Located just north of downtown Los Angeles sits a small, often forgotten park called Ernest E. Debs Regional Park. In fact, you’d probably never hear a word about it if it weren’t for the ultra-cute lake that sits, surrounded by trees, at its summit. In fact, the lake and the surrounding hiking trails are what makes this tiny park locally famous…yet still virtually unknown to anyone outside of the northeast LA area.
Ernest Debs Park is not a large park but it is hilly, so getting orientated can be challenging if its your first visit. To make sense of it all, Ive broken the park down into 4 sections that Ive defined myself….so no, they are not official in anyway. But here ya go…
The flat area of the park is probably the first section that you’ll encounter, as it includes the park’s main parking lot. Its basically a flat grassy area with bathrooms, picnic tables and lots of space for your general park activities….frisbee, football and bbq-ing.
Heading north (and uphill) from the Flats, you will eventually encounter Ernest Deb’s main attraction; Debs Pond. Its a man-made lake surrounded by trees that sits on top of a steep hill. Its a very picturesque place that even has some moderate fishing. The lake is small and only takes about 5 minutes to walk around.
The North Trail Circuit:
If you go even further past Debs Pond, you’ll continue on the North Trail Circuit. Essentially this is a single trail with a few out-shoots to various parking lots. The trail is not very hard, but it does have some slight elevation changes and some great views overlooking the 110, Mt Washington, DTLA and the Angeles National Forest off in the distance.
The South Trail Circuit:
On the southern end of Ernest Debs, you’ll find the South Trail Circuit that surrounds Rose Hill Park. This area is rarely visited and far less remarkable than other areas of the park. It consists of a few small trails that meander around the hill sides. Its probably great if you live around the area but not a destination in itself.
If you start at the main parking lot (in the Flats) and head up to Debs Pond and continue around the North Trail Circuit, it should take you about an hour to complete.
The hiking trails of the South Trail Circuit are less defined, so there are numerous routes to take, but I imagine you can hike the entire area in a hour or two.