As part of our exploration of the San Gabriel River, we asked our readers to submit their stories and memories of the river and its surrounding areas. These first hand accounts will help us tell the story of the 61-mile thread of nature that stretches from the Angeles National Forest in Azusa, all the way down to its mouth in Seal Beach in Orange County.
You can help shape our narrative by sharing your stories, like the ones seen below, that tell your personal experiences in the area, provide insight, or define "the best" of the San Gabriel River. We'd love to hear from you!
Now let's hear what the community has to say:
Kerry Chicoine says:
"A few years ago a friend and I -- on a lark -- decided to go fly fishing on the San Gabriel River just north of Azusa. Most of us fly fishermen usually went much higher in the range to more remote creeks, so we didn't have much hope for this lower stretch so close to the city.
Turns out we discovered an amazing resource -- wild trout, possibly of steelhead origin. We kept a solitary fish (out of many caught and released) and sent a fin clipping to a friend who worked for the Department of Fish and Game. They, too, surmised we might have "discovered" a remnant steelhead population.
The crux of the story is this river -- here above Azuza, graffiti-strewn and crawling with party people all summer long -- is indeed wild and capable of hosting what appears to be a thriving ecosystem. Some of the fish we caught there were in the 18-inch range, which is spectacularly huge compared to most fish in the smaller watersheds of the San Gabriels."
Wesley Reutimann says:
"The San Gabriel River provides a wonderful backdrop to some of the most scenic and safe bicycling in Los Angeles County. A separated bike path traverses almost its entirety from the dams of San Gabriel Canyon to Seal/Long Beach. As a young teen, just completing the ride from El Monte to the beach was a challenge and adventure in of itself. Twenty years later the path provides a welcome respite to our congested, and too often dangerous, city streets. It also provides access to the head of the canyon and Highway 39, the gateway to famously challenging climbs to the high points of the rivers watershed, such as the roads to Cogswell Dam, Crystal Lake, and Glendora Ridge Road. Rides along these roads are among my, and friends of mine, most cherished memories."
Bill Meredith says:
"That was my relaxation. To fish the west fork of the San Gabriel River. I did not have to walk far from the bridge and parking lot. I would finish work early, go home get my fishing gear, go to the river and be home with some nice trout for dinner. Thank you for telling the wonderful story of a great little river."
Dennis Pruitt says:
"When I was a teenager back in the late '70s we used to go cliff diving at a spot just up the road from the Canyon Inn. It was a real thrill because you couldn't see the river from the top of "CZ" rock, you had to run a few steps and leap out and away from the rock, only to see the water once you were airborn. It was better than any thrill ride at any amusement park."
"When I was a nine year old Girl Scout we camped in tents by the San Gabriel River. We swam in beautiful clear water and it was icy cold in June. Snakes swam with us but we learned they weren't poisonous because of the rhyme: red and yellow, kill a fellow, red and black, your friend Jack."