Everybody needs beauty as well as bread…places to play in…where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike. —John Muir, 1912
I’m not really one for exercise, but I do enjoy a good stroll in the park and hike through a nature center. Which is why I regret not knowing sooner that just a short ways from my university was El Dorado East Regional Park and Nature Center. I visited these places in August and hope to visit again next summer. Both areas of the park were beautiful and expansive. The one downside is that you have to pay for parking ($5/day). But I think it’s worth it considering all the things you can do and see there.
In the park section they have an archery range, several lakes and a bike path, which is decorated with the planets, spaced out along the path. Yes, Pluto is included. Pluto will always be a planet to me. The park and nature center are separated by Spring Street, but there is a tunnel next to the San Gabriel River that you can take across.
Entrance to the nature center is free and there is a visitor’s center. The nature center consists of several trails, ranging from 1/4 mile to 2 miles long. You can see a variety of birds among other wildlife. The trails themselves are beautiful and interesting. There are a lot of little hidden paths with seats, so you can rest and enjoy the nature around you. Though I was more tempted to go off trail and explore beyond.
The nature center is 105 acres and has only native Californian plant species, such as chaparral and coastal sage scrub. Two plant species my environmental geography classes mention a lot. I definitely recommend seeing the coastal sage scrub because of the peasant smell they give off. I wish they had chairs along that area. I would’ve stayed there and just breathed in the good smell.
These two areas though are part of an even larger park area. There is also a West Regional Park, which has free parking and amenities, such as basketball and volleyball courts, softball and soccer fields, etc. There is also a golf course and restaurant. This section of the park is located along Studebaker Road.