A Southern California Summer in Pasadena sparkles with bright sunshine, fireworks in July, tall, leafy trees and afternoon breezes – a Saturday farmer’s market, charming vintage architecture and artisan ice cream. The Rose Bowl is very close by and beautiful walks and hikes are within the city and a short drive away.
Finding great places to go and see in Pasadena is easy, your biggest problem is deciding which ones to do first! In the summer, the weather is quite warm and because you have so many choices, a little extra planning is helpful. We love to get out on the weekends fairly early to beat the heat and get our day started.
Since we have just moved back to our hometown of Pasadena, we are having a blast discovering all of the treasures this area has to uncover. Now that the nest is empty and our children are grown up living elsewhere, we can schedule our leisure time the way we like!
The weather in So Cal makes it easy for us to enjoy lots of activities outdoors and taking our canine substitute “child” for a walk or hike is a favorite of ours. Sweet Rocco is only three and he needs to walk everyday, so we embrace the challenge.
We have asked local friends for suggestions as well as discovered lovely places to hike and walk in the area on our own. After reading this fun, detailed article 20 must-visit outdoor spots in So Cal, it inspired me to offer my ideas for where to go to enjoy nature here in Pasadena.
Where to take a walk or go hiking in Pasadena ~
The Rose Bowl ~
Our first stop is the “Granddaddy of them all”, The Rose Bowl. Every single morning of the year, there is a busy group of walkers and runners that circle the Rose Bowl throughout the day. It is especially bustling in the morning and you can choose whether to walk clock-wise or counter clock-wise!
Sitting adjacent to the Rose Bowl is the Brookside Golf Course with gentle, rolling hills and groves of towering trees. Most people only visit the Rose Bowl for football games and it is super fun to be there when it is free from the football crowds. When you experience this iconic landmark in the quiet of the off-season, you almost feel like you are breaking the rules!
The Arroyo Seco Natural Park ~
We live only a few blocks away from one of our favorite spots to hike. The Arroyo Seco is so beautiful in the morning with the rays of sunshine floating through the trees and the slight breeze sending the smells of breakfast from the homes on the hills that border the Arroyo. The trail is not crowded, easy to maneuver, and a peaceful yet energizing way to begin the day.
Tall trees, chirping birds and an archery range line the sides of the trails. The ground is soft and sandy under your feet which is really pleasant to walk on.
Down at the south end of the trail are the San Pasqual Stables. The horses in the stable whinny a quick hello and peek at you with one eye. You feel like you are in the country, yet downtown Pasadena in only a few blocks away!
Echo Mountain ~
All the way at the tip-top of Lake Avenue is the Cobb Estate. There are two trails; the Sam Merrill Trail and Echo Mountain. We like to take the 2.5 mile trek up to Echo Mountain. The trail is filled with dry wild flowers and natural California vegetation. Every turn offers a new glorious view and Rocco loves it! We like to go in the morning before it gets busy and the air is quiet.
Eaton Canyon ~
An easy(ish) hike in Eaton Canyon is another one of our favorites! The trails are wide and sandy, there are lots of trees and great big boulders are everywhere. If you hang in there for two miles, you can make it to the waterfall. There are lots of rocks to maneuver around and this part of the trail is very shady. Unfortunately with the drought conditions, the waterfall isn’t nearly as grand as it used to be, but still a lovely place to arrive for the half-way mark.
In the summer, lots of other people have the great idea to come to Eaton Canyon, so if you can get up early, the area is much less congested with other hikers. Recently, Rocco met a little puppy named Finn along the way and he let Finn know exactly how to behave. Rocco is certainly our pack leader, he does not want anyone in front of him and he tries to pass every hiker we come across on the trail.
Urban Walk ~
What better way to start or end the day than to walk through Downtown Pasadena? There are many great areas to discover, but for today we are starting on Green Street. Check out the brick buildings and how the mature trees are so full and lush they touch in the middle!
Next, stop is at Afters Ice Cream (1265 E. Green St) for a dreamy Milky Bun. The Milky Bun is a gently-warmed donut, sliced in the middle, stuffed with handcrafted ice cream. I would take a walk for that tasty treat, wouldn’t you?
After enjoying that incredible Milky Bun, take a left and walk north to Colorado Blvd to see the revitalized, downtown shopping and terrific restaurants. On Sundays you can pick up some fresh local produce at the Old Pasadena Farmer’s Market on Holly St. The city streets are busy and vibrant, there are several local parks and you can even walk to the historic Del Mar Train Station at the south end of Old Pasadena.
Create your own path through the city with your particular interests in mind. Pasadena City Hall and the surrounding neighborhoods are also spectacular to see up close.
The city of Pasadena offers plenty of locations for a summer walk as well as some fantastic hiking. Pick your passion, make a plan, pack some water and off you go. You are only limited by the number of hours in the day and the energy in your tank! How fun to see one of the prettiest cities in Southern California on foot!
Don’t you feel that being a part of your surroundings is far more interesting than sitting in the car watching the scenery pass you by?