A Park a Day: Valencia Glen Park

July is National Parks & Recreation Month, and all month long LAist will be featuring a hand-selected park a day to showcase just a few of the wonderful recreation spaces—big or small—in the Los Angeles area.

The city of Santa Clarita—aka Awesometown—is located just 30 miles north of Downtown LA. While Magic Mountain is a big draw for the LA crowds, the city does have other attractions. Just look between the suburban sprawl and the strip malls of Valencia, Newhall, Canyon Country and Saugus to find more than 20 parks and tons of green space.

One neighborhood park, Valencia Glen, is located in the heart of Valencia just off of McBean Parkway near both CalArts and College of the Canyons. We picked this park because of its central location and its access to Valencia's paseo system. These recreational paths—nearly 30 miles of them—are designed specifically for walkers, runners, skaters and bikers and connect the town.

Valencia Glen Park is great for families. There's a playground and sandlot for the kids and a basketball court and two tennis courts for the sporty types. A number of tennis classes are held at the park, but the times and dates are posted at the courts. The basketball court is available to whomever gets there first. There's an outdoor, five-lane pool that's open for recreational swims when not in use for classes and practices. It's a great way to beat the SCV's summer heat.

A few bbq grills and picnic tables are scattered around the park, available on a first-come, first-served basis when not reserved. If the tables are taken, just bring a blanket, picnic basket (no alcohol, though) and a good book and park yourself under the shade of one of the huge trees in the park.

Adjacent to the tennis courts is a huge, open field. While we've seen it being used for soccer practice, ultimate Frisbee and even a Quiddich match, often times, it sits empty for dogs and their owners to run around in. (Poop bags are available around the park, too.)

And speaking of running, what we love best again about this park are the paseo trails that crisscross the park. You can run for miles without having to deal with cars and traffic. Go one direction over several pedestrian bridges to the Valencia Town Center (which just opened its Apple Store, btw); run in another direction to the South Fork Trail, which itself is a flat run with a total distance of 8.3 miles.

Bring the kids, bring the dogs (on leash) or bring your running shoes. Valencia Glen is a great park for sports and recreation with plenty of places to chill in the shade. Street parking (no lot) is at a premium, especially when classes at the rec center are in session, but it's Awesometown, so just turn the corner and you'll find plenty of space.

The park closes at 10 pm daily.