A Guide To Biking Along the LA River

bike header A Guide To Biking Along the LA River

Riders head into the sunrise (credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Believe it or not, Los Angeles has a river running through it, and on top of that, much of the river is flanked by bike paths, allowing LA cyclists a safe place to ride, far from the cars that dominate the landscape here.There are numerous bike-culture organizations and groups of River enthusiasts who’ve made it their goal to bring more Angelenos to the river to experience it and help protect it. Here is a list, from north to south, of places along the river where you can take your family to enjoy some outdoor exercise together and take in the sights of your own city.

griffith A Guide To Biking Along the LA River

Griffith Park (credit: City of Los Angeles Recreation & Parks)

Griffith Park

The bike path along the Los Angeles River begins in Griffith park at Riverside Drive in Burbank, and there is an on-and-off opening near the Autry National Center. The Autry is a great spot to visit before or after your ride since it offers activities for families and there’s a café for having a meal afterwards as well.

Griffith Park
4730 Crystal Springs Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90027
More Info

The Autry National Center
4700 Western Heritage Way
Los Angeles, CA 90027-1462
(323) 667-2000
More Info

tam A Guide To Biking Along the LA River

Tam O'Shanter Restaurant (credit: lawrys.com)

Loz Feliz Blvd.

There is an on-and-off point at Los Feliz Blvd, and nearby restaurants include Giamela’s, India Sweets and Spices, or if you’re in the mood for a fancier meal, there’s the Tam O’Shanter.

Giamela’s Submarine Sandwiches
3178 Los Feliz Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90039
(323) 661-9444

India Sweets and Spices
3126 Los Feliz Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90039

Tam O’Shanter
2890 Los Feliz Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90039
(323) 664-0228
More Info

Fletcher Drive to Figueroa

Although the River bike path had connected from Fletcher Drive to Figueroa for some time, until recently, you actually had to get off the bike path, cross Fletcher and then get back on. But no more – not since the path under the bridge there has been completed. Now you can bike continuously from Griffith Park to a point on the East side of Elysian Park. Just across the River from the LA River Center.

rivergarden A Guide To Biking Along the LA River

River Garden Park (credit: lamountains.com)

LA River Center

The LA River Center and Gardens is wonderful place to visit, at the confluence of the 5 and 110 freeways – with an exhibit detailing the history of the River and plans for its restoration. And even though you can’t actually get to it from the River bike path, you can certainly get there on a bike by riding a short distance on the street, once you exit the path at Figueroa. The River Center encourages bike visits by providing a Bike Staging area, complete with a repair station, tire pump and drinking fountain.

Los Angeles River Center and Gardens
570 West Avenue Twenty-Six
Los Angeles, CA 90065
(323) 221-8900
More Info

maywoodpark A Guide To Biking Along the LA River

Maywood Park (credit: lamountains.com)

Maywood Riverfront Park

The bike path stops in downtown LA and picks up again in the City of Maywood, where the lovely Riverfront Park has an on-off gate and is a great place for picnics.
Maywood Riverfront Park
60th Street and Walker Avenue
Maywood, CA 90270
(323) 562-5020
More Info

Paramount’s Ralph C. Dills Park

In the City of Paramount, the Ralph C. Dills Park is a great place to stop along the river, since it’s got a nature trail and much of the park has been recently renovated.

Ralph C. Dills Park
6500 San Juan Street
Paramount, CA 90723
(562) 220-2121
More Info

West Valley – Coming Soon

The City broke ground on this new, 2.2-mile stretch of LA River bike path, running from Vanalden to Corbin, in March of 2011, and although there is funding in place, the construction timetable remains unclear. Stay tuned!

ballona A Guide To Biking Along the LA River

Ballona Creek Bike Path (credit: ballonacreek.org)

Detour: Ballona Creek

On the Westside, the Ballona Creek veers off from the LA River and heads to the ocean through Culver City and Marina del Rey, with bike paths along much of it. There are beautifully sculptured gates at access points along the path, as well as pocket parks, benches and bike racks, and you can find out more about the area on LACreekFreak. Once you get to the beach, there are loads of places to eat and hang out, including the ever-popular and family-friendly, C&O Trattoria.

