Elysian Metropolis

Forest Bathe at Elysian Park in Los Angeles

LA’s oldest green space also has some of the biggest views of Los Angeles. Elysian Park (LA’s third largest park) showcases eucalyptus history on this 2.5-mile West Loop with a variety of huge metropolis perspectives.

Park along Elysian Park Drive north of Stadium Way and find the trailhead at the eastern edge of the adjacent lawn past some palm trees. The trail immediately enters a shady arboreal wonderland, dominated by eucalyptus. After the park opened in 1886, over 150,000 trees were planted, most of which were the aforementioned inexpensive import from Australia. The grove is dense and creates a peaceful stroll, before the path becomes exposed and awesome city panoramas over the 5 Freeway and LA River come into view. 

The trail continues along the canyon wall, and the vistas stay with you the whole time, making for great photos. The trail eventually u-turns and climbs 200 feet rather quickly, amid more eucalyptus. At the top, pass a hidden garden—the Marion Harlow Memorial Grove. Sit at the bench among the succulents here before continuing up. Heading southwest, you’re rewarded with views of the downtown skyline. Take the spur trail on your left for a terrific picnic spot above the Grace E. Simons Lodge.

At the 1.75-mile mark, the trail hairpins again and continues on a straightaway until reconnecting with Elysian Park Drive at a parking lot and picnic space. This is the Elysian Park Arboretum—once filled with a huge range of exotic trees. The park still contains some unique specimens (look for the signs), like the Naked Coral Tree.

AUSTRALIAN CAFE: Before or after your tree trek, head to Little Ripper Coffee in the Glassel Park neighborhood, just north of Elysian Park. Everything they brew up is good, but try the signature drink—a latte with housemade almond milk and either lavender, turmeric, or chicory. You can also pick up a jaffle, an Australian grilled cheese toasted to perfection (we particularly like their delectable tuna melt and loaded versions). Liiiittle Riiiiiper!

To get to the Elysian Park West Loop trailhead and street parking, take the I-5 and exit Stadium Way (if coming from the south, after you exit head north on Riverside Dr. and turn left onto Stadium Way). Head south on Stadium Way for 0.7 mile until you reach the three-way junction; turn right here onto Elysian Park Drive and park. Dog-friendly!

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