Castaic, California

Coordinates: 34°29′N 118°37′W / 34.49°N 118.62°W / 34.49; -118.62
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Castaic, California
Castaic Dam and its lake, 2007
Castaic Dam and its lake, 2007
Location in Los Angeles County, California
Location in Los Angeles County, California
Castaic is located in Santa Clarita
Location in Santa Clarita Valley.
Castaic is located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area
Castaic (the Los Angeles metropolitan area)
Castaic is located in California
Castaic (California)
Coordinates: 34°29′N 118°37′W / 34.49°N 118.62°W / 34.49; -118.62
Country United States
State California
County Los Angeles
 • Total7.28 sq mi (18.85 km2)
 • Land7.26 sq mi (18.81 km2)
 • Water0.02 sq mi (0.04 km2)  0.24%
Elevation1,280 ft (390 m)
 • Total18,937
 • Density2,607.68/sq mi (1,006.87/km2)
Time zoneUTC-8 (Pacific (PST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP Codes
91310, 91384
Area code661
FIPS code06-11796
GNIS feature ID2582966
U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Castaic, California

Castaic (/kəˈst.ɪk/ ) (Chumash: Kaštiq;[3] Spanish: Castéc)[4] is an unincorporated community in the northwestern part of Los Angeles County, California, United States. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 19,015.[5] For statistical purposes the Census Bureau has defined Castaic as a census-designated place (CDP).[citation needed]

Tens of thousands of motorists pass through Castaic daily as they drive to or from Los Angeles on Interstate 5 (the Golden State Freeway). Castaic Lake is part of the California Water Project and is the site of a hydro-electric power plant. Castaic is 38 miles (61 km) northwest of Los Angeles Union Station and northwest of the city of Santa Clarita.

The Castaic Range War went on for decades in the late 19th and early 20th centuries resulting in dozens of deaths before hostilities ceased in 1916.


The name is derived from the Chumash word Kaštiq, meaning "the eye".[6] The Spanish and Mexicans later spelt the name in Spanish as Castéc. Castec is first mentioned on old boundary maps of Rancho San Francisco, as a canyon at the trailhead leading to the old Chumash camp at Castac Lake (Tejon Ranch), which is intermittently wet and briny.[6] Early publications in English spelled it Casteque before the current spelling became standardized.[7]


The Córdova family of California were the first settlers in the area. Modern Castaic began in 1887 when Southern Pacific set up a railroad siding on the line between Piru and Saugus Station, naming it "Castaic Junction".[8][9] Between January and April 1890, the Castec School District adopted the new spelling, "Castaic".[10][11]

Range War[edit]

Between 1890 and 1916, the Castaic Range War was fought in Castaic country over ranch boundaries and grazing rights. It was the biggest range war in U.S. history.

A feud started over Section 23, where the Stonegate subdivision is now. William Chormicle had legally bought the property, but William "Wirt" Jenkins was already storing grain on it and said he had filed for ownership. During a heated dispute, Chormicle and a friend shot and killed two of Jenkins's cowhands. They were acquitted in court.[12][13][14][15]

Jenkins, however, was the local justice of the peace, with friends of his own, and the feud quickly grew into war. Former Los Angeles Rangers (among whom Jenkins had fought) and other notables were drawn in. The war claimed dozens of lives and foiled a negotiator, a forest ranger whom President Theodore Roosevelt had sent in to quell it.[12][13][14][15]

Cattle business[edit]

Castaic has the last traditional cattle roundup—with horses, lariats, and branding irons—in Los Angeles County. It has been held by the Cordova family since 1834, when the family first settled here. Members of the Cordova family were scouts for the U.S. Army during the Mexican War in 1846 and helped identify bodies during the St. Francis Dam disaster in San Francisquito Canyon in 1928. Operations scaled back in 1967 when the government seized around 1,000 acres (400 ha), including the ancestral ranch-house, for the planned Castaic Lake and dam.[16][17]



The area is seismically active. On January 3, 2015, a pair of earthquakes of magnitude 3.1 (location: 34°36′36″N 118°38′06″W / 34.610°N 118.635°W / 34.610; -118.635, depth: 5.6 miles (9.0 km)) and 4.2 (location: 34°37′12″N 118°37′48″W / 34.620°N 118.630°W / 34.620; -118.630, depth: 5.5 miles (8.9 km)), respectively, were reported about 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) north of Castaic. The epicenter was 16 miles (26 km) from Santa Clarita, California.[18][19][20]


This region experiences hot and dry summers, and cool, moderately rainy winters. During the months of June though September, the average high temperature ranges from the 90s F (30s C) to above 100 °F (38 °C). According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Castaic has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate, abbreviated "Csa" on climate maps.[21]

Topography of Castac Valley and Rancho San Francisco
Topography of Castac Valley and Rancho San Francisco


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[22]

The 2010 United States Census reported that Castaic had a population of 19,015. The population density was 2,612.5 inhabitants per square mile (1,008.7/km2). The racial makeup of Castaic was 13,607 (71.6%) White (57.1% Non-Hispanic White), 630 (3.3%) African American, 119 (0.6%) Native American, 2,162 (11.4%) Asian, 26 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 1,466 (7.7%) from other races, and 1,005 (5.3%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4,716 persons (24.8%).[23]

The Census reported that 18,946 people (99.6% of the population) lived in households, 69 (0.4%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 0 (0%) were institutionalized.

