El Dorado Park Nature Center

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El Dorado Park was once part of Rancho Los Alamitos and owned by the Bixby Family. In 1968, the City of Long Beach purchased the land from the family and developed it into a park and nature center. Located on Spring Street just off the 605 freeway in the city of Long Beach, California, El Dorado Park Nature Center offers visitors of all physical abilities the opportunity to enjoy nature without leaving the city.

One of my favorites since 2005, I enjoy walking the one, two, and quarter mile trails early weekend mornings. I usually walk all three trails, entering the one mile path at the third bridge near the waterfall. If your knees can handle climbing a switchback, follow the signs for the two mile trail to the right. My knees and hips having been say no to the switchbacks lately, so over the bridge I go on a kinder, leveler path.

I’m so glad to be here this morning. My husband and I had a late night out babysitting the grandkids. I thought I’d still be sleeping at 8:00 a.m., but I’m not and I’m here! Woo, woo! I love Sunday mornings at the Nature Center. A little less traveled and more serene than Saturdays, I find that Sunday’s are quieter and perfect for contemplation and meandering. Except for the occasional nod or “morning” from the regular walkers, I have a sense of wandering in the woods far away from the noisy, busy city of my reality.

After completing my walk, I like to end at the quarter mile trail. The trail is paved and accessible to the mobility impaired. A perfect place to catch your breath and cool down before heading home. Shady and deserted, the aromatic scent of sage, ginger, and eucalyptus fill my lungs. Heaven!

This is one of my best local discoveries to get into nature when limited in time. Where else can you hike three miles in a forest, jump back into your car and head for the grocery store ten minutes from home? Thank you City of Long Beach for creating an urban oasis for local nature enthusiast like me!

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