Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve

Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve


From the issue Field Trip!

Walk on the Wild Side

Before freeways and mini-malls, the San Fernando Valley was an oasis of streams and lakes surrounded by mountains, where Great Blue Herons and Red-tailed Hawks outnumbered people. Lucky for us, the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve retains this wild setting despite its proximity to urban bustle. Take refuge on a 2.5-mile (round-trip) loop highlighting some of its best features. Golden currant, California Blackberries and weeping willows line the dirt trail while sycamores provide a canopy of shade. The expansive lake attracts birds of all feathers: Canada geese that passed over Customs; preening Pelicans and egrets; and Double-crested Cormorant that spread their black wings before making the plunge for afternoon snacks. Arcing wood bridges beckon with their storybook charm, but there’s no fairy tale on the other side—just dead ends. Stick to the main path and take a seat on one of the benches near rustling Haskell Creek. History buffs can brush up on the reserve’s roots by reading displays along the path. Trees thin out toward the end of the trail, making room for purple and yellow sage. Trails venture in each direction for those who wish to step off the main path in search of their own Sepulveda sightseeing adventure. Go wild.

TIP: Inspiring ornithologists: the San Fernando Audubon Society leads bird walks on the first Sunday of each month at 8 a.m.

Take I-405 to exit 64 at Burbank Blvd. Turn left on Burbank, continue for .2 miles and make a right on Woodley Ave. Follow the signs for the Japanese Gardens, and turn right at the fork to head to the Wildlife Reserve (turn left for the lake). Parking is free near the cricket field. Walk south to the end of the field for the entrance to the wildlife areas. Follow the main, marked trail for a 2.5-mile loop. No dogs. Photo courtesy of Marc Tony Smith.

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