L.A. Walks: Skip the Rose Bowl loop and take this woodsy path instead
For walkers who love the convenience of Pasadena but don’t want to join the stream of walkers and joggers circumnavigating the Rose Bowl, this route is a great alternative. Quiet, uncrowded and almost completely shaded, even at midday, it’s a cool way to explore the upper end of the arroyo. The walk borders Brookside Golf & Country Club, and if the weather has been wet, you’ll see where the club got its name. Wear shoes that can get wet and be prepared for a stream-crossing if there has been a lot of rain.
1. Start your walk just north of the Rose Bowl, at the intersection of West Washington Boulevard and West Drive, parking on the soft shoulder in the redwood chips. Then walk north, away from the stadium, on a path at the far side of the parking lot. Use the crosswalk to cross West, and step into the shady arbor.
2. You may see some duffers as you parallel the fairways at Brookside Golf & Country Club, and the path leads you under the shade of oak trees.
After a half-mile or so, the trail will climb a slight, rocky rise. Then it crests and drops gently down the other side, bringing you to the brook that gives Brookside its name.
3. If the weather is wet, choose any of several log crossings to get to the right side of the stream.
Walk north a little farther, then cross the stream again to the left, just under the 210 Freeway overpass, to get to a sandy beach on the other side. Continue up the canyon, keeping the stream on your right.
4. As you round a bend, stop at the cove where the walls are decorated with urban art. This is Devil’s Gate, so named because of what some see as the profile of Satan in the rocks. Upstream is Devil’s Gate Dam. Across from you is a gated portal and a metal staircase, all part of the flood control system. People go in there, and up there, to explore. I didn’t and wouldn’t. Instead, turn around and head back. If the weather is very rainy, cross the stream again and head back to your starting point.
5. Instead of retracing your steps, and only if there is little or no water in the brook, cross the dry stream bed and aim for a tall, wooden exercise structure said to have been a training facility for utility workers. Walk under this and find a broad pathway that climbs a slight rise and goes under the high overpass.
Continue through more shade provided by oak and pepper trees.
6. Follow the broad path along, keeping the golf course on your right as the pathway descends and joins Rosemont Avenue.
Turn right where Rosemont meets West Washington. Walk to West Drive and find the parking lot.
By the numbers
Distance: 2 miles round trip
Difficulty: 2, on a scale of 1 to 5
Duration: 1 hour
Details: Free street parking. Bicycles and dogs on leashes OK. Take Pasadena Transit bus 52 or 51 (weekends only) to the Rose Bowl.
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