Arroyo Seco

By Levi Clancy for לוי on
updated

▶︎ View related▼︎ Tap to hide
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.

[iframe width="100%" height="550" src="http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=215143615187022399202.0004b7ebac98979b7e7e9&ie=UTF8&t=p&ll=34.147329,-118.174095&spn=0.12786,0.251656&z=12&output=embed"]

Gabrielino Trail

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.

Hahamongna Watershed

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.

hahamonga watershed pasadena
Hiking trail at the Hahamonga Watershed.

hahamonga watershed pasadena

devils gate dam pasadena
Backside of Devil's Gate Dam

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.

devils gate dam pasadena

devils gate dam pasadena

hahamonga watershed pasadena

devils gate dam pasadena

devils gate dam pasadena

devils gate dam pasadena

devils gate dam pasadena

devils gate dam pasadena

devils gate dam pasadena

hahamonga watershed pasadena
There is a small beach at the base of the dam.

hahamonga watershed pasadena
Heading back towards Upper Arroyo Park from the base of the dam.

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

Rose Bowl

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.

upper arroyo park pasadenaThe 210 Freeway crosses the Arroyo Seco Canyon via a high bridge, creating a striking urban-natural dichotomy in a large space.

upper arroyo park pasadena

upper arroyo park pasadena

upper arroyo park pasadena

brookside golf course arroyo secoView from Forest Avenue overlooking Brookside Golf Course in Arroyo Seco Canyon. Image © L M Clancy.

upper arroyo park pasadena

upper arroyo park pasadena

upper arroyo park pasadena

brookside golf course arroyo secoView from the Arroyo Seco of the Colorado St and 134 Freeway bridges. Image © L M Clancy.

Lower Arroyo

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.


Tap to open
levi.life|1505170554_K1H33NXBWL
close
Tap to open
levi.life|1505170556_CVS5LCERT2
close
Profile of the devil at Devil's Gate Dam
Tap to open
levi.life|1505169770_S2CTAC9FTD

Profile of the devil at Devil's Gate Dam

close
Devil's Gate Dam
Tap to open
levi.life|1505169772_BQNV3BCUKV

Devil's Gate Dam

close
Animal tracks at Devil's Gate Dam
Tap to open
levi.life|1505169774_SE88N72M16

Animal tracks at Devil's Gate Dam

close
Animal track at Devil's Gate Dam
Tap to open
levi.life|1505169775_5RSJK211QY

Animal track at Devil's Gate Dam

close
Animal track at Devil's Gate Dam
Tap to open
levi.life|1505169778_83QW1AMT4L

Animal track at Devil's Gate Dam

close
Devil's Gate Dam
Tap to open
levi.life|1505169781_G239GL8BAA

Devil's Gate Dam

close
Bird tracks at Devil's Gate Dam
Tap to open
levi.life|1505169783_5D45C12JFA

Bird tracks at Devil's Gate Dam

close
Bird track at Devil's Gate Dam
Tap to open
levi.life|1505169784_K49YQNANE9

Bird track at Devil's Gate Dam

close
Bird track at Devil's Gate Dam
Tap to open
levi.life|1505169785_5V7PX13VF9

Bird track at Devil's Gate Dam

close
Bird track at Devil's Gate Dam
Tap to open
levi.life|1505169787_9ZVSVHADK8

Bird track at Devil's Gate Dam

close
Bird track at Devil's Gate Dam
Tap to open
levi.life|1505169788_W4BFYS4UHN

Bird track at Devil's Gate Dam

close
Devil's Gate Dam
Tap to open
levi.life|1505169789_DSXCPMFAQD

Devil's Gate Dam

close
Devil's Gate Dam
Tap to open
levi.life|1505169791_C5JPJ64J3Q

Devil's Gate Dam

close
Devil's Gate Dam
Tap to open
levi.life|1505169792_5JBPXPUYAF

Devil's Gate Dam

close
Devil's Gate Dam
Tap to open
levi.life|1505169793_81HPVC3VXU

Devil's Gate Dam

close
Tap to open
levi.life|1505170557_N7SD8LNGSR
close
Devil's Gate Dam
Tap to open
levi.life|1505169795_66BGSBCCKH

Devil's Gate Dam

close
Devil's Gate Dam
Tap to open
levi.life|1505169796_BSNG6NSQ5G

Devil's Gate Dam

close
Devil's Gate Dam
Tap to open
levi.life|1505169798_EXB5GRP8W5

Devil's Gate Dam

close
Devil's Gate Dam
Tap to open
levi.life|1505169799_6XJB4JNCFJ

Devil's Gate Dam

close
Devil's Gate Dam
Tap to open
levi.life|1505169800_LQTEB74X7W

Devil's Gate Dam

close
Devil's Gate Dam
Tap to open
levi.life|1505169802_CTCE7NBPAV

Devil's Gate Dam

close
Devil's Gate Dam
Tap to open
levi.life|1505169803_MZ81472CWS

Devil's Gate Dam

close
Devil's Gate Dam
Tap to open
levi.life|1505169804_Q9UUM11895

Devil's Gate Dam

close
Devil's Gate Dam
Tap to open
levi.life|1505169805_WAS1YT1566

Devil's Gate Dam

close
Tap to open
levi.life|1505169553_5KDQ13B3AY
close
Tap to open
levi.life|1505169555_5MK4W1TF54
close
Tap to open
levi.life|1505169556_GGW9YWG69V
close
Tap to open
levi.life|1505169558_WJZA36KJJ4
close
Tap to open
levi.life|1505169559_2M58GVZJB3
close
Tap to open
levi.life|1505169560_TPFBLX195G
close
Tap to open
levi.life|1505169562_FY3ZKZZRG1
close
Tap to open
levi.life|1505169563_6FRKN3UPS8
close
Tap to open
levi.life|1505169564_V1EKA1PNSX
close
Tap to open
levi.life|1505169566_P96V3ANV76
close
Tap to open
levi.life|1505169567_XLY23PJCLC
close
Tap to open
levi.life|1505169569_VW6BNXE1UE
close
Tap to open
levi.life|1505169570_1QL6CBGHM1
close
Tap to open
levi.life|1505169572_WT3WJYDVBN
close
Tap to open
levi.life|1505169573_AUWSJNZ4BV
close
Tap to open
levi.life|1505169574_ZUDXHRKKV6
close
Tap to open
levi.life|1505169576_LUR37CEQEF
close
Tap to open
levi.life|1505170559_2SQJLKLG51
close