The Zanja Walk

Discover Pasadena History

The Zanja, from the Spanish word for ditch, was Pasadena's first water capture and distribution structure. Built in 1877 by Benjamin Eaton, it brought water from the Arroyo Seco to the citrus groves of early Pasadena. The Zanja has since been replaced with a much more extensive and modern system, but those who know what to look for will discover that it is still part of Pasadena's landscape.

On November 24, 2012 more than 40 Los Angeles area residents took part in the Zanja Walk. Led by Dr. David Kimbrough of the Pasadena Water & Power Department, participants followed the archeological remains of Pasadena's historic irrigation canal from Hahamongna Watershed Park to the intersection of Arroyo Boulevard and Zanja Street.

Follow along with us below!

Participants learn about the history of the Zanja

A perfect view of the San Gabriel Mountains from Hahamongna Watershed Park

Enjoying the view from Devil's Gate Dam

Walkers make their way down to the begining of the Zanja trail

The begining of the Zanja

Despite appearing to go uphill, Zanja Street is actually below where the Zanja started. The illusion is created by the overall slope of the Central Arroyo.

Walkers stop at remnants of the Zanja, now hidden among the diverse habitats of the Central Arroyo

The mysterious McGaughey Oil Company sign (any information on this would be greatly appreciated!)

Dr. Kimbrough explains how the Zanja became Zanja Street

Eaton's Water

This short film documents the momentous accomplishment of Benjamin Eaton buiding the critical ditch that brought water to Pasadena.

Zanja Walk Route