5 Best Parks Near Sun Valley: Brace Canyon Park, Sun Valley Recreation Center & More
Sun Valley, Los Angeles, is home to a variety of parks that offer a refreshing escape from the city's hustle and bustle. These parks provide a range of activities and natural beauty, appealing to all who seek outdoor enjoyment. When exploring the best parks in the Sun Valley neighborhood, you'll find everything, from scenic trails to recreational facilities. Explore these green spaces to discover where you can unwind and reconnect with nature in Sun Valley.
Sheldon Arleta Park
Sheldon Arleta Park offers a vast open space, sports fields, and a short walking path, and its convenient location also earns it a spot on the list of the best parks near Panorama City. The park is near the west end of Sun Valley on the corner of Sheldon Street and Arleta Avenue. Visitors can enjoy the park's facilities from dawn to dusk daily, though you'll want to bring sunscreen and water, as Sheldon Arleta Park's wide open spaces are sunny.
Two soccer fields, a baseball field, a basketball court, and a vast free-play area provide ample space for various sports and games. With so much open space, Sheldon Arleta Park is a fantastic spot for flying remote airplanes and drones. A dirt trail just under one mile long meanders around Sheldon Arleta Park, making it a popular area for dog walking and jogging.
Verdugo Mountain Park
Verdugo Mountain Park is a beautiful undeveloped natural area east of Sun Valley with several hiking trails. The Verdugo Mountains are part of the San Gabriel Mountains, but the Tujunga Valley separates them from the main range. Several parks provide access to these majestic peaks, but Verdugo Mountain Park, whose southern border abuts the city of Burbank, is the closest to Sun Valley. Visitors can find the park south of La Tuna Canyon Road, open daily from dawn to dusk.
The Verdugo Mountains consist primarily of coastal scrub, but their northern slopes feature denser woodlands. Native species like laurel sumac, toyon, and California lilac dominate the landscape. Birders may encounter Cedar Waxwing, American Goldfinch, and the Downey Woodpecker. The area is also home to California coyotes, mule deer, skunks, rabbits, opossums, and the occasional mountain lion.
Verdugo Mountain Park—also one of Burbank's best parks—aims to preserve this natural area, and the park remains relatively undeveloped aside from a series of moderately challenging hiking trails. These trails offer exquisite vistas of the main mountain range and access to the Verdugo Mountains' summits, including the highest point at 3,126 feet at Verdugo Peak. Some park trails link to trails leading onto private property, especially along the park's western edge. Bringing a map and watching closely for trail markers can help hikers stay on the public trails.
Brace Canyon Park
Brace Canyon Park is a neighborhood park with lighted sports facilities and a large playground featuring state-of-the-art equipment. It's just east of Sun Valley in Burbank, located off Brace Canyon Road. The park is open daily from sunrise to sunset, with facilities available for reservation. The park features a balanced mix of open play space and lush trees, with ample seating available in the shade. These trees also cover much of the park's paved path, allowing visitors to enjoy a jog or walk mostly in the shade.
The park's lighted ball fields are perhaps its most popular attraction, serving as the venue for countless Little League games and adding significantly to the bounty of things to do in Burbank. These events can attract quite a crowd, making it more challenging to find parking at these times. Weekends are another popular time to visit Brace Canyon Park, so visitors will likely have the best parking experience on weekdays when there are no ball games.
In addition to the ball fields, the park has a basketball court, lighted tennis courts, and a large playground with equipment designed to challenge and inspire visitors. Meanwhile, picnic tables and restrooms provide a space to relax and recharge.
Hansen Dam Recreation Area
The Hansen Dam Recreation Area features an aquatic center, horse park, and golf course north of Sun Valley in the Lake View Terrace neighborhood. The Hansen Dam is both a crucial facet of Los Angeles' water management systems and a popular recreation site. Lifeguards serve three lakes in the recreation area, including the moderately sized recreation lake, a beloved spot for fishing and boating, and the smaller swim lake.
Visitors can walk along the path tracing the dam's rim or explore the park's many equestrian and walking trails. These routes connect to the nearby Angeles National Forest's trail system and showcase montane chaparral, woodlands, and riparian habitats.
The Hansen Dam Recreation Area also has a skate park, baseball diamonds, soccer fields, playgrounds, picnic tables, and barbecue pits for even more outdoor fun. The Hansen Dam Golf Course on the south end of the complex features 18 holes, practice facilities, and a restaurant. Discovery Cube Los Angeles, located in the park's northwest corner, features traveling and permanent exhibits educating visitors on sustainability, waste reduction, and resource conservation.
Most facilities in the area, which also borders the Pacoima neighborhood and the Shadow Hills community, are accessible from Highways 5 or 210 and open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. While the swim lake is open from May to October, the recreation lake and other facilities welcome visitors year-round.
Sun Valley Recreation Center
The heart of the community, Sun Valley Recreation Center, features numerous facilities and programs promoting sports, fitness, and the arts.
Inside, the rec center has a multipurpose room and kitchen. Outdoors, visitors will find a playground and numerous lighted sports facilities, including a baseball diamond, basketball courts, a football field, a soccer field, tennis courts, a volleyball court, and a synthetic turf field. The rec center also has jogging paths, picnic tables, and a seasonal public swimming pool with a slide.
These facilities support Sun Valley Recreation Center's numerous sports, fitness, and cultural programs, including baseball, softball, flag football, and group programs like LA Kids and Summer Night Lights.
Sun Valley Recreation Center is located off Vineland Avenue near the center of Sun Valley, within walking distance of many single-household homes and communities of Los Angeles condos. It is open from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, except on holidays.
The Pristine Parks of Sun Valley
The parks in LA's Sun Valley neighborhood serve as vital green spaces, offering residents and visitors a chance to enjoy nature and outdoor activities. Each park, with its unique amenities and natural beauty, contributes to the quality of life in the neighborhood and the city of Los Angeles. For those in Sun Valley, these parks represent more than just open spaces; they are community treasures where moments of peace and enjoyment can be found.