Sepulveda Dam Recreation Area waterfowl viewing

Near the junction of the 405 and 101 freeways, in the green space below the Sepulveda Dam, is a haven for many species of winged wildlife. Nearby are a hidden Japanese garden, an archery range and a string of cricket pitches.

More from L.A. Walks: Explore Los Angeles by foot

1. Depart from the parking area, near a building that houses restrooms and a wildlife education center, at the end of a long lane bordered by cricket lawns where men in white bat and bowl in the English tradition.

Egrets can find refuge in the wetlands, even though it’s freeway close. (Bethany Mollenkof / Los Angeles Times)


2. From this lakeside viewing area, you might see a great blue heron, snowy egret, black-necked stilt, Canada goose or enormous American white pelican floating, flying or wading nearby.

From a lakeside viewing area, you can often see cormorants, herons, egrets and geese, and occasionally pelicans and owls near or on the basin. Mallards, such as these, seem to dominate the island life visible from the shaded viewing area. (Bethany Mollenkof / Los Angeles Times)

3. Mallards seem to dominate the island life visible from this shaded, secluded lakeside viewing area.

4. The paved walkway ends here. Return as you came or continue counterclockwise on a path that rings the lake.


Be sure to check out the “Hunger Games” wannabes at the archery range. (Bethany Mollenkof / Los Angeles Times)

5. When you’ve finished the lake circuit, wander over the bridge and through the trees to observe the cricketers or walk past the amphitheater to check out the “Hunger Games” wannabes at the archery range.

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6. On the way out, to extend your walk, visit the remarkable Japanese Garden inside the Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant. Self-guided tours cost $3 a person ($2 for children and seniors), 11 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 10 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Sundays. Closed Fridays and Saturdays.


UPDATED Feb. 28, 5:00pm:

Representatives of the Sierra Club will be leading weekly guided tours of this wildlife reserve. The next such is Sunday, March 3 @ 9:00. Meet the walking guide by the park’s amphitheater.

Charles Fleming is the author of “Secret Stairs: A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of Los Angeles.”


The stats

Distance: 1.1 miles (for the loop around the lake)
Duration: 40 minutes
Difficulty: 1 (on a scale of 1 to 5)
Details: No dogs allowed. Wheelchair accessible. Bus: Routes 164, 236 and Woodley Station on Metro Orange Line.

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