverse Range, the historic park includes tall, narrow ridges and very deep canyons richly full of chaparral and trees native to the Mediterranean climate of Southern California. Panoramic views of the surrounding wilderness and bustling neighborhoods of San Fernando Valley captivate park visitors.
The state-managed park spans nearly 700 acres on a boundary that separates Ventura and Los Angeles counties. Several cultural, historical, and archaeological landmarks make Santa Susan Pass Historic Park a hidden gem within the California state park system.
Santa Susana Pass State Historical Park is home to a 174-acre National Register of Historic Places site that features the villages and trading routes used by the Tongva, Chumash, and Tataviam Native American tribes. The nationally historic place also includes sections of the Old Santa Susana Stage Road, which was the primary route for travelers between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Both Los Angeles and Ventura counties have designated the stage road as a historical landmark.
The California Department of Parks and Recreation acquired most of the park in 1979, with additional sections of land added to the park during the late 1990s to increase the number of hiking trails. Park visitors enjoy numerous spectacular vistas along winding trails that ascend and descend frequently to challenge advanced hikers. The park also offers more casual hikers a couple of trails that run mostly over even terrain. Some of the hiking and equestrian trails cover the land between the Santa Monica Mountains and San Gabriel Mountains. Many hikers who prepare to complete the Pacific Crest Trail train inside of Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park.
The park is also an ideal training venue for cyclists who love roaming the backcountry on mountain bikes. Families in search of a more relaxed visit to the wilderness have several options for enjoying picnics among the myriad wildlife that call Santa Susana Pass Historic Park home. Nature exhibits and educational programs that include nature viewing attract families to the park as well.
Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park opens at 8 AM every day, with closing time arriving at sunset. The 12-mile drive from Holiday Inn Burbank takes guests north on Interstate 5 and then West on the Ronald Reagan Freeway (California State Route 118). Visitors gain access to the park at the 10200 block of Larwin Avenue. The park entrance is on the right side of Larwin Avenue beneath several electrical power lines.