Santa Clara River Valley

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This article is about the valley in Ventura County. For the valley in Santa Clara County, California, see Santa Clara Valley. For the California wine region, see Santa Clara Valley AVA.

The Santa Clara River Valley is a valley in Ventura County, California that has been given the moniker Heritage Valley by the namesake tourism bureau.[1] The valley includes the communities of Santa Paula, Fillmore, Piru and the national historic landmark of Rancho Camulos. Named for the Santa Clara River,[2] which winds through the valley before emptying into the Pacific Ocean between the cities of Ventura and Oxnard, the tourist bureau describes it as ".... Southern California's last pristine agricultural valley nestled along the banks of the free-flowing Santa Clara River."[3] The valley is an exception to the post-war urban development that has almost entirely eradicated the evidence of citrus cultivation throughout most of Southern California.

Santa Clara River Valley from SR 126


The Santa Clara River Valley is bordered by Los Padres National Forest and the Sespe Condor Sanctuary to the north and the Santa Susana Mountains to the south. The valley stretches from the boundary of northwest Los Angeles County and the northern Santa Clarita Valley on the east to the Oxnard Plain on the west marked by South Mountain[4] on the south bank of the river. The Santa Clarita Valley is part of the upper watershed of the river.


A footpath through the valley was the only route linking the San Fernando and San Buenaventura missions for 18th-century Spanish priests. Thomas Bard launched a campaign in the 1870s to build a road through the valley as he wanted to connect the new Hueneme wharf with ore mines in Inyo County[5]


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Coordinates: 34°22′0″N 118°59′0″W / 34.36667°N 118.98333°W / 34.36667; -118.98333