Whitney Canyon Photos
Looking at the Whitney Canyon mouth area from Elsmere Canyon. The park-and-ride is in the lower left center. That is the parking area for hikes into Whitney and Elsmere Canyons.
Welcome to Whitney Canyon (way out of date because Gray Davis is not the governor anymore)
Bridge over to ranger's house
First part of road looking up the canyon
On the north side of the road just over the side is this pipe. It was probably a water pipe because there is no oil residue on the inside.
Looking west toward the mouth of the canyon with road on left
These 5 century plants are located in a small side canyon. They are very mature - why were they planted here?
Odd. When I checked again in March of 2011, they were pruned. The original photos above were taken in September of 2009.
There is another patch of them on the north side of the creek bed
Power lines cross over the canyon
This looks like a holding pond for water. At one time this was a horse and cattle ranch. They needed water. It was not on the 1950 Winterer and Durham map, but I did see it on an aerial photo from 1952, so it was built before 1952.
The above photo was taken in September of 2009 and this one was taken in March of 2009 after heavy rains.
Just past the pond is an old oil well called Fink 2. It was drilled in 1900, but never produced commercial quatities of oil. There is a oil seep on the south side of the road which is probably why they drilled there. This may be that well.
You can just make out the old NIKE base in the far distance
Plenty of oaks in the canyon
Probably at one time all the large oaks had numbers like this. There must have been some sort of environmental impact report done in the canyon. I would sure like to see it. Part of the EIR for the Elsmere Canyon dump consisted of marking all the large oaks so you will occasionally see markers on those oaks.
Small dump area with some old bottles and jars
I believe this is a young California Black Walnut tree
A second, younger, tree is nearby. I only saw two of these trees in the canyon.
An unusual large patch of wild grapes next to the road. These plants look like poison oak because of their 3-leaf pattern.
There are a lot of fallen oak trees in the canyon. This one just happened to fall over the trail.
Some kind of meeting place. On one side are stairs and on the other side is a ramp. I have heard (from Allen Skyler and Steven Murray) that this was once an outdoor church. Wood benches were trucked in each week and there was a baptismal pool in the center where the closer wall is a little higher.
Deeper in then canyon you eventually get to this spring. It has a strong smell of sulpher. Whitney Canyon was first called Mud Springs Canyon. There are two major springs in the canyon that I know of. This is one of them. The California Newhall well was drilled nearby in 1920.
Another view of spring
Plenty of cattails growing in the spring area
The trail gets narrower up the canyon past the spring
Here we are about at the end of the trail. We have reached the oldest rocks in the canyon consisting mainly of the metamorphic rock gneiss. To the left and below my backpack you can see an obvious fault where the two dark layers have shifted apart.
There are some pools of water here favored by bees. This is September of 2009. There is very little water in the canyon.
The trail has ended. Preceed at your own risk.
The next few photos were taken in March of 2011 after the rains
Going back from the waterfalls, you can see the brown Pico formation rocks in the distance. Unfortunately, you cannot see a good contact between the Pico formation and the basal gneiss rocks.
This is up the first major northeast tributary looking toward the mouth. You can see Eternal Valley in the distance on the right and Elsmere Ridge on the left. This tributary had a lot of squatters that had to be removed after the MRCA took over management of the canyon. There is still a lot of trash up here.
There is a lot of water up this tributary and so there is a lot of plant growth
The water soaks into the ground before it gets into the main canyon.
There are plenty of cattails here, too
If you hike far enough up the canyon, you will find the source of the water in the hillside next to the creek. The water is really gushing out here. This is the second major spring in the canyon.
Closer view of opening. Based on the amount of staining in the area, the water must have escaped in other places through the years.
The spring area is heavily covered with brush so there is not a lot of light to get good pictures. Here you can see where the water flows into the creek. The colors must be caused by the oil that is in the water.
Up a southern tributary is this cave. The shadow makes it deeper than it really is, but it could still easily shelter an animal. It was too high up for me to get close to.
This southern tributary contains an oil seep
It also contains standing water also popular with the bees
Deeper up same canyon
These holes were caused by water erosion in the narrow canyon
This was also caused by water erosion in a curve in the canyon. That's my black backpack.
This is a view looking about east up the canyon. The road is visible in the lower right center.
Another view looking southeast up the canyon closer to the mouth. The road is on the bottom right on the other side of the green main canyon. I am on the north side of the canyon.
View looking west up the mouth of the canyon. I am standing in the middle of the canyon. The road is on the left. You can see the green grass of Eternal Valley in the distance.
View looking west from far up the Whitney Canyon Parkway. Not a very clear day (9/19/09)
Whitney Canyon ends here as the creek is channeled under Highway 14 and Sierra Highway