Obscura Day 2017! Join our global celebration of exploration and discovery.
May 6

Newhall, California

LA's Forgotten Gold Rush

In a beautiful valley in Santa Clarita, California's first documented gold rush occurred.

In 1842, Don Francisco Lopez was dozing under a large oak by a stream in isolated Placerita Canyon. While he slept, he dreamed of gold. When he awoke, Lopez saw a wild onion and pulled it from the ground. Nuggets of gold hung from the onions roots... or so the legend goes.

Join writer and Field Agent Hadley Meares as we hike the site of California's first gold strike. We will visit the Oak of the Golden Dream and discuss the facts of Lopez's discovery, as well as the genesis of the legend that surrounds it today. We will learn about the mini gold rush that followed, and the rough-and-tumble miners' primitive methods of panning for gold. We'll also discuss the later history of the canyon—its eccentric inhabitants, movie secrets, and slow acceptance as a historical landmark. All the while, we'll take in the sights and sounds of the beautiful Placerita Canyon State Park, including the historic Walker Cabin, owned by the man who "rediscovered" the "Oak of the Golden Dream."


  • This is a 2-mile hiking tour. Dress accordingly.
  • This event is weather dependent. If we are expecting significant rain on this date, we will cancel the event. Tickets will be refunded or transferred to a rescheduled date, depending on your availability.
  • Water and sun protective wear are encouraged!
  • An email will be sent with the exact meet-up location, ample free parking will be available.


Contact Hadley Meares at hadley@atlasobscura.com.

Stay connected! Subscribe to the LA Obscura Society newsletter and like our Facebook page for a first glimpse at upcoming events.

Advance Tickets Only. All Sales Final. No Refunds or Exchanges.