New trails are gateways to open space

For Brenna Pratt, a freshman at Crescenta Valley High School, the best parts of a new 2-mile trail are the multiple switchbacks leading up the side of the San Rafael Hills.

"I think they're really fun," said the 14-year-old before she and nearly two dozen students on the high school's cycling team climbed once again up the Catalina Verdugo Trail, which officially opened Saturday morning with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

In addition to the Catalina Verdugo Trail, city officials also cut the ribbon for a less-strenuous, .75-mile handicap accessible trail made of decomposed granite. The Mountain Do trail features three bridges, two rest areas with benches and fitness equipment aimed at improving balance, flexibility and strength.

Both the Catalina Verdugo and Mountain Do trails begin near the soccer fields in the Glendale Sports Complex at 2200 Fern Road. The Catalina Verdugo Trail leads to a fire road that connects to other trails in Glendale, Pasadena and La Cañada Flintridge.

Both trails were funded by state and county grants. The Mountain Do trail cost $196,102 and the Catalina Verdugo trail, which is named after one of the first residents of the Rancho San Rafael area, cost $124,472.

"It's projects like these that really expand the opportunities for people to take advantage of our open space," Councilman Ara Najarian said at the grand opening, which was attended by about 50 people.

In addition to hikers and bikers, equestrians can also use the trails. Councilwoman Laura Friedman said she may try to bring her horse out one day, but on Saturday she was prepared to conquer the trails by foot.

"I've got my hiking shoes on," she said. "I can't wait to get out there."

Seven year-old Ethan Toro, a second-grader at Valley View Elementary School, was also excited to check out the trails. His father, Sean Toro, managed the construction of both projects.

While Ethan liked walking on the Mountain Do trail, his favorite part of the morning was checking out the animal footprints and fake droppings on display at the trail entrance. The footprints reminded him of the fossils he learned about in science class.

When asked how his hike was as he ran out the trail's exit point, Ethan shouted, "Good!"


Follow Brittany Levine on Google+ and on Twitter: @brittanylevine.

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