The San Gabriel Valley’s “Other” River
Although it links to the San Gabriel River Trail via the Whittier Narrows Recreation Area (see the close-up of Legg Lake and Upper San Gabriel River bikeway), the Rio Hondo is actually a tributary of the LA River (Lario); as you’ll see if you click onto Google’s map, it converges with the mighty Los Angeles near Downey, just south of John Anson Ford Park.
Since there are probably more flood basins along this stretch of river than any other river path, there are more spots where you’re further away from residences and other structures, giving the feeling of being out in the country (tho’ you may not be able to tell what country.)
Thomas Guide pp 597, 637, 676, 705.
On entering the Whittier Narrows Recreation Area Park, the concrete abruptly ends, although the river continues in a meandering course through lots of jungly overgrowth. At this point, the bike path swerves over into the park, where it cuts through picnic grounds, soccer fields, and greenery.
At the northern end of the path, near the gravel pits, you’ll come upon the aptly-named Peck Road Water Conservation Park (left). Below that is a long, extremely barren stretch of concrete river.
This park is one of the best for greenery: it has more tall pines and older growth than many other bike trail parks, since most of the others are built on landfill.
At the 10 Freeway the bike path makes a right turn and follows alongside the freeway, before dipping down under the road and onward to the south.
Further south, toward the 5 Frwy,
you run into the rust belt.
- I’m one-way bike commuting from my home in Monrovia to downtown LA. In the evening I take the MetroLink to El Monte and pedal the rest of the way home. I sometimes take the Rio Hondo bike trail, but the gate at Valley Blvd is locked. I squeeze my way through a gap in the fence and scurry down the
steep, concrete hill in my cleats. . . .
The ride North from there is quite nice passing several lakes (former gravel pits). The trail lets out onto the street right behind a small golf course in a quiet neighborhood.