WARNING: someone broke into my car and another hiker's car at the parking lot just south of Ventura on Windsor. The break-in occurred between 4pm and 8pm on Sept. 17. There are apparently a lot of break-ins at the lot, so make sure to hide your valuables if you park there.
As for the trail, it was an enjoyable and moderately challenging hike (I went counterclockwise). There's shade in some parts but in other areas there's direct sun. I can imagine it getting extremely hot during the day during the summer months. Also, be on the lookout for mountain bikers (the trail is full of them).
Next time I plan on making the trek all the up way to Brown Mountain.
You get it all with this loop- forested single track, fireroad and decent elevation gain to the saddle. Parking at end of West Altadena Dr. saves some time and gets you closer to the start of the climb. Popular with the mountain bikers too; but plenty of room for all. Nice city views too.
The description above states that this is a 20 mile moderate hike. However, the group I went with today took the cutoff to Paul Little camp ground and the trail ended at a man made dam/waterfall, which is less than half that distance round trip, and it is an easy fairly level trail.
After years of being a couch potato, I started hiking again only about a month ago, and have bad knees and bad back, so the group pace was a bit fast for me. The furthest I had gone previously was 5 miles, so I thought the touted 7 mile round trip would be a sizable jump for me. However, it turned out that from my car in the middle of the lot till I got back to it exactly 4 hours later is, according to my pedometer app, 9.7 miles, which was a huge jump for me. Granted that towards the end my steps were probably getting a bit shorter, but I still guesstimate that the distance was probably between 9 and 9.5 miles. Probably closer to 9.5. I figure that I was at least 20 minutes behind the group, since I got a text about 15 minutes before I got to the car, from one of my carpoolers that they were taking Uber.
I highly recommend this trail for beginning hikers and those like me who have injuries. I also recommend that they go at their own pace rather than trying to keep up with a group of people, unless that group consists of equally slow hikers. I wish I could find a group like that.
It was an easy hike, just really exposed for the majority of the time, so bring water and wear sunscreen. Dog friendly (which is awesome) and horse friendly (which is what I didn't like about it because there were massive piles of horse dung all along the trail). Once you go through the tunnel, there's a gate that is typically locked with a no trespassing sign, so go down the trail and take a right along the dried creek to get to the gate. Don't go under the bridge, because that's a different trail and I'm not sure where it leads. It's pretty cool. I'd recommend it.
Emilia c. on Arroyo Seco Trail
Rocky in places, but so beautiful. It was so refreshing to see, hear, & smell the wetness of the streams. Glad I brought water for my husband, myself & for the dogs. Dogs love the hike. We are in our 70's & felt it was mostly an easy hike. We go usually on the week days. Much less crowded.
Nice walk. A little difficult to find which is great. My friend and I were the only people at the rock. I wish they would clear the brush a little better. Pretty soon the path will be very difficult to find and get through. Other than that, it was nice and did get a little creepy after playing with the echoes from the wash behind the gate. The echoes are unlike any other tunnel or echo producing structure. The vibes were a little intense.
Majority of the trail is nothing more than a paved fire road, but if you keep going the trail narrows and heads into Angeles national forest. That part of the trail was lovely and shaded with a couple of water crossings. There is poison oak but if you stay on the trail you'll be fine.
Brian R. on Arroyo Seco Trail
Cool hike that I didn't find to be too crowded. my son enjoyed it, and the scenery changed enough that it was diverse enough. We actually backpacked into Golden Mesa, setup there and hiked to the "waterfall". it was pretty nasty... the kids all ran under it, but it looked like it was just a runoff and the whole cement wall was covered in algae.