Deukmejian Wilderness Park
September 30, 2018
Have you ever found yourself craving a taste of the great outdoors? Head north, about nine miles from some of the most fabulous apartments for rent in Glendale, CA, and you’ll be able to sate that urge at the Deukmejian Wilderness Park. After you’ve adjusted to pronouncing the difficult name, you’ll find yourself at a rugged expanse, rich with hiking trails and perched beneath the scenic San Gabriel foothills.
Once you’re there, however, what will you do? Where will you focus your attention and what activities will bring you the most satisfaction on your journey to this 709-acre natural wonder? We’ve got a few ideas, and we’ll be presenting them to you today, as we cover some of the best activities to enjoy while you’re exploring the Deukmejian Wilderness Park in all its splendor.
Getting to Know Deukmejian Wilderness Park
Dubbed by some as the perfect getaway from the city, Deukmejian Wilderness Park sits in the most northwest portion of Glendale, encompassing 709 acres dominated by local flora like chaparral and sage shrub. There are also some woodlands, though, as the park website notes, including “scattered remnants of big-cone spruce woodland in Dunsmore and Cook's Canyons.”
Surrounding the park to the north, west, and east is the Los Angeles Forest, a scenic wilderness filled with hiking trails, campgrounds, and space for both horses and off-road vehicles. There’s plenty of the same in Deukmejian, in addition to some wonderful hills for you to trek, as “park elevations range from about 2159 at the park entry to 4775 in the northeast corner of the site.”
And while much of the park is untouched, there are a few buildings around the Park Center area, which consists of about 12 acres that cover the Le Mesnager barn, the Glendale Park Ranger Station, site parking, restrooms, picnic facilities, and walking paths. You can get an overview of the region by checking out the park brochure, and use it to start planning ahead of your eventual visit. In the meanwhile, let’s take a look at some specific activities you might want to tackle during your trip.
What to Do Once You’re at the Park
A trip to Deukmejian might seem like less of a structured tour and more of a freestyle romp, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have to come up with ideas on the fly. While you’re trekking through Deukmejian, be sure to try some of these worthwhile adventures.
Hike a Trail to Mt. Lukens
Mt. Lukens is a 5,075-ft-high peak at the westernmost edge of the San Gabriel Mountain Range, which offers some amazing views of the surrounding area. It’s quite the sight to behold, according to famed trail-master Cris Hazzard:
“Hiking to the peak gives you a glimpse into the mountainous innards of Angeles National Forest. Looking back to the west you have about 3,000 feet of prominence, with terrific views of LA and the Verdugo Mountains. On a clear day you can see from Catalina to San Gorgonio.”
The trail detailed by Mr. Hazzard is the most popular route, covers about 10 miles, and will see you climb some 3,897 feet. It’s not for the faint of heart, so be sure you’re geared up for the long haul before you set out on the path.
Check out Le Mesnager Barn
If you want to check out a bit of history in the park, you should pay a visit to Le Mesnager Barn. The property is near a hundred years old, constructed by French immigrant Louis Le Mesnager in the early 1900s as a stable and to house grapes for his winery. He had to take a break from winemaking once Prohibition rolled around, but once prohibition was repealed, he was able to get back to business.
That is, until a massive fire, followed by immense flooding, demolished the family business. The Mesnager family stayed at the property until 1960, and the property was sold — first to a home developer in 1968, and then to the City of Glendale in 1988. That’s when the area was renamed Deukmejian Wilderness Park; the barn remained as a “rare example of a two-story vernacular rock structure.” You can see this barn today, before hitting the trails and heading into the park wilderness for a day of hiking or nature-spotting.
Enjoy an Educational Presentation
The park’s caretakers are keen to share information, and you can catch one of their “Hikes with Discussion” that cover different educational topics while a park guide leads you through the expansive wilderness. One such example would include their recent talk on “Medicinal Plants of the West,” which took place September 15th.
A free event, the talk covered the ways in which the Chumash Indians used plants like Black Sage as medicine, how those plants play a role in everyday medicine, and how individuals can start growing medicinal plants of their own.
And soon, a new structure may be aiding the park’s educational efforts, according to the Glendale News-Press, as a near 26-year old plan to build an educational center on the park grounds recently received approval:
“After a unanimous vote by council members, city staff will proceed with a master plan that will renovate the park and barn. Part of the barn would be used as what the city calls an “interpretive center” for nature education.”
With any luck, you’ll soon be able to add stopping by the educational compound to the list of amazing things to do while you’re at Deukmejian.
One of the Many Reasons to Find a Place for Rent in Glendale, CA
The Deukmejian Wilderness Park is another wonder in the long list of reasons to move to Glendale, and if you’re looking for places in the city to call home, there are few that can match the grandeur of Altana. This resort-style residence sits on a beautiful acre of open space right in Glendale’s downtown. If the location alone isn’t enough to grab you, the fabulous living spaces and five-star amenities will, so be sure to check out everything Altana has to offer and make this your choice for sunny, Southern California living.