Santa Clarita Valley

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Santa Clarita Valley
Santa Clarita Valley.jpg
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Santa Clarita Valley
Location in Los Angeles County
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Santa Clarita Valley
Location in California
Floor elevation1,000–1,800 feet (300–550 m)
Native nameValle de Santa Clarita (Spanish)
Location Los Angeles County, California, United States
Population center Santa Clarita
Borders on Santa Clara River Valley (west)
Soledad Canyon (east)
Coordinates 34°25′N118°31′W / 34.42°N 118.52°W / 34.42; -118.52
Traversed by Interstate 5, State Route 14
River Santa Clara River

The Santa Clarita Valley (SCV) is part of the upper watershed of the Santa Clara River in Southern California. The valley was part of the 48,612-acre (19,673 ha) Rancho San Francisco Mexican land grant. Located in Los Angeles County, its main population center is the city of Santa Clarita which includes the communities of Canyon Country, Newhall, Saugus, and Valencia. Adjacent unincorporated communities include Castaic, Stevenson Ranch, Val Verde, and the unincorporated parts of Valencia.



The Santa Clara River was named by Spanish explorers for Clare of Assisi. The valley later became known as "little Santa Clara" in deference to the Northern California mission and city of Santa Clara, California. In time, "little Santa Clara" became "Santa Clarita." [1]


The Santa Clarita Valley is bordered by the Lake Piru area, including the community of Val Verde, Los Padres National Forest, and Castaic Lake to the northwest, Sierra Pelona Mountains and Angeles National Forest to the north and northeast, San Gabriel Mountains to the east and southeast, and Santa Susana Mountains to the south and southwest, and Ventura County and the Santa Clara River Valley to the west. To the west-northwest lies the Topatopa Mountains.

Santa Clarita Valley is connected to a wide array of other nearby valleys: the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles Basin via Newhall Pass to the south; Antelope Valley via CA 14 through Soledad Pass to the northeast; the San Joaquin Valley via I-5 through Tejon Pass to the northwest, and Leona Valley via San Francisquito and Bouquet canyons.

Downstream lies the Santa Clara River Valley, which was given the moniker Heritage Valley by the tourism bureau representing Piru, Fillmore, and Santa Paula. Upstream is Soledad Canyon which contains the communities of Vincent, Acton, Ravenna, and Agua Dulce.

Overlooking Santa Clarita from Ed Davis Park at Towsley Canyon. Santa Clarita Overlook.jpg
Overlooking Santa Clarita from Ed Davis Park at Towsley Canyon.


The Santa Clarita Valley is underlain by Quaternary alluvial deposits and coarse-grained Pleistocene age conglomerates dominated by sandstone of marine and non-marine origin. The far eastern end of the valley features predominantly coarse-grained Tertiary age formations of sedimentary origin. The southern end of Bouquet Canyon features a large areas of artificial fill stretching from Newhall Ranch Road up to Copper Hill Drive. [2] [3]

The valley is bisected by the San Gabriel Fault, which runs through the center of the valley along a NW-SE axis. The much smaller Holser Fault runs east-to-west between the south-eastern Topatopa Mountains and the present day community of Valencia. Neither fault line has been active since the early Holocene era. [4]

The valley is located in the northeastern extreme of the Ventura Basin Province, a petroleum-rich sedimentary basin with a long history of oil and gas production. [5]


The valley features a Mediterranean climate (Köppen Csa), approaching a semi-arid climate, with hot, dry summers and mild, moderately rainy winters with rare snowfall. Temperatures often exceed 100 °F (38 °C) on hot summer afternoons but rarely dip below 25 °F (−4 °C) on cold winter nights. The valley lies within plant hardiness zone 9b. [6]

Late spring and early summer mornings are often overcast due to the formation of a marine layer off the coast that moves inland overnight. These clouds typically retreat out of the valley by midday.

The valley is part of a "wind-tunnel-like-corridor" that connects the high desert with the Oxnard Plain on the coast. This funnels the Santa Ana winds which spreads wildfires and has been called one of the "most dangerous wind and fire corridors in Southern California." [7]

Climate data for Santa Clarita, California (Dry Canyon Reservoir, 1961-1990 averages, 1921-1990 average monthly extremes [lower-alpha 1] )
Record high °F (°C)91
Mean maximum °F (°C)77.2
Average high °F (°C)63.7
Average low °F (°C)35.4
Mean minimum °F (°C)26.4
Record low °F (°C)16
Average precipitation inches (mm)2.68
Source 1: [8]
Source 2: [9]


The Sand Fire burning in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains in 2016. Wildfires of varying strengths occur periodically around the valley. Sand Fire in Santa Clarita (28213236340).jpg
The Sand Fire burning in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains in 2016. Wildfires of varying strengths occur periodically around the valley.

Characterized by dry hills covered in brush and chaparral, Santa Clarita is susceptible to wildfires. Although wildfires are most common in summer and fall, they can occur throughout the year during drought conditions, such as in December 2017. Wildfire risk is highest when Santa Ana winds blow through the area from the Mojave Desert.

Notable wildfires in the Santa Clarita Valley include the Buckweed Fire, Sand Fire, Rye Fire, Tick Fire, and Maria Fire.


