Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park
As we scaled up the boulders and the steep ascents made of loosely packed dirt in the Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park, we commented, “How could they possibly have gotten stagecoaches over this pass?” and, “Why are they closing this park, clearly nobody’s maintaining it anyway.”
We had chosen this hike because of the tales told about the Devil’s Slide, a portion of the historic Old Stagecoach Trail through the pass. Tales about blindfolding horses so as to not spook them by the steep descent. Tales about passengers trailing stagecoaches to place rocks behind the wheels while tired horses rested during a climb. Tales about man’s innovations to aid their brakes. As Alexander D. Bevil writes in his Historic Overview, “If the driver relied on brakes alone, there would be, as one passenger described, ‘a streak of fire’ as the brake shoes rubbing along the wagon wheels’ iron rims overheated.”
So as we embarked on this hike, we were filled with a sense of adventure. What we expected was a Pioneer Adventure, but what we got instead was a Choose-Your-Own Adventure. We had intended to start at the trailhead in Chatsworth Park South, but that happened to be closed due to lead contamination. We reassessed and began at the Powerhouse Road trailhead. I can’t tell you what went wrong after that, and while we still enjoyed far-reaching views of the Valley, it’s fair to say that we did not find the Old Stagecoach Trail.
For more information on the Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park, check here: http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=611
Posted on March 6, 2012, in Chatsworth and tagged Alexander D. Bevil, California State Historic Parks, California State Parks, Chatsworth, Chatsworth Park South, Old Stagecoach Trail, Powerhouse Trail, Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park, Santa Susana Stagecoach Road, Santa Susanas. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.