In Elysian Valley, from Fletcher Drive and through to the Arroyo Seco Confluence, one can enjoy some of the most scenic and natural views the Los Angeles River. Known as the Glendale Narrows, the river bed was never fully cemented over by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers due to the presence of natural, underground springs. Water stored in underground sediments in the basin of the San Fernando Valley bubbles up to the surface, creating a year-long flow of fresh water. Thus, this part of the river features a “soft-bottom,” allowing it to support native vegetation and wildlife. Its formerly thriving, but now sparse, population of western toads earned Elysian Valley the moniker, Frogtown.
A visit to Elysian Valley will reveal historic bridges, bikeways, hiking paths, an abundance of small parks, public art installations, as well as a large state park. The Rio de Los Angeles state park reflects one of the greatest achievements in the collaborative effort to revitalize the river. The park is the former site of Taylor Yard, a freight car maintenance facility, and now is a multi-use park that contains a children’s playground, a recreation center, sports facilities, hiking and wildlife. Thanks to the efforts of community residents and activists, government officials, artists and environmentalists, we have a diverse collection of ways to enjoy the river in Elysian Valley.