C & O Trattoria
31 Washington Blvd.
Marina del Rey, CA 90292
(310) 823-9491
More Info

Bonus: LA River Ride

When it comes to riding along the River, probably no one knows more about it than JJ Hoffman, Director of the Los Angeles River Ride, an annual event, held each June, and organized by the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, whose goal is to help make Los Angeles a great place for year-round cycling. The River Ride is actually six rides in one, and ranges from the Century, which is a 100-mile ride from Griffith Park to Long Beach and back, to the Family Ride, which is 15 miles on dedicated bike paths along a scenic natural stretch of the river. Plus the ride is free for kids 12 and under.

paddle la river A Guide To Biking Along the LA River

(credit: paddlethelariver.org)

Extra Bonus: Paddling The LA River

The LA Conservation Corps (LACC), along with partners such as Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA), The River Project, Los Angeles River Expeditions, Friends of the Los Angeles River and Urban Semillas, launched Paddle The LA River in 2011, to bring attention to the state of the LA River, and to show just how navigable by kayak or canoe it still is. Tickets for 2012’s Paddle sold out in the first two days, so if you want a chance to see the LA River in a whole new way next time around, be sure to bookmark their website and stay tuned.

Paddle the LA River
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Sarah Auerswald is a mother of 2 boys and the co-Founder and CEO of MomsLA, a Community of the Top Mom Bloggers in Los Angeles.
  • Greg

    I ride there. From Riverside and Figueroa to the end on Riverside in Burbank. It sucks that they don’t turn on the lights at night. There’s a bunch of hoodlums hanging around smoking weed and sometimes blocking the path as to try to your bike. It’s not safe after the sun goes down. I usually have a knife and my gf carries her pepper spray.

    • Karen

      In 2005, I was assaulted in broad daylight near the Baum Bridge over Los Feliz by two hoodlums. I had my cell phone and called the police. My location was difficult for them to find but eventually they did. After that, from time to time, I’ve seen police on the path and have not had any issues since. Thank you Glendale police!

  • Rick Risemberg

    Since when can’t you ride to the River Center? I ride to or past it all the time as I pedal about the city doing my business. The streets have plenty of room for cyclists in that area–and plenty of cyclists.

    As far as crime goes, the bikepaths are more dangerous than the streets after midnight, but as the city adds llighting (in progress) and more people start to use them, that will change.

    Really, though: I’m nearly sixty and have been pedaling the streets of LA since I was fourteen with basically no problems. It’s really not that hard.

  • Kim Tracy Prince

    I prefer daytime riding anyway, but those are good caveats.

  • Pep

    Thanks Greg and Karen for your stories. A few days a week I ride to work in Burbank, getting on at Riverside/Glendale Blvd in Silverlake and never have had any problem on the trail. The only souls I’ve seen lurking there are the homeless but I’ve always got my guard up, and for good reason apparently. Like the other posters have noted, the use of the lighting there is inconsistent. Maybe budget cuts are to blame. One day last year, someone shot out every single light along the trail along the 5/134 transition and it took quite awhile for them to be replaced.

  • bob

    Great information, where can i get a map of the bike trails along the San Gabriel river?

  • la-g

    Sadly, the Ballona wetlands section is also a crime magnet. I’ve read (on another blog) of a cyclist being beaten and left for something like 8 hours on the path as well as other instances where hoodlums will throw a trashed bike at lone cyclists to dismount and rob them. The city closed most of the entrances to the path in an effort to curb neighborhood complaints, but that just seemed to create a gauntlet of sorts for the hoodlums. I’d say the path is alright up until the Stoner ave./Inglewood area. I think there is a public housing project there. You can’t miss it, trust me.

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