Crown Jewel

Hike Dunsmore and Cook Canyons - Deukmejian Wilderness

Glendale is known as the Jewel City, and why not? Its Deukmejian Wilderness Park—nestled in the San Gabriel foothills—is a gem. During the 2009 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. Follow the Le Mesnager Loop and Rim of the Valley trail and pass newly planted fir saplings among the thriving chaparral while quickly climbing 420 feet to the sweeping scenery of the Crescenta Valley. Just after a small wooden fence, 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 blossoms and glowing white sage illuminate the way (bear right at all trail junctions). 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. Crowning glory!

Deukmejian Wilderness Park is at 3429 Markridge Rd. in Glendale. Take the 210 Freeway 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 is on your right. Dog- friendly! Note: Bring plenty of water for yourself and your pet, and be careful of rattlesnakes sometimes seen here.

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