Things to Do

4 Ways to Experience Pasadena's Indigenous Heritage

November 02, 2023 | Posted in Things To Do

Experience Pasadena's Indigenous past through the unhurried natural areas while enjoying Southern California's enticing year-round resort weather.

The land now called Pasadena exists on the ancestral lands of the Gabrielino-Tongva and Kizh Nation peoples, who still call this region home. Recently, the 210 Interstate Highway that runs through Pasadena and parallel to Colorado Boulevard (Route 66), known as the Foothill Freeway, was renamed to the Southern California Native American Highway.

Descanso Gardens' Coast Live Oak Trees

Inside the Descanso Gardens Oak Forest, the coast live oaks that soar up to 100 feet tall have been around for centuries. Explore how the Tongva People, who were the first to inhabit the land, interacted with the coast live oak in their day to day.

Enjoy Hahamogna Watershed Park

Named after the word for Tongva villages that translate to "Flowing Waters, Fruitful Valley," Hahamogna Watershed Park was established to show respect for the earliest settlers of our region in 1993 by the City of Pasadena. Located in the lush Arroyo Seco, the 1300-acre connects a stream from the San Gabriel Mountains and the Los Angeles River. Before the Spaniards arrived, the Hahamogna lived in villages scattered along the Arroyo Seco.

The 1300-acre park has an athletic field, a 24 hole Frisbee golf course, picnic areas with grills, and a variety of trails great for birdwatching, birdle, bicycling, and hiking. AllTrails names four moderate to hard trails.

Go Hiking on the Gabrielino Trail

The Gabrielino Trail was chosen as the nation's first National Recreation Trail (NRT), which provides outdoor recreation accessible to urban areas. Named for the indigenous tribes that occupied these lands, visitors can enjoy a moderate hike starting at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for a 9.3 mile out-and-back trail into the Angeles National Forest.

Vroman's Bookstore

Adam Clark Vroman, founder of Vroman's Bookstore, was a photographer who focused on the landscape and native peoples of the American Southwest between 1895 and 1904. His work was applauded for the humanization of his subjects, rather than romanticization. Experience his legacy while perusing through Southern California's largest bookstore! Be sure to check out its wine bar, The 1894.

Learn More about Pasadena's Native History

Pasadena History: The original peoples of Pasadena - Pasadena Star News