The name Hahamonga is derived from Hahamog’na, a Tongva chief who lived in the 18th century. After meeting Gaspar de Portola and converting to Christianity, Hahamog’na changed his name to Pascual. The name Hahamonga has lasted nevertheless in places such as this large natural preserve in Pasadena. Its convenient location and variety of trails has made it a staple of local recreation. The route described here tours the more wilderness-like eastern side of the park.
From the parking area on Windsor, head down toward the basin on a single-track, reaching a service road at 0.1 mile. Turn right and follow the paved road north for a quarter mile, where it merges with another road by an attractive grove of oaks. After continuing north for a short distance, leave the paved road and bear left on a dirt road that curves around, heading south. You head through the flood plains of the lower Arroyo Seco, passing diverse vegetation including yucca, oaks, sycamores and willows. If you want to shorten the trip, you can head back to the service road on any of several trails branching off to the left.
The trail reaches a T-junction at 1.1 miles. Bear right and continue to the park’s south end, just before La Canada Verdugo Road. At 1.5 miles, the trail makes a U-turn and climbs briefly, heading north under the pleasant shade of more oaks. This final stretch of the loop feels the most rugged and remote; though you are walking alongside houses, the trees all but block them from sight and much of the freeway noise is also gone at this point. A strategically positioned bench provides views to the west of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Mt. Lukens towering behind it.
At 2.2 miles, you rejoin the service road. Make an immediate right and retrace your steps back up the single-track trail to the parking area.
Text and photography copyright 2016 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities. By reading this, you agree not to hold the author or publisher of the content on this web site responsible for any injuries or inconveniences that may result from hiking on this trail. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.