It was an early morning, February 24th 2012, when I went for a hike in the west part of San Fernando Valley. I already knew that I was going to hike after an historic trail that had been used for several centuries before my hike by native Americans. The history was one main but not the only reason why I decided to hike this trail. This particular hike is a mix of several trails and I encourage you to find a map at lamountains.com
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Difficulty: The research I read stated that this was an easy hike and I agree except from the steep part in the beginning of the trail that almost made me turn around. If I had not seen the big “oak” tree with a bench under it on top of the hill I would have turned around. I thank the man or woman who ever came up with the idea of putting a bench there. Thank you! The rest of the hike was fairly easy. This is a hike that will take you up and down hills but not for a long time and you will have time to catch your breath at the easy parts.
How to find the trailhead: From 101 Fwy take the exit at Las Virgines Road and head south over the bridge. At the first traffic light, turn right and park your vehicle at the dirt parking lot. Turn your eyes to the canyon and the dirt road that goes slightly uphill that leads to the trailhead. You know that you are at the right place if you see displays and a sign that state West Trailhead.
Conditions: Except from some huge trees that provide shadow no shade is to expect on this trail and a hat and plenty of water is thus highly recommended. I did not see any snakes but I can imagine that they could be very active here. I saw a few mountain bikers here but it never felt like we could not share the road among us. The hike has signs that will lead you along the trail but never rely only on finding the signs because they can be missing someday!
The Hike: Read all the information at the trailhead provided to you by the displays and other signs. Start hiking uphills from the trailhead. This will feel in your legs if you are out of shape. On top of the hill you will see another display and 20 feet away you will see a big oak tree with a bench underneath. If you feel that you need to relax, take a few minutes and enjoy the view. On the other side of the trail viewed straight from the bench you will see a sign. If it is still there the sign will state Anza Loop Trail and this is the trail you will continue to hike after.
The trail will do some switchbacks until you reach the canyon side and you will now see by yourself that you are hiking in a loop, along Anza Loop Trail. You can also see the busy 101 Fwy in the far. After approx 200 feet you will reach the first intersection with a dirt road out of two. To your right you will see a downhill trail and to your left a sign a that has an arrow that points in the direction you came from and the words “Trail” on it. You will not make a turn here but you can note that you will be hiking uphill from that trail and turning left as you come back from the Calabash Canyon Loop Trail.
As you continue to hike after the Anza Loop Trail you will reach the second intersection with a dirt road and you will take a right here and leave the Anza Loop Trail to continue the hike on to the Calabash Canyon Loop Trail. This trail will also take you close to the canyon side and you will be able to visual imagine that you are traveling in a loop. Once you have hiked approx half of the loop you will find yourself hiking down into the canyon and reach a corridor made out of oak trees. It was quite muddy here at this part when I hiked. After approx 300 feet you will reach an intersection with a staircase to the right as the trail continue to the left. Chose to hike after the staircase. Walk down the stairs carefully and take a right when you reach the intersection with the dirt road. You will now hike uphill and at the top you will find yourself back on the Anza Loop Trail, as noted as earlier, and take a left and retrace your hike back to where you started.
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