The Neighborhood

Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area

Unlimited outdoor activities await near your new home!

Northridge’s neighbor Lake Balboa is aptly named after the park’s 27-acre man-made lake. The oasis is surrounded by barbecue pits, children's play area, picnic tables, and covered picnic pavilions. Flowering cherry trees provide a colorful backdrop.

​The Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve has two sections, each featuring nature paths and hiking trails. Haskell Creek flows through the nature preserve, and there are several wildlife ponds. Over 200 species of birds have been seen in the basin, along with locally native California plants.

​The full Sepulveda Dam Recreation Area Bike Path is a 9-mile loop around the recreation area. A shorter route crosses a natural stretch of the Los Angeles River, which is lined with native Arroyo willows, California sycamores, and other California native plants.

​The 6.5-acre Japanese Garden is a hidden gem.  Stroll the dry Zen meditation garden, the “wet-strolling” garden, and the tea garden.  Check the garden’s website for the next traditional Tea Service. Adjacent to the garden is the Tilman Water Reclamation Plant. The main building has been featured in the Star Trek series.

Photos: City of Los Angeles, various websites.

A long week of hard work deserves a weekend of outdoors and recreation. Luckily, the San Fernando Valley’s sprawling Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area is close by. The 2,000+ acre “park” is roughly situated between U.S 101 to the south, Victory Boulevard to the north, Interstate 405 to the east, and White Oak Boulevard to the west.  Balboa Boulevard and Woodley intersect the park running north and south. Burbank Boulevard runs through the southern-most section of the recreational area, and the iconic concrete road can easily be spotted in numerous television shows and feature films.

The anchor (and reason) for the recreation area is the Sepulveda Dam, which is a project of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and was designed to withhold winter flood waters along the Los Angeles River. Completed in 1941, at a cost of $6.5 million, the dam is located eight miles east of the river's source in the western San Fernando Valley. The Sepulveda Dam (closed to the public) has been used in countless movies and commercials, and is easily one of the most filmed locations in Los Angeles.

​The Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area features a variety of outdoor and recreational activities, including:


- Apollo XI Model aircraft field
- Archery Range
- Balboa Tennis Courts
- Balboa and Hijlte Sports Complexes
- Baseball fields
- Encino Community Center
- Encino Glen
- Encino, Balboa and Woodley Lakes Golf Courses
- Encino Velodrome
- Lake Balboa/Anthony C. Beilenson Park
- Leo Magnus Cricket Complex
- Miles of jogging and bicycle trails
- Picnic and Park areas
- Seasonal non-motorized boating
- Sepulveda Garden Center
- Skate Park
- The Japanese Garden
- The Lake House Restaurant
- Wildlife Reserve