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Acknowledging Land Stewards: Pasadena to Lincoln Heights Loop


The fall season brings about plenty of opportunity to contemplate the year and feel gratitude for what we have. This 18 mile ride makes its way through Northeast LA from Pasadena to Lincoln Height and back. Starting at the Del Mar L (Gold) Line Station, the route heads West and meets up with the perimeter of the Arroyo Seco. The route then takes you South on the newly re-opened Arroyo Seco Bike Path, exiting in Lincoln Heights and then heading back up Northeast along Mission Rd, Huntington Dr and Monterey Rd.

Ride Logistics

Central Park/Del Mar L Line Station

This ride starts across the street from the Del Mar Station at Central Park in Pasadena. Make your way west across the park and continue onto Valley St. Here you'll pass by Incycle Bicycles - a great opportunity to get any last minute things you might need for your ride. You're going to stay on Valley St and make a right onto S. Pasadena Avenue, and then a left onto Green Street followed by a left onto Grand Avenue and a right onto Arbor St. Here you'll start making your way West along City streets in order to make your way onto Arroyo Blvd. Soon after you'll hit a T-intersection - make a left here in order to head south along Arroyo Blvd.

Lower Arroyo Park

Along Arroyo Blvd, this route traces the eastern perimeter of the Arroyo Seco canyon. Known as Povomeparngna to the original inhabitants of this area, the Tongva, the Arroyo Seco area is part of the greater Los Angeles watershed.

As we make our way south along Arroyo Blvd, we are following the route of the Arroyo Seco stream as it leaves its headwaters in the San Gabriel Mountains before joining the LA River in Lincoln Heights.

Arroyo Blvd also features plenty of Coast Live Oaks and Sycamore trees. The oak trees provide plenty of food for people and animals with acorns in the fall. Acorn meal is a traditional indigenous food source, requiring grinding and washing to make into bread. The sycamore trees provide an important habitat for birds and other wildlife, while the soft broad leaves might prove a useful alternative in a world with toilet paper shortages.

If you choose to take a break along this stretch, scan to see if you can find a fallen acorn or freshly fallen sycamore leaf. Feel for yourself how hard it would be to grind acorns or how soft a sycamore leaf would feel against your skin.

You'll stay on Arroyo Blvd on a steady descent and then make a right onto San Pascual Ave and keep heading downhill until just before you reach York Blvd. Once you start getting to that uphill, make your way to the left lane in order to make a left onto York.

There aren't any crosswalks on either intersection here so there's no opportunity for a box left turn. Soon after making a left onto York, you'll make a right onto Arroyo Verde Drive and then make another right soon after that to enter Arroyo Seco Park near the stables.

Ride all the way to the end of the driveway where you'll see a chainlink fence and entrance to the bike path. Make a left to start heading southwest.

Arroyo Seco Bike Path

This is the Arroyo Seco Bike Path. As we head Southwest, the Arroyo Seco Park and Debs Park are on our left hand side (to the East), mostly out of sight. Water is always the most important factor in being able to survive somewhere. We witness this today as homeless Angelenos have settled near this water source along the path. The Arroyo Seco has been a vital life source for centuries. Before the 19th century, several indigenous Tongva villages called this area home.

Although a comprehensive list of all the indigenous villages that used to exist in this area doesn't seem available, some village names include Hahamogna (which is what the Hahamongna Watershed Park just north of our route is named after), and Yanga, closer to the LA River. This stream helps to replenish the Raymond Basin, an aquifer under Pasadena that provides about half of the local water supply. Once the bike path ends, make a right to stay on the bike path paralleling the Arroyo Seco until it ends and turns left. Ride to Homer St and make a right then a left onto Avenue 43, followed by a right onto Griffin Ave. The route stays on Griffin for about two miles before making a sharp left onto Mission Road.

Arroyo de las Pasas (Lincoln Park)

Lincoln Park is one of Los Angeles' first parks, created by the City of LA in 1881. According to KCET's Lost LA, the park's artificial lake was created by daming the now gone Arroyo de las Pasas, a stream that used to run from Monterey Hills to the LA River. A dam at Valley Blvd flooded eight acres of the streambed. From Griffin up until our left turn onto Mission Rd, our route had paralleled the path of the Arroyo Seco as it joined the LA River after Avenue 33. On our way back to Pasadena, the route now parallels the stream we never met as we head northeast toward Montecito Heights. Keep going straight as Mission Road turns into Huntington Drive. There's a bike lane along this stretch, although there are a lot of roadside plants that haven't been well-maintained so look out for that. This stretch lasts about two miles until you make a left onto Monterey Rd.

Mountain Views

After passing Debs Park and those tall cement walls around mile 12, you'll hit a brief but fun descent with views of the San Gabriel Mountains in front of you. The San Gabriel Mountains are the birthplace of the Arroyo Seco stream. North of Avenue 60, you can try your luck checking out the view to the west on your left. If you're lucky, you'll spot the Verdugo Mountains in the distance behind houses and trees. At Pasadena Avenue, make a left to stay on Monterey Road briefly before making an immediate right onto Pasadena. Then make a left to stay on Pasadena. After two blocks you'll make a left onto Mission Street then an immediate right onto Arroyo Drive. From here we retrace our steps back to Central Park.

The End

Thank you for joining us on this ride today. 250 years ago, this land was stewarded by indigenous people. In the 10 or so generations between then and now, Tongva - the area we now call Los Angeles - has changed dramatically. What are the things about LA we love? How can we best steward and care for these lands in order to preserve them for the next 10 or so generations?

Check out the following resources if you'd like to learn more about local environmental stewardship:

Pukúu Cultural Community Services serves American Indian youth and families by providing a formation of programs and assistance services to help our community enhance while maintaining its unique identity.

The Arroyo Seco Foundation enables local residents and businesses to become directly involved in the restoration of the Arroyo Seco and in the recreational and environmental opportunities available.

Nature for All aims to build a diverse base of support to ensure that everyone in the Los Angeles area has equitable access to the wide range of benefits which nature provides.

Community Nature Connection aims to increase access to the outdoors for communities impacted by racial, socio-economic, and disability injustices by eliminating existing barriers through advocacy, community centered programming, and workforce development.

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