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Great L.A. Walks: Strolling Pasadena greenery

Here's an urban walk in Pasadena, easily accessible by car, bike, bus or Metro, that offers plenty of the green stuff. It starts on Green Street at a castle and includes stops in three parks. Plan on having a picnic lunch halfway through the walk.

1. Begin this walk on East Green Street, just north of Central Park, at the corner of South Raymond Avenue, in front of the storied Castle Green. Dating from 1898, it was part of Pasadena's first luxury hotel, meant to serve Eastern travelers arriving at the nearby Santa Fe railroad station. After ogling the architecture, walk south on Raymond and enter the park.

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2. Enjoy the palms, pines, oaks and even redwoods that dot the wide lawns, and check out the lawn bowling club, founded in 1921. (Free lessons on Saturday mornings.) When you reach the bottom of the park, and East Del Mar Boulevard, turn right and walk a block to Fair Oaks Avenue. Turn left, headed south, and continue walking straight ahead.

3. Pass a row of antique shops and turn right onto East California Boulevard. Walk two blocks, past the stately Huntington Memorial Hospital, and stop at South St. John Avenue. Across the street is your second green space, the 2.9-acre Singer Park.

4. Head south from the park on St. John, admiring as you go some elegant Craftsman homes. Continue as St. John bends to the left and becomes South Pasadena Avenue. At Arlington Drive turn right and enter Arlington Garden. This 3-acre site, once a Caltrans storage yard, is a miracle of native plant landscaping. This is a great place, with its chairs, benches and private nooks, to have a snack or take a rest.

5. Continue south one block on Pasadena, then turn left onto West Glenarm Street. After two blocks, if you didn't have a picnic in the park, consider grabbing a cochinito pibil taco from the Pasadena outpost of Los Feliz's famed Yuca's. Then continue east on Glenarm.

6. At South Marengo Avenue, turn left and begin walking north. As earlier, enjoy the Craftsman homes, many of them now converted into small businesses, that line this quiet street. Note the Evanston Inn, dating from 1897, on the left side of the street, and the organic vegetable garden that supplies the nearby Parkway Grill.

7. At East Del Mar, turn left. After two blocks, you're back at Central Park. Turn right onto Raymond until you reach Green, and you are back at the starting point.

The stats

Distance: 3 miles

Difficulty: 2 on a scale of 1 to 5

Duration: 1 1/2 hours

Details: Dogs on leash welcome. Free two-hour parking at Gold Line Del Mar Station. Arlington Garden hours 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Accessible by Metro Gold Line and by buses 177, 256, 260, 686, 687 and 762.

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Fleming is the author of “Secret Stairs: A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of Los Angeles” and “Secret Walks: A Walking Guide to the Hidden Trails of Los Angeles.” Each month, he leads a free walk at one of his favorite spots in Southern California. Find out more at his Facebook page, Secret Stairs. He can also be reached at charles.fleming@latimes.com.

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