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San Gabriel River Mid Trail

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From Whittier Narrows to Lakewood

Mid San Gabriel
Another concrete river – but cyclists seem to like it.

This mid-section of the river trail is about 12 miles: from the Whittier Narrows Dam/Legg Lake Recreation Area down to South St., the border between Cerritos and Lakewood. The bikeway is flat – naturally, since it follows the river – and like the rest of Los Angeles’ river trails, there’s plenty of concrete wasteland along with the wetland, particularly in the Pico Rivera area, with its large flood basins.

But the journey is dotted with some cute parks and rest areas, horsey neighborhoods (along with used car lots!), and for a good part of its length there are bike paths on both banks of the river (tho’ no under-passes on the west side), with several pedestrian/bike bridges where you can cross over.

See the Upper and Lower San Gabriel River trail maps and the Rio Hondo map for continuations.

Thomas Guide, pages 636, 676, 706, 736.

Nearest current weather: (Click for Forecast)

Click for Whittier, Pico Rivera, etc. Forecast

»» This past Saturday, I rode the Annual Tour de Cure for American Diabetes Assoc. The trail from Eldorado Park to Wilderness Park along the 605 Freeway was just great.
One of the bridges over the riverWilderness Park

Also the parks along the trail were all beautiful parks. Shiomi M.

The Lower San Gabriel merits a page of its own on this web site,because of Wilderness Park, in Downey, if for no other reason.

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33 Comments

  1. CoCo

    Saw the muggings on the SART just wondering how safe this trail is? I’m fixing to start riding again but now I’m nervous.

    Reply
  2. toplesscj

    I have the same question. It is foolish to ride at night?

    Reply
    • Paul

      Foolish, maybe; but I only avoid it at night because I hate riding through the inevitable swarms of gnats. For that reason it’s really a day ride. I’ve never had any other altercations with man or beast. But to say that is not possible would be a lie. Just read Alejandro Lizardi’s comments of 06/03/12.

      Reply
  3. cocomaymay

    This would have to be a bike path that would be great for day runs, and not so much for night runs.

    Reply
  4. Arturo Chavez

    where is the nearest point i can get on this bike path. I live in hacienda Heights

    Reply
    • Paul

      Art,

      You can catch the trail at the bike path on the north side of the San Jose Creek. That’s at 7th Ave just north of Bonelli Street; ride west to Workman Mill Road. Go south along here (the name will change to Pellissier Place), running parallel to the 605. Hang a right at Peck Road and roughly 1/2 mile ahead you will see the gate to the path just after you cross the SGV River.

      Reply
  5. Alejandro Lizardi

    Rode this trail today from the base of the San Gabriel Mountains. At about mile 23 (just after the Valley Blvd. underpass), two thugs with bandannas on their faces, one with a shotgun, tried to knock this older gentleman and me off our bikes. Lucky for us, they weren’t very good at what they were trying to do, so we got away. I got kicked really hard on my left knee in an attempt to knock me off the path. I don’t know exactly how I managed to stay upright, but we escaped. DO NOT RIDE THIS TRAIL ALONE!!! This happened in broad daylight on a Saturday afternoon, 3ish.

    Reply
  6. James

    Last Saturday I started at the beginning in Azusa, picked up the Rio Hondo, down to LA River to long beach Great ride. I ride this trail about once a month, while I’ve seen some pretty interesting looking characters, never had any issues.

    Reply
  7. Marcus

    Rode thisbroute last year and got my bike stolen by two punks who had bats. Do not ride alone. Groupnrides only

    Reply
  8. Ubringliten

    II am from NorCal and biking is pretty safe in terms of criminal activity. I would like to promote biking at night by having a group ride similar to bike parties in the Bay Area. Would anyone be interested?

    Reply
  9. kc

    i live near this trail. and ride this trail weekly for over 20years. the above mentioned shotgun mugging was in El Monte. that is a terrible neighborhood anyways. dont ride at night for bugs,and bums at the bridges. start in whittier and ride towards seal beach. that is a good 30 mile back and forth. seal beach lets you continue to huntington which can be a 60mile b/f. dont go towards the east past whittier. it gets bad.

    Reply
  10. jackym

    rode the path today, got on at whittier and headed west, but only went out about 10 miles (first time out), and it was really nice. i was alone and was a little scared i might come across some thugs, but its was really great. can’t wait to go again.

    Reply
  11. Gina

    I ride this trail about 4 times a week for the past 5 years. Never had a problem. I enter from Whittier, When I feel like climbing I will head towards the Dam and end up on the other side, at the base of the mountains.It’s a pretty lonely ride not much traffic.I also ride to the beach way more traffic and both ways you have to look out for suicidal squirrels

    Reply
  12. David

    I’m from out of town and plan to ride the trail from Whittier to Seal Beach Tomorrow, but after reading these comments,I don’t know if I should.Does anyone want to join me? I’m free all day. (Wednesday 9/12)

    Reply
  13. Blar

    I have been riding this path for many years. The surrounding area and bike path between the dam and Whittier Blvd. has badly deteriorated over the last ten years, bodies are found regularly in the brush, and it is not recommended. It has been cleaned up above Telegraph Road and it is actually a good clean ride from there all the way to Seal Beach, which is about 7 miles beyond Lakewood. From there you can access the Pacific Coast Highway and continue south. For both safety reasons and air quality, I prefer to use the Rio Hondo from Whittier Narrows to Telegraph and then cross over to the San Gabriel about a mile east.

