Ranger's Arroyo Seco Series  LbNA # 6885 (ARCHIVED)

Placed DateJan 6 2004
CountyLos Angeles
LocationPasadena, CA
Last Found Aug 22 2009
Hike Distance?

Ranger’s Arroyo Seco Series

This series has 7 boxes, and can be collected in a 2-3 hour period if you plan on walking. Portions can also be easily picked up by car...but its not as fun. The trail is not good for strollers. Parts of the trail are rocky and there are a few steep hills. The trail is easy for kids, but I do not suggest getting all the boxes in one day if you have the younger ones with you. And please... let us know how you liked the hunt!

Ranger’s Arroyo Seco Series

#1, The Colorado Street Bridge

Begin at the Lower Arroyo Seco Park Parking lot. From the 210 Fwy, take the Orange Grove Ave exit, and proceed south to Arbor Street. Turn right, and proceed until the street ends at S. Arroyo Blvd. Turn left, and proceed until you reach the entrance of the lower arroyo Park on the right (On the left will be Norwood Dr). Drive down into the parking lot, and park. Walk, following the road, toward the river (west) and cross the bridge. There follow the northwest path, (not the one directly along the river) towards the Colorado Street Bridge. You will be traveling in a Northwest direction, as the path curves to your right. You are actually following the trail of the Pasadena Roving Archers. You will see their targets and bow racks along the way, on your left. (You are on a bridal trail…watch out for road apples!) As you follow along the hillside, you will see two sets of green stairs. The path will curve slightly to the right. You will enter a small grove of oak trees. (When you come out of the trees look up to see the Colorado Street Bridge.) The path will turn left (north). Ahead you will see a stone wall. Follow the trail to the wall, and then follow the wall up to the bridge. When the wall ends, you will be underneath the Colorado Street Bridge. Walk onto the center of the lower bridge. This is the Parker-Mayberry Bridge, built in 1916. It is part of the original damn, the Scoville Damn, built by the Scoville family to provide irrigation for orange groves in the San Rafael area, to the west. The dam and a bridge (now gone) were built between 1887 and 1903. Remnants of the early construction can still be found all around you. Stand on the bridge, directly above the river, looking south. Ahead you will see the chimney of the “La Casita del Arroyo” Clubhouse. Built in 1933 this "little house" was constructed of stone found within the Arroyo Seco. To the left, you will see the old Vista Del Arroyo Hotel, built in 1903. The hotel served as a military hospital during World War II. In the 1980s the federal government restored the building for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Directly above you is the underside of Colorado Blvd. Now, look to your right, at the bridge supports, where they come down into the hillside. At the base of the northern “leg” there is a short wall. Climb up it, and look in the northern corner, under a pile of rocks for box #1.

#2, The Fly Fishing Pool (Reported Missing 19Dec09)

From the Colorado Street Bridge box, return to the parking lot. You can go back the way you came, or follow Ranger’s favorite route by continuing north along the old street until you are under the 134 Fwy. Before the street ends at a gate, turn right, (leaving the road) underneath the middle of the freeway. Follow the hill down to the river, and cross it. The river is shallow, and there are a lot of rocks to jump on. But be warned… feet can get wet, especially in the winter. Join up with the trail on the other side of the river. Turn right on the trail, and follow it south, back towards the parking lot. ( If you turn left, the trail will take you to the Rose Bowl) This is the portion of the trail that Ranger likes to call “woody the wabbit”. Look for rabbits and ducks in the spring and summer. Go under the Colorado Street Bridge, and down the hill back into the Lower Arroyo Seco Park (careful!). On this side of the river (east) the path forks. Go either way. The right follows the lovely cement river, while the left is slightly more scenic. The two paths join up again, and you will follow the river towards the parking lot. When you see the bridge at the parking lot, look up to the right. The lovely mansion on the hill is “Stately Wayne Manor” of Batman fame. When you reach the bridge, turn left into the parking lot. Pass the car park and walk up the driveway until you see a building on your right (the restrooms). There is a drinking fountain here with a special bowl for ranger. Beyond it, you will see the casting pool. This has recently been re-surfaced. If it is a weekend morning, you will probably see some fishermen practicing there casting. Walk to the south side of the pool (Ranger enjoys a wet romp through the shallow pool…I do not). On the south side there are 5 squares painted on the ground. Stand in the middle square (#3) and face south. Slightly to the right you will see you will see a big bushy oak tree. Walk to the tree, and get up close to the trunk. On the ground, at the foot of the tree, you’ll see a cement cylinder with a metal pipe embedded into the center. Look inside the pipe for box #2.

