Upper San Gabriel River Trails

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River Emerging from the Wilderness

Upper San Gabriel
Long and challenging, especially along with the rest of the San Gabriel Trail.

This is the upper third of the San Gabriel River, where it first emerges from the Angeles National Forest (which is where the West Fork of the San Gabriel is, but that’s way further north than this). The northernmost end of the trail  The northernmost portion of this bike path recently had a mile or so added, reaching to a new housing trace. South of that is the well-developed recreation area around the Santa Fe Dam. Here you’ll find picnic areas, sports fields, and all the facilities you’d expect. (Parking is $6.)

Thos. Guide pp 568, 597, 598, 637.

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This is the upper third of the San Gabriel River, where it first emerges from the Angeles National Forest (which is where the West Fork of the San Gabriel is, but that’s way further north than this). The northernmost end of the trail The northernmost portion of this bike path recently had a mile or so added, reaching to a new housing trace. South of that is the well-developed recreation area around the Santa Fe Dam. Here you’ll find picnic areas, sports fields, and all the facilities you’d expect. (Parking is $6.)

Duarte Historical Museum
Above: Sand, scrub, and desolate beauty. And watch out for flash floods.

Left: The charming little Historical Museum, just off the bike path, in Duarte. (See Duarte Bike Trail.)


Below the park area is the Santa Fe Dam itself; a high, wide, bike highway. Negotiate a few turns down the south face of the dam, and then follow the river (and the 605
Fwy) downstream about 6 miles to the even better developed Whittier Narrows Dam Recreation Area. (See Legg Lake.)
Above: top of the dam. Right: Looking down from the top of the Santa Fe Dam, southward toward Whittier. (See Mid San Gabriel Trail.)

There is a nice lake, with snow covered mountains in the distance.

The San Gabriel Recreation Area Park may not be lush and jungly enough for some tastes, but it does have quite a few serene and lovely spots to relax. The ducks seem to enjoy it.

A nature walk, and relics of bygone days add a bit of interest to what basically seems to be old abandoned property.

  • Be sure to check out Dan Slater’s stunning photos of the San Gabriel River Trail, Upper and Lower, on his Southern California Bicycle Paths web site.
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