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Lower Arroyo Seco

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Wooded streamside trail, inviting picnic sites, small cascades
Near:La Canada Flintridge, CA
Distance:10 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:900 ft
Hike Time:4.5 hours
Trail Condition:OK, but a few difficult spots
HikeType:Out and Back

Summary: This hike takes you through the lovely Arroy Seco to the Oakwilde camp. The trail is shaded by oaks, sycamores, maples, and countless white alders. A trail crosses a pretty little seasonal stream at least a dozen times, so bring some shoes you don't mind getting wet. This hike has scenery worthy of 5 stars, but I bumped it down a star due to the ever-present reminders of civilization (from the 1920s!) along the trail. Along the way you will pass a number of inviting picnic sites and several beautiful areas along the stream covered with ivy twining around the trees. The trail is very mellow for the first 3 miles to Paul Little Picnic Area, which you might consider as a turn around point if you are hiking with small children. Beyond the picnic area, the trail steepens, and a rather spectacular waterfall comes into view cascading over an erosion dam. I suppose you could follow the creek upstream from the Paul Little Picnic are to find the base of the falls, although I did not try this.
Trailhead: From the Foothill freeway (210) in Pasadena, take the Arroyo Blvd/Windsor Ave exit. Head north on Arroyo, which becomes Windsor. Park in a lot on the left about a mile up, just before the intersection with Ventura Street. Walk up Windsor a few hundred feet to a gated ,narrow, paved road on the right side of a Y. The road to the left drops down into the JPL parking lot. (Lat:34.19338 Lon:-118.16893)
Trail Guides for Lower Arroyo Seco:
Day Hikers Guide to Southern California
by John McKinney  (Olympus Press)

101 Hikes in Southern California
by Jerry Schad  (Wilderness Press)

Trails of the Angles - 100 Hikes in the San Gabriels
by John W. Robinson  (Wilderness Press)

Best Seasons: Year-Round
User Groups: Hikers, Bikes, Dogs
Ranger Contact: Angeles National Forest - (818) 790-1151
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Jim Zuber, who has posted  104 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews  Page 1 of 5   Submit your own review
Reviewed by Todd on 5/30/2015
Trail is in great shape all the way to the Paul Little Picnic area (plus there is a well groomed trail all the way to the base of the debris dam.) The trail that takes off from there to Oakwilde was marked closed, but I thought I would take my chances. Although the trail was overgrown a little bit in places, it was not bad and easy to follow, especially since the whole way was marked with flagging. I ran into someone how who been up way before, and they said a lot of repair work had been done since the station fire, especially on the part going up and around the debris dam. Oakwilde,well, it is certainly wild. Quite overgrown, lots of downed timber, couldn't find much evidence of a trail camp or picnic area.

Reviewed by Viewer on 10/7/2014
The trail is not open all the way to Oakwilde, but you can get to Paul Little Picnic Area. This is a great hike and caters to all levels of hikers. There is also a link up that will take you to El Preito Canyon. This is a great hike! Check out my videos for these adventures Subscribe & Like Arroyo Seco -

Reviewed by 2Jess on 10/15/2013
......As you reach a road where all leads to A Riddle.. its only a decision as were to go...... as the passion that burns when i see mother natures figure walking through the trails and streams... do i see you. ? If you encounter one of the riddles of the trail that stretches about 8 miles to mallard camp you will uncover the mysteries. From the post with signs of where to go, from the start point lot is zero miles, and one mile to the structures you'll see at the fork...... from there there are about four trails to take. hope to hike there again soon! I love the beauty of natures blossoms throughout, and the mysteries of all its nooks and crannys.

Reviewed by Jessica on 10/14/2013
First time there ... to find the Lot on Left Side was easy ... You follow the pave road - easy ... once you start getting to the unpaved area ... that's where you might wonder where to go ... I went towards the signs that read El Prieto Canyon / Brown Mountain Trail & another sign read something like "Private Residence to Trail this way" I ignored it and went uphill and it wasn't bad until you actually come to another post where it reads El Prieto Canyon one way and Brown Mountain Trail the other .. so I walked both ! Holly Cow talk about going up ! I came down! & went thru where the Sign read "To Trail" ... Go That Way !

Reviewed by Debra on 7/9/2012
Error: Reserved Word Found: --

Reviewed by Julia on 4/1/2012
My friend and I hiked this trail for about 3 hours at a moderate pace. We did not make it to the end as we were concerned about it getting dark. The trail is great. We had a nice time and the creek and scenery are nice, too. We enjoyed crossing the streams, and towards the end resorted to just walking through them as it we were bound to get wet no matter what. It was fun, though! A beginner hike all around. We will do it again.

Reviewed by David L. on 8/9/2011
I agree with JMW about the difficulty of the trail due to many stream crossings, fallen trees to climb over, etc. The trail is in fact closed after Paul Little as of 8/9/11, but hikers can continue through the picnic area, across the creek, to see the dam. Check out my trip report and photos here.

Reviewed by JMW on 6/5/2011
This has long been one of our favorite hikes. We hiked the trail again just after it reopened last week. If you have hiked this trail before, you will notice major damage from the Station Fire and subsequent flooding. Most of the trees along the stream are dead, but some of the oaks are recovering. The trail itself is passable to the Paul Little picnic area, but much of the trail is now very rocky. This used to be an easy hike, but I would now consider it moderate. Most of the bridges crossing the stream survived, but with the winter and spring rains, there are a number of stream crossings that never had bridges that either require crossing on a log or getting wet. We gave up and just waded through the water.

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