#3 Nice Horsey

Continue south on the path to the right of letterbox #2. The trail will hook back up with the river. Enjoy the scenic landscape as you head south. You will pass under the La Loma Road Bridge. There are a couple of side trails that loop out to the left. Feel free to take them. They hook back up with the river-side trail you are on. They are lovely, and pass through many native plants. This area was once, and is in the midst of restoration again as, a bird sanctuary. Soon, you will come upon the back fences of some houses to your left. Pay attention to these fences…you will return here soon! Ahead and above you is the San Rafel Ave Bridge, built in 1928 to access the San Rafael Ranch area of Pasadena. This area was once orange orchards, and was developed as a residential neighborhood in the 1940’s. To the left, on the eastern slope you will see old stone stairways that are being unearthed by a crew of volunteers. Pass under the bridge and look ahead to the lower bridge that lets you cross the river. If you cross it, you can loop back to the parking lot by way of a trail on the other side of the river. (But don’t do that yet!) Stand in the middle of the entrance to the bridge, and look for the stables. These are the San Pasqual Stables. (The name is taken from the original name of this region, Rancho San Pasqual). Follow the path toward the stable (160) and on the hillside you will see more ancient steps. Walk up these steps a short way until you see a multi-trunk oak tree on your left. In the hole at the base of this tree will be box #3.

#4, Busch Gardens

Retrace your footsteps back along the eastern side of the river, until you reach the fence on the right. There will be a gate, with access to a residential neighborhood. Pass through the gate into the old Busch Gardens. In the early part of the twentieth century (about 1905), Adolphus Busch (yes, the beer guy) lived on a spacious estate in Pasadena, California. He constructed some of the most beautiful gardens ever seen in California. When offered to the City for use as a public park in 1938, the Busch family's offer was turned down by Pasadena's Board of Directors. The entire Busch Gardens acreage was then turned over to developers to build private homes. This was the original Busch Gardens, the predecessor to present day Busch Gardens properties in Tampa, Florida and Williamsburg, Virginia. "The Adventures of Robin Hood" the 1938 movie, starring Errol Flynn was filmed here in Pasadena's Original Busch Gardens.
You entered the gardens at the end of a cul de sac. Walk up the street and it splits into Busch Gardens Drive and Court. Take either one up the hill. (Don’t take Busch Gardens Lane…it is a dead end) When Dr and Ct meet again after a block, continue up the hill.
There are several homes here that have bits of the old garden preserved as part of their own gardens or architecture. Look one house up from #655. There you will see a stone fountain in the yard on the left side of the street. This is an original element of the old gardens, which had a small structure then called The Mystic Hut. Walk all the way up to the top of Busch Gardens Drive, until you intersect Arroyo Drive.
At the intersection of Arroyo Drive you will see a stop sign and a street sign for Arroyo Drive and Busch Gardens Drive. On that same corner (south) is an old stone pillar. There is a hole about 2/3 the way up. Remove the rock and find box #4.

For More glimpses into the Busch Garden History, turn right onto Grand Ave and follow the sidewalk. It will curve down hill into Arroyo Dr. Look through the fences here into the yards of the old Busch Gardens. You will see a continuous walkway that once circled the Busch Gardens.

