LA may be known for its serious star power, but there’s one local place that’s wattage has gone off the grid. The Audubon Center in LA’s Ernest E. Debs Regional Park is the first carbon-neutral commercial building in the United States, using its own solar power instead of public electricity. You too can get off the grid on a hike through the park, with magnetic views of downtown. Start at the Audubon Center, where you can pick up tips on sustainable gardening and simple conservation practices. From here, it’s a 2.3-mile (round-trip) easy hike up to Debs Pond via a wide path that delivers vistas in all directions. Gaze across Glendale toward the San Gabriel Mountains, and when the trail rounds the east side, the LA skyline rises to the occasion. As the 110 freeway runs directly below, the only traffic you’ll encounter is the occasional hiker. Debs Pond is framed by pines and rimmed with benches. Take a seat and power-down.
Bus a Move: Travel by bus to reach the park (see italics).
From the Civic Center Station in downtown Los Angeles, take the 81 bus north. Ride for about 25 minutes to Sycamore Grove Park on Figueroa St., getting off just before Ave. 49. It’s a quick 10-minute walk from the bus stop to the Audubon Center. Cross the park to a pedestrian walkway located behind the amphitheater, and make your way over the 110 freeway. Turn right on the other side and walk a few hundred feet up Griffin Ave. to a crosswalk at the entrance to Debs Park. Walk up a short paved road with one turn to reach the Audubon Center. The Scrub Jay Trail begins at the outside of the bend in this road. Hike 0.3-mile up the wide dirt road, and turn right to continue uphill. At the next junction, turn right on the City View Trail heading straight up the ridge. Reach the paved Summit Ridge Trail and turn right to reach Debs Pond. Parts of the park are dog-friendly, but not the hike described in this story.