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A Guide To Biking Along the LA River

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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 Park
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 O'Shanter
Tam O'Shanter Restaurant (credit:

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.

River Garden
River Garden Park (credit:

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

Maywood Park
Maywood Park (credit:

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 Creek
Ballona Creek Bike Path (credit:

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.


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.
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