Week 189: Limekiln Canyon Park

October 06, 2019

L.A. Walks: Limekiln Canyon Park is an Unexpected, Shady Oasis, 4 miles

In the patchwork quilt of communities that makes up L.A. County, it seems that each area has a place where hikers, dog-walkers, and joggers can escape urban sprawl and return to nature. Today Barbara and I followed Charles Fleming's August 9, 2019, L.A. Times walk through Northridge's nature refuge: Limekiln Canyon Park. Tucked west of Tampa Ave. between Rinaldi St. and Sesnon Blvd., its two-mile trail makes for a delightful hike beside a rocky creek with just enough steep slopes and narrow paths to make it cardio-worthy. There's no real history here, no plaques or old structures. We do know the West Valley dates back from prehistoric times to ancient Indian villages, and I suspect the park was named as a nod to the lost history of the flourishing West Valley lime industry pre-dating Spanish construction of Mission San Fernando in 1795, and prospering in the 19th-century. Lime kilns are used for calcination of lime, and cement is made from limestone—an essential material in Spanish California's missions, pueblos, and presidios. Following Fleming's directions, we began at the park entrance on Rinaldi and followed an easy trail into nature. Lots of hikers, happy dogs (I always say happy dogs because, I swear, a hiking dog is a smiling dog.) The cool summer morning warmed up fast, but the trail is shaded by oaks, pines, redwoods, sycamores, willows, and one large, random, fan palm. The path widens, narrows, has one or two steep sections, sometimes follows the creek and other times borders Tampa Ave., and passes under the Hollow Springs Drive bridge. Once we reached Sesnon Blvd. in the foothills, we turned to retrace our steps. On the way back we ran into a team of park rangers on patrol, then a short detour allowed a taste of creek-hopping—always fun! A quick in-and-out trek, this hike was a lovely surprise for a morning getaway at a new-to-us destination. 

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