Soledad Canyon

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Aerial view of Soledad Canyon, with the Antelope Valley Freeway winding up through it from Santa Clarita toward Palmdale. Agua Dulce is visible in the center of the image, just left of the freeway.

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 Valencia. The upstream section of the Santa Clara River runs through it.

It is traversed by the Soledad Canyon Road (the second-longest street in Santa Clarita), State Route 14 (the Antelope Valley Freeway), and the Metrolink Antelope Valley Line. Travelers on board the Metrolink are afforded a view of much of the Santa Clara River.

Geography[edit]

The canyon lies between the Sierra Pelona Mountains towards the northwest and the San Gabriel Mountains to the southeast, starting at the northeastern end of Santa Clarita Valley. Traveling northeast through the canyon, it gradually slopes up until the unincorporated community of Acton, near which the Santa Clara River continues east towards its headwaters among the San Gabriel Mountains. Turning north towards Palmdale, the canyon terminates at Soledad Pass, just a few miles south of Lake Palmdale.

Soledad Canyon also contains the localities of Vincent, Acton, Ravenna, Russ, and Agua Dulce.

View of Soledad Canyon from California State Route 14 near Acton.

History[edit]

Soledad Canyon was a vital part of Los Angeles' transportation history. Transit between Los Angeles and the Central Valley was always difficult–in the "Gold Rush era" and stagecoach days the ride was extremely difficult, almost straight up-and-down through San Fernando Pass, up San Francisquito canyon, and over Tejon Pass. In 1856, Lieutenant Williamson, on a railroad surveying party, "discovered" that the pass, sometimes named "Williamson Pass", could provide the lower grades to make Los Angeles–Central Valley train travel possible by the roundabout detour all the way to Mojave, and over Tehachapi Pass, almost 70 miles farther than the direct Interstate 5 used today by trucks and autos.

In 1876, seven years after the transcontinental railroad was finished, the rail line was laid down Soledad Canyon, linking LA to the north, after a 6,940 feet (2.12 km) tunnel through San Fernando pass (still used by Metrolink) and the Tehachapi Loop, where trains circle on grades over top of themselves to gain altitude.

The canyon was chosen as the state's preferred alternative for the route of the planned California High-Speed Rail line between Burbank Airport and Palmdale. Project maps outline five tunnels to be excavated through the mountainsides, crossing State Route 14 once on an elevated structure.[1] Trains may start running in 2033.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Palmdale to Burbank Project Section" (PDF). CHSRA. Retrieved 19 July 2020.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°25′27″N 118°32′29″W / 34.42417°N 118.54139°W / 34.42417; -118.54139