Sepulveda Dam Recreation Area

San Fernando Valley, NW of the intersection of the 405 and 101 Fwys

Sepulveda Dam
Flat tires are frequent in this park.

About 9 miles around the entire perimeter. Flat and easy. The bike path goes in and around the Sepulveda Dam Recreation Area, which is a green and pretty park, with all the amenities: water, restrooms, picnic tables, golf courses, softball fields, etc.

Click here for Google’s Street Map with nearby businesses.

Thomas Guide pp. 531, 561.

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There is also parking in several of the golf course parking
lots, although the sign at the Lake Balboa Golf Course
suggests it is only for golfer parking, it is never full and
they don’t seem to bother the bikers and bladers who park

The 9 mile route for bicylists is too rough for rollerbladers. The shorter route bounding Victory Blvd at Lake Balboa Skate and Hockey Shop, to Balboa Blvd. to Burbank to Woodley is usually much better . . . when repaired, it is an interesting and sometimes scenic five mile run if you use the old bridge underpasses on
Balboa. . . . P.C. Wright

Viewer Comment:

In recent years the path has fallen into extreme
disrepair due to the flooding of the Sepulveda Basin . . . repairs are incredibly slow. The inner loop through the Lake Balboa Park
area, including Victory Blvd and the north portion of the larger
loop along Balboa and Woodley (about 2.3 miles) is completed and in excellent condition. The Lake area has parking, a large boy and girl rest room and snack wagons on weekends. (Warning: The park closes at dark and the path through the park is very congested on weekends.)


  1. t.b.

    Recommend you don’t bike on the path that goes around the three golf courses. You will be constantly dodging joggers, walkers, walkers with baby strollers taking up both bike lanes while chatting on their cell phone and trying to control their Irish Setter on a 20 ft. leash.

  2. Hillary Campbell

    I did not find the 9 mile bike path to be in too much disrepair to rollerblade on. Perhaps for a beginner it would be too bumpy, but for a mild to seasoned pro, it’s really no problem. I also found that between 1 and 4 PM the path is virtually empty, save a few walkers and a couple bikers. There is also ample shade along the West, East, and even the North sides of the path to keep you cool and out of direct sunlight. Bring an iPod, and an hour will go by in a snap!

  3. Larry Bruland

    Beware!!! I have repeatedly gotten flat tires in recent weeks. My bicycle repair man said he wouldn’t reccomend going there at all, but at this time of year on particularly.

  4. Arpy Semerdjian

    Too many prickly thorns!! They are everywhere, not worth riding bikes unless you wanna keep changing tubes or you have slime tubes. This is unfortunate because the park is an easy ride.

    • Paul

      Quit whining like little girls and get some tore liners and be done with it lol!!!

  5. IsLives

    Three flats in two weeks. Live near chandler bike path, shame I can’t continue around park. Like the ride, wish someone would clean the thorns.

  6. Marianne Schwab

    I’ve had three flats due to the Goatshead thorns in the past several weeks. It’s indeed frustrating, but my brother (a bicycle coach) recommended installing Mr. Tuffy Liners on my tires and adding tubes with Slime. You can get this at Performance Bike (PB) in Woodland Hills (other places I’m sure), but PB also installed it for me (for a small charge). If you go there and bike a lot, you might want to join their rewards program. My bike which I purchased there in August also has a service agreement that was very reasonable. Great for “girls” and “beginners” like me who don’t want to do all the maintenance, but I’m learning to take care of flats. 🙂 I’ve ridden 45 miles exclusively around Balboa Park since Sunday (9/18) with no flat tires. I am also looking out for Goatshead and debris fields as I bike to avoid any trouble spots (particularly at Woodley & Burbank corner).

  7. Newbie Biker

    I had a flat tire due to the same thorns and had to buy the slimy thingy to make sure i won’t get flat and walk back to my house. After that, no more flats and it is really a good bike path. No complains.

  8. Valley Runner

    I got a flat about a month ago… Two in one week. The second time I had ridden my bike to the park, ran 6 miles and had to run an additional 3 miles home because of my tire… If you are riding to the park on a bike I suggest bringing a cell phone or bus fare!