Hiking Towsley Canyon - Santa Clarita, California (3361480184).jpg
Coastal sage and chaparral typical of the southwestern and central portions of the valley.
A Sunrise on Vasquez Canyon Road.jpg
Montane chaparral typical of the northern and eastern foothills.

Santa Clarita lies on the boundary between the WWF-designated California coastal sage and chaparral ecoregion to the southwest, and California montane chaparral and woodlands ecoregion to the northeast.

Resident species of note include bobcat, coyote, red-tailed hawk, and desert cottontail. [10]


The Santa Clarita Valley is about 20 miles (32 km) from the Burbank Bob Hope Airport, and about 35 miles (56 km) from Los Angeles International Airport. [11] It is home to the 262-acre (106 ha) theme park Six Flags Magic Mountain which includes the gated waterpark Six Flags Hurricane Harbor. It offers a variety of family-oriented activity centers such as the Santa Clarita Aquatics Center, Copper Horse Riding Ranch, and the Cube (formerly Ice Station Valencia), restaurants and shopping centers, golf courses, cinemas and theaters, luxurious day spas, outdoor recreation areas like Castaic Lake, Placerita Canyon, and Santa Clarita Woodlands Park, as well as acres of parkland, animal sanctuaries like the Gentle Barn and Gibbon Conservation Center, over 70 miles of paseos and trails for hiking and biking, and more. The valley is also home to a number of historical sites, such as the oil drilling town Mentryville, Walk of Western Stars, and William S. Hart Ranch and Museum. The Santa Clarita Valley has a rich Western heritage, and since 1994, it has hosted an annual Cowboy Festival, which attracts more than 10,000 visitors each year. [12]


Elementary school students in Santa Clarita are served by the Castaic, Newhall, Saugus, and Sulphur Springs school districts. Junior high and high schools are part of the William S. Hart Union High School District, except for Castaic Middle School which is in the Castaic Union School District.

The unincorporated mountain communities of Acton and Agua Dulce are served by the Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District, which serves students from kindergarten through 12th grade.

There are three institutions of higher education in the valley: College of the Canyons, California Institute of the Arts, and The Master's University.

See also

Explanatory notes

  1. The record temperatures are sourced from the Weather Channel and the period of record is unknown.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Santa Susana Mountains</span> Mountain range of the Transverse Ranges in California, United States

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Soledad Canyon</span> Canyon in Los Angeles County, California, United States

Soledad Canyon is a long narrow canyon/valley located in Los Angeles County, California between the cities of Palmdale and Santa Clarita. It is a part of the Santa Clara River Valley, and extends from the top of Soledad Pass to the open plain of the valley in Santa Clarita. The upstream section of the Santa Clara River runs through it.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Canyon Country, Santa Clarita, California</span> Neighborhood of Santa Clarita, California

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Saugus, Santa Clarita, California</span> Neighborhood of Santa Clarita in Los Angeles, California

Saugus is a neighborhood in Santa Clarita, California. It was one of four communities that merged in 1987 to create the city of Santa Clarita. Saugus includes the central and north-central portions of the city. It is named after Saugus, Massachusetts, the hometown of Henry Newhall, upon whose land the town was originally built.

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The Newhall School District is an elementary school district in the Santa Clarita Valley that serves the Valencia and Newhall communities within the city of Santa Clarita, California, as well as the Stevenson Ranch community in unincorporated Los Angeles County. It currently includes ten schools.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Santa Clarita, California</span> City in California, United States

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Valencia, California</span> Community in Los Angeles County, California, United States

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sand Fire (2016)</span> 2016 California wildfire that burned in the San Gabriel Mountains southeast of Santa Clarita

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tick Fire</span> Wildfire that burned in the Sierra Pelona near Santa Clarita, California in October 2019

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The Soledad Fire was a wildfire that burned 1,525 acres (617 ha) south of Agua Dulce and northeast of Santa Clarita in Los Angeles County, California in the United States during the 2020 California wildfire season. The fire started on July 5, 2020, and caused the complete closure of State Route 14 in both directions throughout the day as the fire grew to 1,498 acres. The fire also at a point threatened over 4,795 structures, although only 9 homes were formally threatened by the direct fireline. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.


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  3. "Geologic Map of California". Retrieved 2021-05-11.
  4. "Fault Activity Map of California". Retrieved 2021-05-11.
  5. Keller, Margaret (1993). "Ventura Basin Province" (PDF). U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin. U.S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
  6. "California 2012 USDA Hardiness Zone Map". Retrieved 2021-07-30.
  7. Fry, Hannah; Puente, Mark; Lin II, Rong-Gong; Wigglesworth, Alex (2019-11-01). "Maria fire charges toward Santa Paula neighborhoods, forcing additional evacuations". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved 2019-11-01.
  8. "DRY CANYON RSVR, CALIFORNIA". Western Regional Climate Center . Retrieved 2021-03-07.
  9. "Santa Clarita, CA Monthly Weather Forecast". The Weather Channel . Retrieved 2021-03-12.
  10. "The Atlas of Global Conservation". Retrieved 2021-04-09.
  11. "Transportation". Visit Santa Clarita. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  12. "About – Cowboy Festival". Retrieved 2016-02-14.