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Best Wildflower Trail Above the Freeway Los Angeles 2011 

Elysian Park

Mention wildflower viewing and people immediately think Joshua Tree or the Lancaster desert. But wildflowers proliferate in our own backyard — in Elysian Park. Spring brings out carpets of wildflowers and flocks of songbirds, not to mention joggers, hikers, dog walkers and the occasional disgruntled Dodger fan. Elysian Park's Wildflower Trail is an easy 2.8-mile hike that loops around the park with only 200 feet of elevation and a small garden halfway through for those who need to catch their breath. You'll walk among sycamore and pine trees and be surrounded by songs from various birds. It's country-meets-city: Bird tweets win out over the dull roar of the 5 freeway, a sound that simply fades to white noise. On a clear day there are great views of the distant Verdugo and San Gabriel mountains, and you can peer down at cars packed on the 5. It gives you an instant lift, knowing you're not down there but up among the wildflowers. 1025 Elysian Park Drive, Elysian Park; park by the Grace E. Simmons Lodge and look for a white fire-road gate for the trailhead.

—Reuben E. Reynoso

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