Santa Susanna State Historic Park is a desert like environment that used to be a water wonderland. Many creeks run through the park, there are waterfalls, and there are many of water and wind caves. Wide variety of animals and plants used to thrive in the park and there was a big Chumash settlement there. When the railroad built the tunnel that runs under Santa Susanna pass they punctured the aquifer and drained the water table from the park. To this day they have to pump water out of the tunnel to keep it dry. Lots of movies were filmed at the park after it dried up because it has a classic "Old West "atmosphere.
Another fun fact is that Charles Manson and his "family "lived for a time at Spahn Ranch that lies along the north border of the park. The park is littered with abandon cars that are rumored to have been stolen and abandoned by the Manson family.
We will hike along El Camino on the weather, the road over the past before the 118 freeway was built, We will look down the hill at Spahn Ranch, we will see one of Manson's abandoned cars, caves, a native rock shelter and grinding hole, a waterfall, and hike over the Old Stagecoach Road aka "The Devil's Slide".
A little about the old stagecoach Road:
The Stage Road was very steep and the trail still shows scars from wheel skids and devices that were drilled into stone to help winch wagons over the pass. The Devil's Slide was the steepest portion of the pass where huge stairs were chopped into the rock for horses to climb. From atop the Santa Susana Pass one can see the railroad tunnel, completed in 1904, which rendered the stage road a less efficient secondary option.
Trail Difficulty: Strenuous (a good hike for poles if you use them)
Approximate Distance: 6.26 miles
Approximate time: 3 hours