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L.A. Walks: Skip the Rose Bowl loop and take this woodsy path instead

L.A. Walks Brookside path
The trail from Pasadena’s Rose Bowl is an easy climb that may feature water crossings during wet seasons.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

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.

Charles Fleming’s LA WALK for December is near the Rose Bowl and puts the “brook” back in Brookside.
The path takes you north of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on a shaded trail with some stream crossings.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

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.

Charles Fleming’s LA WALK for December is near the Rose Bowl and puts the “brook” back in Brookside.
Expect to see golfers out along the way.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

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.

L.A. Walks near Pasadena
Much of the trail is shaded by oaks and pepper trees.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

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.

L.A. Walks near Pasadena’s Rose Bowl
You will cross the rock-lined brook a few times on this walk.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)
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3. If the weather is wet, choose any of several log crossings to get to the right side of the stream.

L.A. Walks near Pasadena’s Rose Bowl
A toyon bush with berries on the side of the sandy beach under the 210 Freeway overpass.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

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.

L.A. Walks near Pasadena’s Rose Bowl
You’ll pass a rock cove covered in graffiti.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

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.

L.A. Walks near Pasadena’s Rose Bowl
A view from the stream bed looking up to the tall exercise structure.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

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.

L.A. Walks near Pasadena’s Rose Bowl
The sandy beach under the 210 Freeway overpass.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

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Continue through more shade provided by oak and pepper trees.

L.A. Walks near Pasadena’s Rose Bowl
Debbie Watkins, 65, and Art Buchanan, 79, both of Glendale, hike the trail that parallels the fairways at Brookside Golf & Country Club.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

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

Steps: 4,500

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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