    Reply
  14. Tom

    You will not have any trouble, just don’t be foolish, you will always pass a few potheads now and then, even on my side which runs from telegraph to the washington spreading grounds on the pico rivera side is full of sand and some glass under the train tracks seams to be ok durring the day just don’t ride this area after dusk.

    Reply
  15. Charlie

    Unfortunately the incident Marcus has reported is not an isolated one on the Mid Trail. I observed a similar attack, except it was late summer 1979. I was approximately 30 yards from the first railroad bridge one encounters in riding upstream from Telegraph, near the pumping station just before Slauson Ave., when two individuals jumped out from the rocks underneath the bridge and began beating a bicyclist in the back with bats before fleeing with the bike.

    Reply
  16. Daniel

    Can anyone tell me how to get to the beach from this trail. I start at the Santa Fe damn area and don’t know which way to do when the trail splits up at the rio Hondo path and the sgv river path.

    Reply
    • mark

      i ride this path regularly, from downey up to either whittier narrows or up past the santa fe dam in azusa.

      if youre comin down from the santa fe dam area, youll get to a crossroads at about mile 22. turn left (south) along the san gabriel river trail to get to the beach. another mile south the trail enters the roadway in order to cross from the west to the east bank of the river.

      btw, when you get to the crossroads at mile 22, you can turn right onto the unmarked trail and you will be able to get to the whittier narrows/legg lake rec area (water, shade, restrooms). just follow the unmarked trail north for 1/2 mile and turn left over the creek. if you miss the left over the creek youll just end up back on the san gabriel river trail.

      Reply
  17. Ramir

    I usually ride by my self twice a week at rio hondo trail, but never encountered any problem other than getting chased by a large dog one time and you might see some suspicious people hanging around, maybe i look a little intimidating my self but just to make sure you might wanna carry something to protect your self like a small pocket knife cause its always better to have it and not need it than not having it and need it, and always keep alert when going thru dark tunnels when you riding by your self.

    Reply
  18. Isabel

    Anyone care to join me from Westminster to pico?? I should be leaving around 2ish.

    Reply
  19. erlindo esquibel

    i ride the trail twice a week.never had any problems yet! over all great trail to ride with family.

    Reply
  20. Octavio

    I will be riding tomorrow morning (8ish) from the area where the 105 & 605 meet. After reading a few posts I will be heading south rather than north. I’ve never taken this trail so I don’t know exactly where to catch it, any info would be appreciated. I’m a novice rider so I’m looking to do a max total distance of 40mi. Also I’m riding on a hybrid so I average about 16-18mph. Be there or be square! Lol

    -Octavio

    Reply
  21. candy mintier

    maybe we could send all the Mexicans back home via the river…. no more problems..

    Reply
    • Ray

      Please shut the fuck up and find an appropriate bike path near your trailer park.

      Reply
    • Thomas

      Candy, it’s too bad the river doesn’t go to the Atlantic Ocean cuz then we could send YOU back to where YOU came from……

      Reply
  22. GT BIKE

    I prefer to ride in the mornings specially when cloudy.
    So for so good.

    Reply
  23. John

    I have ridden this trail over 600 times (round trip) from Cypress to the beach and have never has a problem. I have ridden alone (mostly) and with others but would strongly suggest that you don’t ride the trail after dusk. There are some unfortunate folk who probably live alongside the trail but they are ok and just getting along with their lives. There are sometimes youths running from the local school, just give them a wide berth because they are are not looking out for cyclist’s. True enough, I have seen a few ominous looking characters on the trail and for this reason along I would not suggest that younger girls walk or cycle the trail along but this is just common sense as it would be anywhere. I do see the same ladies jogging often and they seem to be perfectly comfortable with their surroundings.

    So I would suggest using common sense as you would anytime.

    I wouldn’t be so casual about this north of Cypress though because I have ridden in that direction a couple of times. The atmosphere definately changes quickly there and I wouldn’t recomment that anyone rides alone northwards.

    Be safe and ride with a friend anytime you can.

    Reply
    • RC

      Hello John, I am new to this bike thing.
      I live in Cypress. how long will it take it to the beach if i start at Lincoln/Carson? is 6am safe?

      Reply
  24. GMAC-LBC

    I was on the trail today I live in Cypress. I get on at El Dorado Park and it’s about 5 miles to Seal Beach. I was just crusing and it took about 30 mins. I have notice no one has mention that going south towards Seal Beach is always against the wind.

    Reply
    • Richard M

      The exception, of course, would be during a Santa Ana wind.

      Reply
  25. Ariel

    I am a novice at rollerblading and have been trying out nearby trails..I found out that this trail in particular takes you all the way to seal beach and was wondering if besides biking there someone would reccomend this path for rollerblading

    Reply
  26. Erma Bacerra

    I ride it all the time. I have for the last 20 plus years and I love it. I used to be afraid of the homeless people down there but I soon found out that they don’t want to hurt anyone, they are just down on their luck. I met this very young girl living down there that changed my whole attitude toward homeless people. …I actually bring food down there when I can. If your bike gets a flat, they love to help out and fix it. At night they are more afraid of you than you are of them

    Reply

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