  9. sebassh

    Have an EBike or ezip trailz. My tires are a mtn bike and hardy new, haven’t had a flat at all. Weeks after 1pm are a best ride there. I have considered motorizing the Columbia Tricycle I have with a small gas engine. Not harrassed by my ebike, but because the motorized bikes go slower than many on the racing 12 speeds that usually pass me on my ebike I have begun to look into it. With a very bad knee, the engine effort helps to relieve the pain from excess peddling. Anyone know what the laws are for a small cc motorized gas or electric bike on the path?

  10. kat

    Fyi: Do not ride in the Wildlife Refuge. It’s one place bikes may not go. You will get a ticket from the ranger and you scare the wildlife.

  11. marcalans

    Way too many Goat Head thorns. I get flats almost every time I ride there, even with Slime tubes, so I stopped using the path. I once had over 20 thorns in one tire and Slime was of no help. The City really should do a better job of managing the foliage so that Goat Head thorns do not proliferate the area or cyclists will eventually stop using the facility.

  12. summer miller

    I have never had a flat tire. I use the best tubes, and in all the 12 years riding bikes no one in my family has ever had a flat. Maybe the kind of bike tread and tube make a difference. Sorry you all had that, is such a great ride. 9 miles!

  13. Josh

    Is the red line in the map accurate for the distance of the route?

  14. Jeff

    Road the loop with my family last weekend. Three of four got multiple punctures/flats due to goat head thorns. Very frustrating.

  15. Jim

    If you get flats at Balboa Park go to Reseda bikes (Gault and Reseda) and have them install their thickest tubes and 2 plastic tire liners in each tire. It’ll cost you about $75.00 but it will make biking enjoyable. I literally had 300 thorns in my tire the other day and they did not pop. It has been two years with the same set up and not one flat. I ride over 50 miles a week at Balboa Park and all over the Santa Monica mountains. Reseda bikes have been the only store in the area that made my tires as close to thorn proof as possible. Balboa Park is a great part to ride. Yes there are many people!! Simply go around them and stop whining!! We live in LA; did you think it was suppose to be open spaces and unobstructed pathways?

  16. Arnold Watson

    The path that travels around the golf course and in and through the lake area is a pleasure to ride during the weekdays only. During the week most people are at work and / or school leaving the park to senior citizens, toddlers with moms playing at the playground facility, and people who take their lunch breaks in the park while sitting inside their vehicles. There are also joggers / runners, and power walkers around the perimeter of Balboa Lake itself. This usually leaves the path in and around the lake (outer perimeter) fully accessible to cyclist as is intended.

    During the weekend however, things change and quite dramatically during the warmer months of the year (Spring and Summer). The bike path is totally unfriendly or even unsafe for cyclist for which it was designed for. As the first commenter mentions (t.b. on 12/19/2010) there are all sorts of pedestrians occupying the bike bath without any regard for cyclist and even displaying hostility towards anyone who may suggest that they use the path designed for pedestrians / joggers / runners. This is obviously frustrating and requires cyclists to ride at a slow and cautious rate of speed.

    The bike path has made some improvements concern the condition of the path itself but not enough has been done to minimize the risks to cyclists and pedestrians alike in some areas along the Balboa Blvd. section.

    In the end, this path with these flaws in mind, is still a great place to ride and beats riding bike lanes paralleling cars who’s drivers are playing with their cell phones rather than paying attention to you on the bike and the road they navigate!

  17. J

    Is this a good path for a beginner-ish longboarder?

  18. Larry Rosenberg

    As many here have said, heavy duty tubes and Slime injections into them will largely prevent flats round here. Any bike store should be able to do this set up. I’ve been riding in and around this park for 16 years on an almost daily basis and I’ve had very few flats – not to say I’ve never had one, but I have gone literally years without a flat.

  19. Cary Scheck

    The path is dangerously broken up for a road bike and completely full of runners, walkers, dog walkers and children (of all ages) who can’t read “Bike Path” all over it. There’s even at least one sign that says “Pedestrians prohibited with people walking right past.”

    There is a running path about 10 feet away that’s almost deserted most of the time yet people insist on walking 3 and 4 wide on the bike path.

    Much safer to play in traffic then attempting to ride a bike on the bike path.


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