The Los Angeles River, also known as the L.A. River, is a river that starts in the San Fernando Valley, in the Simi Hills and Santa Susana Mountains, and flows through Los Angeles County from Canoga Park in the western end of the San Fernando Valley, nearly 48 miles southeast to its mouth in Long Beach.
Several tributaries join the once free-flowing and frequently flooding river, forming alluvial flood plains along its banks. It now flows through a concrete channel on a fixed course.
The Los Angeles River bicycle path, or the L.A. River bike path, runs through the Glendale Narrows and is accessible to the public at its north end at Riverside Drive, at Los Feliz Boulevard, and at its south end at Glendale Boulevard. The bike path runs parallel to the 5 freeway for the majority of its length and has mile markers and call boxes for information and safety purposes.
“As soon as I heard that it was possible to ride the entire length of the Los Angeles River on a bike, it had to be done!” remarked my friend and fellow explorer, Andy Stout, who captured his personal journey via Stout About; a site dedicated to documenting his travels, experiences, education, and friends he has met along the way.
“I took Amtrak from San Diego to Los Angeles and then the Los Angeles Metro Red Line to Studio City where I linked up with my friend Josh. Over a few cocktails we discussed our plan of attack for the following day. There are basically two sections of the Los Angeles River Bike Path, and in between them is Downtown Los Angeles.”
Andy recommends “starting early in the day to make sure you have enough time to make it to Long Beach before the sun goes down. Many sections of the ride take you through some pretty ‘rough’ neighborhoods. One of these ‘rough’ neighborhoods is Compton.”
Environmental groups and park advocates, such as Los Angeles River Revitalization, support the removal of concrete and the restoration of natural vegetation and wildlife. There are also plans for a series of parks along the river’s city frontage.
The Los Angeles River also flows through several Los Angeles County communities and has been featured in many Hollywood films.
The Terminator 2:
Sepulveda Basin is a flood-control basin to manage flood water runoff. Except for infrequent but dramatic flood episodes, this dry-land flood control basin, most of which is leased from the Corps by the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, plays host to diverse uses today including athletic fields, agriculture, golf courses, a fishing lake, parklands, a sewage treatment facility, and a wildlife reserve.
Following the Los Angeles Flood of 1938, concrete banks were created as a flood control measure for nearly all the length of the river, making it essentially navigable by bicycle to its end, where it empties into the San Pedro Bay in Long Beach. In recent years, the Friends of the Los Angeles River, a local civic and environmental group, have attempted to restore portions of the river as parkland in a manner that includes and encourages bicycle and pedestrian traffic.
WHAT: The Los Angeles River Bicycle Path
WHEN: Daily sun up to sun down
WHERE: Los Angeles
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