Glendale is known as The Jewel City, and why not? Its Deukmejian Wilderness Park—nestled in the San Gabriel foothills above La Crescenta—is a gem. During the Station Fire, a back burn was started here to prevent flames from sweeping down the mountains to the community. While this damaged nearly all of the park’s 709 acres, the recovery of vegetation and wildlife is abundantly clear on a 4.2-mile (round-trip) foothills hike in the park’s Dunsmore and Cook’s canyons. From the trailhead, you’re greeted by a stately coast live oak saved from the fires, thanks to the efforts of local officials. Hang left at the marker for the Le Mesnager Loop and Rim of the Valley trails and pass newly planted pine saplings among the thriving chaparral while quickly climbing 420 feet to the sweeping scenery of La Crescenta Valley. Just after a small wooden fence, the Rim of the Valley trail splits to the left. Take this path down to Cook’s Canyon, where a year-round creek gurgles through a narrow grove. Though many trees perished in the fire, enough survived to provide a cool cover. Across the stream, zig-zag up the other side of the canyon where spiky yucca blooms and the ironically named golden-orange “sticks on fire” illuminate the way. Nearly 2 miles in, reach a 3,200-foot viewpoint looking out to the Verdugos, the Santa Monicas, the higher San Gabriels, and Pasadena. Extend this scenery by following a mostly level ridgeline to the next vantage at 3,400 feet. Head back the way you came.
TIP: Go on a Sunday and visit the Montrose Harvest Market, a popular gathering of traditional farmers’ stands plus hot-food vendors, crafters, and a mini flea market.
Deukmejian Wilderness Park is located at 3429 Markridge Rd. in Glendale (a sliver of the city stretches up into La Crescenta). Take the 210 to the Pennsylvania Ave. exit. Follow Pennsylvania north to Foothill, head west on Foothill, then right onto New York Ave. Take New York all the way to the top of the hill until you can’t go straight anymore, then left onto Markridge. The park entrance will be on your right. Gates are open from 7:00 a.m. to dusk. Dog friendly! The Montrose Harvest Market is every Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., on Honolulu Ave. between Ocean View and Verdugo. Free parking is available in public lots on either side of Honolulu.