(LA Trend) — While it may not have the popularity of other Los Angeles parks, Ernest E. Debs Regional Park actually has quite a bit to offer folks who are looking for adventure without driving all the way out to the country.
With easily-graded trails and fire roads, facilities for picnics and fishing, a stellar Audubon Center, and a dog-friendly atmosphere, this park is a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and hang out with Mother Nature for a day.
This large open space nature reserve and regional park is located in the Montecito Heights neighborhood of central-northeast Los Angeles, and provides several miles of hiking and cycling trails.
One of the more unique distinctions of the park is that its Audubon Center building was the first carbon-neutral building constructed in the United States, and currently has a variety of educational programs for guests of all ages.
Operated by the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, Ernest E. Debs Regional Park was named after Ernest E. Debs, a former California State Assembly member from 1942 to 1947, a Los Angeles city councilman from 1947 to 1958 and a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors from 1958 to 1974.
Located on 282 acres of natural beauty, Ernest E. Debs Regional Park features a 5+ mile loop that winds through nearly every section this lovely little patch of wilderness has to offer, whether you’re looking for hills to ascend, nature to explore, or views to take in.
For those looking for a good rugged adventure, take the Scrub Jay Trail, which consists of a well-graded dirt road that takes you through the woods and, if it’s a clear day, towards some spectacular views of Pasadena and the San Gabriel Mountains. Continue along this path, and you’ll also be treated to a breathtaking sight of the skyscrapers in downtown Los Angeles.
Add some variety to your hike by taking a stroll through the Walnut Forest Trail which features a drop followed by a gradual incline. Be sure to take the short detour to the tallest point on this route by heading over to the cul-de-sac, where you’ll come across some benches in a charming shaded grove.
And if you get tired of sticking to the fire roads, be sure to check out the Oak Grove Trail, which you can access by taking the Seco View Trail from the Walnut Forest Trail. The Oak Grove Trail passes through an overgrown yet tranquil stretch that takes you past some old wells and chimneys left over from the ranch era of the region.
Of course, Ernest E. Debs Regional Park has more than just the usual trails and views you get at many other parks. Whether you’re a professional ornithologist or just a bird-loving hobbyist, you’ll love the park’s flying, feathered wildlife. Expect your hike to be packed with plenty of melodious chirps and cheeps, as well as appearances from a wide range of unique birds that you won’t encounter in the city just a few minutes away, including American Kestrels, Great-horned Owls, Northern Flickers, and Yellow-rumped Warblers.
If you’re a real bird-lover, don’t miss the park’s Audubon Center which serves as a sort of environmental community hub in the heart of Northeast Los Angeles.
And located just behind the center is a sizable play and exploration area that has plenty of activities for the kids, so don’t forget to bring the youngins.
The park is located at 4235 Monterey Road, Los Angeles, CA 90032, and is open from dawn to dusk Monday through Friday. Go to their official homepage for more details.