According to the 2010 United States Census, Castaic had a median household income of $106,538, with 7.0% of the population living below the federal poverty line.[24] The population was spread out in age, with 5,761 people (30.3%) under the age of 18, 1,717 people (9.0%) aged 18 to 24, 5,144 people (27.1%) aged 25 to 44, 5,302 people (27.9%) aged 45 to 64, and 1,091 people (5.7%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35.6 years. For every 100 females, there were 101.2 males. For every 100 females aged 18 and over, there were 99.8 males.[citation needed]

There were 5,932 housing units at an average density of 815.0 per square mile (314.7/km2), of which 4,843 (84.2%) were owner-occupied, and 908 (15.8%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.2%; the rental vacancy rate was 6.7%. 16,231 people (85.4% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 2,715 people (14.3%) lived in rental housing units.[25]


Elementary and middle school students attend schools in the Castaic Union School District. High school students attend Castaic High School in the William S. Hart Union High School District.[26] Castaic High School first opened in 2019.[27]

Government and infrastructure[edit]

In the California State Legislature, Castaic is in the 21st Senate District, represented by Republican Scott Wilk,[28] and in the 38th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Steve Bennett.[29]

In the United States House of Representatives, Castaic is in California's 27th congressional district, represented by Republican Mike Garcia.[30]

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD) operates the Santa Clarita Valley Station in Santa Clarita, serving Castaic.[31] Station 149 of the Los Angeles County Fire Department serves the community. The Castaic Area Town Council meets monthly.[32]

Notable people[edit]

Appearances in popular culture[edit]

The community was featured by Huell Howser in The Bench Episode 19.[34]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 30, 2021.
  2. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Castaic, California
  3. ^ Chumash Place Names
  4. ^ "Castec" is written on diseños (boundary maps) of Rancho San Francisco in the 19th century; it is the Chumash name in Spanish, since Spanish has no 'sh'.
  5. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Census Summary File 1 (G001), Castaic CDP, California". American FactFinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved September 4, 2019.
  6. ^ a b John R. Johnson, "The Trail to Kashtiq," The Journal of California Anthropology, vol 5, no 2, pp 188–198.
  7. ^ The earliest English spelling was Casteque, an anglicization of Castéc, which in turn is the Spanish spelling of Chumash Kashtiq. UC Riverside, California Digital Newspaper Database.
  8. ^ Railroad stop history at Castaic
  9. ^ "Castaic area history". Archived from the original on September 23, 2015. Retrieved July 12, 2015.
  10. ^ Los Angeles Herald, Volume 34, Number 5, 18 April 1890
  11. ^ Los Angeles Herald, Volume 33, Number 92, 11 January 1890
  12. ^ a b ", Excerpts from court transcript". Archived from the original on December 8, 2015. Retrieved December 6, 2015.
  13. ^ a b " "America's Forgotten and Deadliest Range War"". Archived from the original on December 8, 2015. Retrieved December 6, 2015.
  14. ^ a b Rasmussen, Cecilia (April 15, 2001). "Castaic Range War Left Up to 21 Dead". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 20, 2015.
  15. ^ a b SCV History, "The Great Range War"
  16. ^ Kaplan, Tracey (June 15, 1992). "The Last Roundup : Castaic: The cattle business is a labor of love for the Cordova family, who have gotten together to tally and brand their herd since 1784". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 21, 2021.
  17. ^ "The Signal, "When everybody was a cowboy."". Archived from the original on November 26, 2015. Retrieved November 26, 2015.
  18. ^ Hamilton, Matt (January 3, 2015). "Earthquake: 4.2 and 3.0 temblors recorded near Castaic". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  19. ^ "M3.1 - 13km N of Castaic, California 2014-12-31 06:27:41 UTC". United States Geological Survey. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  20. ^ "M4.2 - 14km N of Castaic, California 2015-01-04 03:18:09 UTC". United States Geological Survey. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  21. ^ Climate Summary for Castaic, California
  22. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  23. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 2, 2012. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
  24. ^ [1] Archived 2012-07-02 at the Wayback Machine "Community Facts" American FactFinder, United States Census Bureau
  25. ^ "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA – Castaic CDP". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 15, 2014. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
  26. ^ "Wm. S. Hart Union High SD". SchoolSite Locator. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
  27. ^ Smith, Wyatt (August 13, 2018). "Castaic High School Opens Its Doors To Inaugural Class Of Freshmen". KHTS. Retrieved January 21, 2021.
  28. ^ "California State Senate". Ballotpedia. Ballotpedia. Retrieved June 15, 2021.
  29. ^ "California State Assembly". Ballotpedia. Ballotpedia. Retrieved June 15, 2021.
  30. ^ "California's 25th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC.
  31. ^ "Santa Clarita Valley Station". Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Retrieved on 2010-01-21 from "Los Angeles County Sheriff's Dept. - Santa Clarita Station". Archived from the original on January 23, 2010. Retrieved January 22, 2010..
  32. ^ Castaic Town Council. Retrieved from
  33. ^ Baseball
  34. ^ "Castaic – The Bench (19) – Huell Howser Archives at Chapman University".

External links[edit]