Hours:Wed-Mon 8am-5pm; Tue closed
Cost:Free; Parking $5
about Monrovia Canyon Park:
It's a wonder that such a vibrant forest exists five minutes above the urban din of the San Gabriel Valley. Monrovia Canyon Park - an oak woodland, chapparal, and riparian forest - is home to bears, grey foxes, bobcats, raccoons, coyotes, and Virginia opossums, most of whom thankfully visit the park only after hours. The Nature Center is a bright building, staffed by friendly volunteers who love to introduce young visitors to the snakes and bugs kept in terrariums. Displays of local wildlife and plant communities are found throughout the center; picnic areas and barbeque pits can be found just outside. Kids can easily handle the 1.5-mile roundtrip Monrovia Falls hike, which brings them to a waterfall with giant boulders to climb. On the way, they'll marvel at small caves, the trickling stream just begging for dipped bare toes, and "The Cathedral" - an area in which the oaks bend to create a domed "room." The hike starts right behind the Nature Center.
Ask the Nature Center staff for a refresher course on what poison oak, deer ticks, and rattlesnakes look like; all make appearances in these woods.
From I-210, take Myrtle Avenue north through the center of Monrovia. Turn right on Foothill Boulevard, then left on Canyon Boulevard, which leads to the park. There are three main parking areas, off the lower, middle, and upper part (Nature Center location) of the park road.