Nestled at the base of the majestic San Gabriel Mountains, Eaton Canyon Natural Area offers families a highly interactive experience to help both young children and the young at heart learn more about the complicated ecosystems in Southern California. Spanning nearly 200 acres, the botanical, zoological, and geological nature preserve includes hiking and equestrian trails, as well as guided tours led by experts of the native plants and animals that thrive in the area.
Flora and Fauna
Eaton Canyon Natural Area comprises several unique micro-ecosystems that encourage the growth of a diverse population of plants. You can take a short nature walk one day and see plants native to arid climates, such as agave and prickly pear cactus. Upon return the next day, you travel through thick woodlands where towering black cottonwoods and western sycamores provide ample shade. Amphibians like the western toad and Monterey salamander live near water sources that fill up when the winter snow melts. Watch a western whiptail lizard scamper across the rocky soil and a striped racer head for cover in thick brush. Mammals living in the natural area include coyotes, fox squirrels, and long-tailed weasels.
Reopened in 1998, the Eaton Canyon Nature Center spans nearly 8,000 square feet. The building is home to live animals and fascinating exhibits that educate visitors about the wildlife living nearby. An auditorium and several classrooms host educational seminars throughout the year. Some of the topics for interactive learning include plants, animals, geology, ecology, and the history of Eaton Canyon. We suggest you stop by the visitor information booth to find out what the Nature Center has to offer the day you visit the natural area.
Walk with Nature
Eaton Canyon Natural Area conducts different walks to accommodate visitor preferences. On the third Sunday of each month at 8 AM, a docent leads a bird walk on one of the nature trails. Bring water, a shade hat, and a pair of binoculars to get the most out of the bird walk. The plant walk starts at 9 AM on the second Sunday of each month, although because of the heat, the plant walk does not happen in July or August. The leisurely two-hour walk begins at the native plant garden surrounding the nature center, before heading into nearby wild areas.
Every Saturday morning, Eaton Canyon Natural Area organizes a family walk. The family walk starts at 9 AM and lasts about two hours. Parents are encouraged to bring young children, as the walk offers an interactive educational experience over the relatively flat terrain. Every walk sponsored by Eaton Canyon Natural Area is free. The walks fill up quickly on a first come, first serve basis.
From Holiday Inn Burbank, take Interstate 210 east and begin looking for the North Altadena exit when you pass the Pasadena city limit sign. Drive about a mile and a half to the entrance of Eaton Canyon Natural Area. If you travel to the natural area after the morning rush, you should arrive within 15 minutes.