The Arroyo Seco

The Arroyo Seco translates to "dry gulch" in Spanish and was named by explorer Gaspar de Portolà. The land was first inhabited by the Hahamong'na Tribe of Tongva Native Americans, who lived along the banks, where oak groves provided acorn for food and the views of the surrounding San Gabriel Mountains cascade. A stream is carried from near Mount Wilson through the Arroyo and eventually into the Pacific Ocean, creating a lush urban forest in Pasadena that feels a world away.

hiking forest bathing couple

Affectionately known by Pasadena locals as “the Arroyo," the lush, scenic, multi-terrain ecosystem has 22 miles of trails that connect the Angeles National Forest with South Pasadena. Take a stroll or walk, run, hike, bike, and try new things from sunrise to sunset. Don't forget to bring your dog.

Things To Do in The Arroyo Seco

In the Lower Arroyo, find the Bird Sanctuary for expansive vista views, practice fly fishing at the Casting Pond, and shoot some arrows at the Archery Range, or experience the riparian habitats, oak woodlands and sage scrub through shaded trails. There’s lots to do in the Central Arroyo, like flying a kite, picnicking, playing baseball, and enjoying a round of golf. Take the 3.3-mile loop around the Rose Bowl Stadium and Brookside Golf Course on foot, by bike, on rollerblades, or with a walker. In the 1,300-acre Hahamongna Watershed Park, play Frisbee golf at the first disc golf course in the world, enjoy the picnic areas, and explore the extensive network of bridle, bicycle, and hiking trails.

Arroyo Seco

Attractions & Landmarks

The Arroyo Seco has a long history of recreational use. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the Arroyo Seco was an important source of inspiration for local artists and the focus of "The Arroyo Culture" became a local expression o the American Arts & Crafts Movement.

Exploring the area's historic landmarks and modern day attractions provide an immersive experience into Pasadena's heritage. Head to the Rose Bowl Stadium for their monthly public tours, visit the flea market on Second Sundays, explore the flora and fauna at Descanso Gardens, take the little tykes to the Kidspace Children's Museum, uncover history at the Gamble House and Pasadena Museum of History, and enjoy the sightseeing at the Colorado Street Bridge and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Rose Bowl Stadium

Walking, Hiking, and Biking Trails

The Arroyo Seco offers a plethora of outdoors and recreational opportunities to the urban population of Los Angeles County. Significant portions of the Arroyo Seco watershed are protected open space, ranging from the National Forest to golf courses to passive nature parks. There is almost a continuous stretch of open space in the Arroyo Seco from the Angeles National Forest in the San Gabriel Mountains to its confluence with the Los Angeles River.