Wiley Canyon, Santa Clarita, California

Wiley Canyon was named for Henry Clay Wiley. He filed the first claim in the canyon in 1865. Like Pico and Towsley Canyons, there were many oil seeps in the canyon. These seeps probably attracted early Indians and, later, white men like Henry Wiley. The first oil men would skim the oil from the seeps, dig tunnels to let oil run out into a container, and drill wells with the primative spring-pole method.

In 1879, the Wiley claim was purchased by Charles N. Felton. Only a month later Felton, along with others, incorporated the Pacific Coast Oil Company which became the new owner of the Wiley claim. Wiley Canyon was owned through the years by PCO, Standard (when PCO became Standard), and then Chevron (when Standard became Chevron) until April of 1995, when the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy bought 3035 acres of land in the Santa Susana Mountains from Chevron. This land included parts of Pico, Towsley, Wiley, Leaming, Rice, and East canyons.

The canyon runs south to north into Towsley Canyon. It could be considered a tributary of Towsley Canyon. There is a 5-mile loop trail that enters Wiley canyon just past the parking lot, follows the canyon up to the first major west tributary, turns to the right up this tributary, and loops up and over the mountain into Towsley Canyon. From there, goes north and then east up Towsley Canyon until the parking lot is reached.


Henry Clay Wiley
Geology of Wiley Canyon
History of Oil Development (with historic well photos)
Oil Artifacts
Recent photos
The Winged Horseman - 1929 filming death