Chatsworth’s 125th Birthday Hike

Chatsworth, CA is rich in horse history. Many of the old movie cowboys lived here or else worked in the studio ranches high up in the hills here. There is also a trail called the Stagecoach Trail, which really was used by stagecoaches in the mid-late 1800’s and early part of the 1900’s. There are many horse farms in Chatsworth, and Mr. Ed once lived here in a barn that still stands. Thoroughbred farms used to exist not far from here.

To commemorate Chatsworth’s birthday, 35 hikers trekked up the trail, including the dangerous portion of the old stage road known as The Devil’s Slide. Originally created by various wildlife traveling from one valley to another, the path was also used by Native Americans for literally thousands of years. In 1859 it became a stage route – an alternative to the famous El Camino Real to the south. An alternative to the Devil’s Slide was built just to the north in 1895. Running almost parallel to the Santa Susana Pass (which was built in 1917), this new road was known as El Camino Nuevo, AKA the Chatsworth Grade Road. This road still exists too, although is currently not accessible by automobile. One can still hike it, thankfully.

For more info on Chatsworth’s Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park and the history of the area, please read (info on the Devil’s Slide starts on page 16): https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:GEw5aEEP7MUJ:www.parks.ca.gov/pages/21299/files/chapter%25202%2520existing%2520conditions%281%29.pdf+&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESgaZbVsHWq6azmVzkaCB3G4GTB8WOx2VSJAbfD_BNJP70EBIuwKN3mLS-52qX_VWya9Y7ACTJJFtChU9fuCTpGw8pEwohnJPMLjkiYExUiAVn7aQU6kUA-vJ3DbUX_vfQxldGxp&sig=AHIEtbSpPhPKGRcQgFbH-xxY5_pM8jkq5w

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The map at the Larwin entrance to SSPSHP.

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The entrance to Chatsworth Park south, with the old dynamite shed in the background.

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The old sandstone dynamite shed. Was reportedly used to store dynamite used in the rock quarry/quarries, and assist in building the railroad.

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You can see tunnel #28 of the active railroad here in the left hand side.

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Part of the old Bannon quarry operation.

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Bannon quarry

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This old sandstone quarry is a LOT more than just a pile of rocks, discarded after the quarry went out of business. It has a history. From 1898-1915 these rocks were used to build a few buildings (I believe one or two of them are still in existence), and to create the San Pedro breakwater. A spur line of the Southern Pacific Railroad assisted in bringing the sandstone out to San Pedro. It once led from the main line at Topanga Canyon, along where Marilla street is now, past Andora and up to the quarry.

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Look! Shadow People!!! And they wouldn’t get out of my way!! Anyway, notice the groove in the rocks. The quarrymen bore grooves into the rock; something to do with helping them move or blast open the rock. I don’t quite remember the details.

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Guess what this is? A Toilet! Well, that is what the experts think. They think there used to be an outhouse above this site; it was used by the quarrymen.

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Another toilet photo.

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And here it is. The old rail bed. A train once ran through here and, most likely, up to the old water tower you see in the distance here. This road is now known as Power House Road, and it does actually lead to a small powerhouse. View looking north-west.

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Old rail bed, now called Powerhouse Road, looking south.

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Hiking up toward the Devil’s Slide. You can see the bed of the active railroad in the upper left.

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View of Chatsworth Park

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The active railroad. And hikers.

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Another part of the Bannon quarry.

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Amazing! An old cistern used by Native Americans. They also used this to grind up acorns into a mash. Chumash, Tongva, and Tataviam people once lived  in and around Chatsworth Park.

Incredibly, at least 20 Native American archaeological sites have been recorded within the park.

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Next to the old cistern, this hole in the rock was used by Native Americans too. I forget the details now, unfortunately, but this area is in fact, an important archaeological site.

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The little cave and the cistern. I was standing on a large outcropping.

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Native Americans used this rock too, I think to dry out acorns and maybe other foods, but I’m not sure. Looks sort of like a dinosaur, doesn’t it?

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Active railroad and Powerhouse Road.

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And here we are. Ascending the infamous Devil’s Slide. This trek is almost as evil as the name suggests. Don’t believe me? YOU try walking it. And imagine traveling via stagecoach or mud wagon!!

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Beautiful day for a hike.

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Appears to be an old cistern in the Devil’s Slide rock.

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Close up of the terrain on the Slide. See what I mean?

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The modern day “Coast line”.

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Holes drilled into the rock by the stage crew in order to assist them in surviving traveling up and down the Slide.

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We have almost reached the peak. You can see the historic plaque in the distance.

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This marker was placed here in 1939 to commemorate the history of the famous stagecoach route.

More photos to follow!!

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3 Responses

  1. DYNAMITE SHED! I need one.

    This looks really awesome. Maybe I should start a secondary outdoors blog, because I do a shit ton of hiking and have approximately 8 trillion pictures just sitting here waiting for me to do something with them, lol.

    Cool post. 🙂

    • LOL @ dynamite shed. Yes, my thought exactly. Everyone should have one in their backyard! I’ve been thinking I could save money and just move into this thing. Oddly, none of the State Park volunteers have said if there is anything is actually still in the shed. Well, I suppose I could go light a match and find out. 😛

    • Oh, and yeah, start another blog on hiking. For all the non-spooky stuff you encounter. 🙂

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