Outdoor Guide to Pasadena

April 20, 2023 | Posted in Things To Do

With 300 days of sunshine, Pasadena is the perfect place to experience the great outdoors.

Arlington Gardens

The Arlington Gardens is a quaint, community garden that is perfect for an afternoon stroll. Discover sculptures and rock art as you roam through the various areas of the garden. Children and pet-friendly, the gardens are a popular place to take the whole family. And with its seating areas and shaded benches, the gardens also make for a great location for a sunny afternoon picnic or birthday party.

The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens

A local and celebrity favorite, the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens is an entire day's worth of outdoor fun. The grounds include various themed gardens from around the world, which means visitors can get a taste of global beauty, without the pricey plane ticket. The Japanese Garden, with its five-room house built in Japan and shipped to Pasadena in 1904 is especially unique. The Desert Garden also is eye-catching, with it's uniquely-shaped foliage, the garden is one of the largest and oldest assemblages of cacti and other succulents in the world. Tip: there are small dining areas and restaurants scattered throughout the property. So make sure to plan your route around meal times and locations.

Eaton Canyon

Eaton Canyon is a 190-acre zoological and geological nature preserve, perfect for hiking. The trail is only 3.5 miles round trip, with a third of the hike being completely flat making it non-strenuous and appropriate for all ages and fitness levels. The waterfall and shallow pool in the middle of the trek is great for little legs and tired pups to stop and rest before continuing along the plant-lined path.

Descanso Gardens

Nestled northwest of Pasadena, are the Descanso Gardens. This garden also continues multiple-themed gardens – nine to be exact. The area also boasts a redwood forest, lake, bird sanctuary, and the largest camellia garden in the US. The garden also holds many public events like morning yoga, weekend walks, and children's activities.

LA Arboretum

The 127 acres of the LA Arboretum and Botanical Garden borders the east Pasadena territory. The grounds include a waterfall and countless flora, including the Arboretum's own forest bathing guide. Amongst its most notable features are the free-roaming, wild peacocks that inhabit the area and make for some great Instagram-worthy photos. Families visiting with children should be cautious and keep a safe distance from the birds at all times. Feeding the animals is not allowed.

Angeles National Forest

Pasadena's proximity to the San Gabriel Mountains also lends itself to many gorgeous hiking trails. In the Angeles National Forest, hikers are able to explore the 1,600 square miles of the vast mountain range. These hikes range from moderate to very difficult in skill level. Some trailblazers highlight Throop Peak, Switzter Falls, and the Bridge to Nowhere Trail. Not only are these great ways to exercise, they're perfect for outdoor adventuring and unique, scenic photo ops. Of course, exploring all of the land takes more than one day, so camp sites are also an option.

Hahamongna Watershed Park

The Hahamongna Watershed Park (Arroyo Seco) truly embodies all of features that California's inland landscape has to offer. Hiking through the Arroyo Seco, you'll come across wide, open fields that morph into luscious marshlands, and are canopied by native oak woodlands, and elfin forests. The park also includes more recreational areas like a 24-hole Frisbee gold course, bicycle trail, picnic areas, and dog park.

Outdoor & Architecture Walking Tours

Anyone who visits Pasadena knows its historic architecture is simply awe-inspiring. There are multiple guided and self-guided walking tour options that allow you to discover iconic landmarks including the historic Arroyo Terrace neighborhood, a National Register historic district that’s home to nine Greene & Greene houses, the Gamble House, Colorado Street Bridge, and more.