#5, Cathedral Oak Monument

Walk south along Arroyo Drive. Pass the San Rafael Bridge, pass the road down to the stables and little league fields (which I think is South Arroyo Blvd) and stay to the left, on Arroyo Drive. There is no sidewalk for most of this walk, so be careful! Continue along Arroyo Dr, and watch the house numbers on the left side of the street. When you see #430, you should be standing next to the Cathedral Oak Monument. It is not an Oak at all, but a cross. It marks the site of an oak tree with carved cross in its bark that, according to legend, was carved by Portola's dragoons. Also the site of Fr. Crespi's first Easter services in California (1770). Stand at the back of the monument and look through the trees to the arroyo. Down the hill you will see a log, and 2 trees to the right (290). Behind the right most tree is an old wall. Go the top end of the wall, and dig down under a couple loose rocks to find box #5.

#6, The City Sign

Continue south along Arroyo Drive. You will cross over the 110 freeway, and come upon a large tree with a plaque. Read it, then keep moving, past 2 benches. Follow the wall in front of the benches until it ends. At the end of the wall is the head of a path down the hill. Walk down this path, and gaze up on the large letters of the City Sign. Look for the second A in “pasAdena”. Directly across the path from this “A” is a large block of cement. Between the block and the path is a sad looking small palm-type plant. At the base of the plant are two rocks that conceal Box #6.

#7, Cawston Ostrich Farm

Follow the path down to the trail. If you follow the trail through the tunnel, it will take you along a bridal path, all the way along the river and back to the Colorado Street Bridge, and your car if you parked up there. But you are so close to being done that you may as well go for box # 7, which is to the left. Take the trail down to the left (south), and cross the street, which is Stoney Drive (look both ways). This, too, is a bridal path, and an often-used one. There are 2 stables nearby, so watch your step. You are now on the eastern edge of the Arroyo Seco Golf Course, built in 1960. It’s a nice little eighteen-hole par 3 course. The lake and stream in the middle of this course contain water from a nearby natural spring, which comes out of the ground near the Cathedral Oak Monument. It also contains many of my balls. If you see a pink ball on the trail, it’s mine. Follow the trail, (which contains lots of good smells that Ranger likes), all the way to the clubhouse end of the course. There, you will see the greatest putt-putt mini golf course of all time. (It has a manual windmill!) There is a junction here, with a log railing on the left. Here the trail you have been on and a path from the clubhouse to the street above cross. Walk up the path to the left. When you reach the street level, stop and cast your eyes upon the industrial park across the street. Here lies the site of the once world-class tourist attraction, the Cawston Ostrich Farm. It opened in 1896, supplying feathers to the millinery trade worldwide. It drew tourists who gawked at baby chicks and rode full-grown ostriches. For a small fee, visitors were allowed to stroll the grounds, admire the birds and purchase souvenirs. The Farm was located along the east bank of the arroyo, on the south side of York Blvd/Pasadena Ave and partially under the York Bridge. Sadly, the farm closed in 1935. Now, go back down the path about half way, until you see the stump of a telephone pole protruding from the ground on the uphill side of the path. Inside that stump you will find box #7. Dig deep…it’s in there! (You may want to use a stick if you’re squeamish)

And that, my friends, concludes your tour of Ranger’s Arroyo Seco. We hope you enjoyed it! If you follow the trail south, you will end up at a park (in LA) and another stable. Ranger and I often park the car here, and then take the loop you just took. There is also river access there, which is good for bike rides. If you parked at the casting pool, turn around and follow the trail under the 110 Fwy, along the bridal path until you hit the river. Then just follow the river back. Walking at a good pace it will take about 30-45 minutes. You may happen upon a cute but large black Lab with a white nose and white paws. He’ll probably bark at you. But don’t be afraid! Just say “good boy Ranger!” and know that he is earning his keep!