Lush green hills, summer sunshine and new landscaping featuring native plants and flowers — including sage, sugar bush, poppy and toyon shrubs — greet visitors of all ages as they stroll, hike or even ride on horseback through the 1.5 winding miles of the spacious new Lopez Canyon Equestrian and Hiking Trail.

Unveiled last month, the Lopez Canyon Trail — which has its trailhead on Terra Vista Way near Terra Bella Street in Lake View Terrace — has notable eco-forward features, such as drought-resistant vegetation (to help limit the use of water) and a stormwater bioswale system, which consists of shallow landscaped depressions used in lieu of concrete gutters or storm sewers to capture stormwater runoff, soak it into the ground and filter out pollution.

The new trail’s bioswale was designed to collect most of the storm runoff from the adjoining parking lot and picnic area and includes a 16-foot standpipe, also referred to as a dry well.

Los Angeles City Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez (7th District) emphasized the significance of the environmentally minded trail project, noting that funding for ecological expenditures like the bioswale are often limited or absent in lower-income communities.

A drinking fountain for horses in the Lopez Canyon Trail. The picnic area is situated nearby. (SFVS Staff)

“Council District 7 was often overlooked for these types of eco-forward investments; however, in my first term, we secured over four acres to reimagine buffer lands surrounding the Lopez Canyon Landfill,” said Rodriguez, explaining that much of that area was previously considered a fire hazard due to the natural overgrowth of plants and weeds. 

Other features of the Lopez Canyon Trail include new signage, mile markers, decorative rocks and boulders, drinking fountains, horse waterers and dog waste stations to help decrease the amount of animal waste that ends up polluting the stormwater system.

Additional highlights include a designated parking lot for horse trailers, and parking and picnic tables that are ADA compliant. Further, recycled asphalt (removed from city streets) was utilized for the ground (grinding) of the parking lot, which reduces the use of petroleum products, decreasing ground heat absorption and its negative impact on pets and horses.

“The quality and the design [of the Lopez Canyon Trail project] were thoughtfully created as an environmental amenity our district deserves,” explained the councilwoman. “It reflects what happens when the community comes together to partner with the city.”

The project was developed in partnership with Public Works, LA Sanitation & Environment (LASAN), the Bureau of Engineering and the local community with the goal of repurposing the buffer lands around the Lopez Canyon Landfill into a multi-purpose open space for public use. Area residents joined Rodriguez and department representatives at the Lopez Canyon trailhead in late May for an official ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand opening.

The total cost of the project was approximately $380K. It took approximately five years to complete construction, which was delayed due to COVID-related working restrictions.

Rodriguez said the next phase will complete the Lopez Canyon Greenspace, an “open space amenity” with a playground, seating, shade, native vegetation and the district’s first dog run.

The trailhead of the Lopez Canyon Equestrian and Hiking Trail is located at 11531 Terra Vista Way in Lake View Terrace.