By Levi Clancy for לוי on
The Arroyo Seco winds through various cities before connecting to the LA River. It has carved out a canyon, within which are countless trails, parks and sights.
At the Hahamonga Watershed you can take Arroyo Blvd, a path that hugs the Arroyo Seco and goes deep into the Angeles Forest. But for a more urban experience, go south. Upper Arroyo Park lets you explore the restored Arroyo Seco. There is even a narrow, slippery trail that takes you right to Devil's Gate Dam's floodgates, where there is a small, shaded, sandy beach. The Arroyo Seco follows a fixed concrete channel upon meeting Brookside Golf Course, but there are beautiful paved and dirt paths that go around the golf course.
These paths are very popular with those on foot, hoof or wheel. Eventually, right by Holly St, close to the 210, there is a restored, natural segment of the Arroyo Seco. South of there, two paths hug its concrete course until joining the LA River as a tributary. Along these paths are San Pasqual Park (not to be confused with San Diego's historic park) and Ernest E Debs Regional Park.
Runners and bicyclists sped along this graceful Pasadena trail, as did lackadaisical sightseers and photographers.
The stream is meadowy at the start, but as the trail progresses the canyon walls rise and the soil turns to rock.
Upper Arroyo (Pasadena)
The Arroyo Seco lies in a canyon within which are Pasadena's great open spaces: the lovely Hahamonga Watershed, Upper Arroyo and Arroyo Seco parks; the expansive Brookside Golf Course; and the Rose Bowl Stadium.
Against the foothills of the Angeles National Forest, the park has been carved out by the Arroyo Seco.
Hahamongna Watershed Park is a beautiful labyrinth of sandy paths lined by tall shrubs and diverse trees. The Arroyo Seco descends from the mountains, passing by JPL and spreading out in the Hahamonga Watershed, a wide expanse of dead trees. During rains it can flood entirely and send water surging through the dam's overflow channel. The water that rushes through during the rainy season leaves behind an intricate cobweb of wide washes and narrows paths. But for much of the year it is a placid, static place where various pools connected by narrow streams eventually are fed into the Arroyo Seco Canyon. There is a trail along the Hahamonga Watershed's southern side that leads all the way from Devil's Gate Dam into the Angeles Forest. The ground is soft and sandy (in some areas powdery silt) and every once in a while you'll find a little enclave where the only footprints belong to the abundant wildlife that thrives in the park.With so much privacy, it feels like the entire park is all to yourself. During the rainy season the park floods. By the end of summer, I did not see any water flowing through the park except at the north end. It is a delight to continue hiking north, following the Arroyo Seco's tree-lined banks deep into the forest.
Devil's Gate Dam
Built in 1920, Devil's Gate Dam backs up the Hahamonga Watershed, releasing water into the Arroyo Seco Canyon's Upper Arroyo Park.
Upper Arroyo Park
The 210 crosses here, forming a mix of urban and a vestige of the wild. However, the Arroyo is soon funneled into a concrete channel on a fixed course, so that it may run containedly through Brookside Golf Course and past the Rose Bowl Stadium.
Brookside Golf Course
South of the Brookside Golf Course is the next major feature of this large canyon: the Rose Bowl Stadium, with its associated park.
Arroyo Seco Park
The Arroyo runs through here, and continues south of Pasadena to the city of South Pasadena and then on to Highland Park.
From here it becomes a fixed concrete course with a bike path alongside it -- a humbler version of the LA River. However, there are a few neat parks alongside it, listed below.
San Pasqual Park
San Pasqual Park, adjacent to South Pasadena, is not to be confused with San Pasqual State Historic Park near San Diego.
Ernest E Debs Park
This lovely park adjacent to Montecito Heights has many trails and a lake.