San Rafael Hills

For the mountains in Santa Barbara County, see San Rafael Mountains.
San Rafael Hills

location of San Rafael Hills in California[1]

Highest point
Elevation 1,788 ft (545 m)
Country United States
State California
District Los Angeles County
Range coordinates 34°10′47″N 118°12′38″W / 34.1797°N 118.2106°W / 34.1797; -118.2106Coordinates: 34°10′47″N 118°12′38″W / 34.1797°N 118.2106°W / 34.1797; -118.2106
Parent range Transverse Ranges
Topo map USGS Pasadena

The San Rafael Hills are a mountain range in Los Angeles County, California.[1] They are one of the lower Transverse Ranges, and are parallel to and below the San Gabriel Mountains to the south, adjacent to the San Gabriel Valley overlooking the Los Angeles Basin.


The San Rafael Hills contain all or parts of the communities of La Cañada Flintridge, Pasadena, South Pasadena, San Marino, El Sereno, Monterey Hills, Montecito Heights, Cypress Park, Mount Washington, Glassell Park and foothills surrounding Eagle Rock, east of the Glendale Freeway including Rancho San Rafael and Chevy Chase Canyon in Glendale. They define the valley area of Pasadena and San Marino, and retain a large aquifer on the hills' north side, from the San Gabriel Valley.


They were the homeland, with settlements, of the Tongva Native American people for over 8,000 years before the Spanish invasion and colonization of the late 18th century. The El Molino Viejo with a zanja (dirt aqueduct) was built in the hills in 1816 by the nearby Mission San Gabriel Arcángel.[2] They are named after the Rancho San Rafael, an 1874 Spanish land grant beyond the hills to the west. An 1838 Mexican land grant established the Rancho Huerta de Cuati in the hills in 1838. The rancho was later acquired by Henry E. Huntington for his residence, gardens, and library, and real estate development. The Huntington Hotel was developed in 1914 on the southern side.[2]


The Huntington Library and Botanic Gardens, The hillside campus of Art Center College of Design, the Edwin Hubble House, and El Molino Viejo (all National Register of Historic Places and California Historical Landmarks) are located in the San Rafael Hills, as is San Marino's Lacy Park.[3]

Ernest E. Debs Regional Park is a large nature preserve and regional park in the western section of the hills, with walking and bicycle trails.

See also


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