Though weatherly challenged according to weekend reports, the calendar says it's SPRING! in Los Angeles, and the calendar tends to be right about these things. With this in mind, LA.COM's Rachel Kane offers you a hearty hayfever guide to the city's excellent parks, both the well-loved and the oft-overlooked. --LISA BRENNER, EDITOR
Echo Park Lake
Echo Park Lake is one of the few places in Los Angeles where bringing a bag of stale bread to the party will make you the most popular person around. There is no thrill quite like strapping on a life-vest, piling into a paddle boat, and floating around the lazy lake with your sweetie amid the honking geese.
High above the hustle and bustle of Pasadena lays a hidden treasure-trove of hiking goodness. Eaton Canyon has several hiking trails featuring a waterfall, bicycling path, nature center and plenty of opportunities to mingle with local wildlife as well as guided moonlight nature hikes.
Like anything worthwhile in this crazy, mixed up world, getting there is half the battle. But the battle itself makes the destination that much sweeter. That rule completely applies to the Griffith Observatory,which has a well documented parking issue, but also boasts spectacular views of the heavens above and sparkling city below. As spring showers clear the smoggy L.A. air, the observatory will be the best place to breath it all in.
It's almost daunting to think about just how much there is to do in the outdoors in Griffith Park. Golf, hiking, jogging, swimming, soccer, tennis, horseback riding, camping, Travel Town, a bird sanctuary and the Merry-Go-Round are perfect amusements for enthusiasts of the Spring lifestyle.
Everybody has a little buckaroo in them and the L.A. Equestrian Center's Griffith Park Horse Rental rides are the perfect place to bust it out. Ain't no better way to celebrate a brand new spring than by climbing on the back of one of nature's most magnificent creatures and clopping through the trails of Griffith Park.
It's closer than you think. Nestled near Altadena with a long and winding road that leads to a large piece of naturalist bliss, one of the closest entrances to the Angeles National Forest boasts overnight camping spots, a small river and a waterfall at the end of a rocky trail. Not to the mention the rest of the forest, which stretches from the San Fernando to San Dimas.
Just because your best friend would rather stop to smell a stranger's ass than stop to smell the roses doesn't mean you need to leave your pooch at home. When it comes to enjoying the fresh air and fruits of the season's plentiful plumage, swing the pups by a park of their own.
Holy cow! It's almost baseball season! That's right, folks, with springtime comes peanuts, Cracker Jacks and Dodger games under the great, sunny sky of our beloved blue stadium. April 13 is the first home game of the season and lucky for us it's smack dab in the middle of what we'll all hope will be a beautiful spring day. A baseball park is still a park.
This patch of landscape near the L.A. River is the historical heart of one of the city's most beloved and unfortunately neglected attractions -- the bicycle path that runs along the 51-mile length of the concrete water shed. On March 22, just after the first day of Spring, the Friends of the Los Angeles River will host a march in support of efforts to clean up and revitalize the resource as well as raise awareness of clean water shortages.