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9 Great Parks Along the L.A. River

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With the recent announcement of the closure of 70 state parks in California, more than ever we need to protect the parks of our city, from the tiny pocket parks scattered beneath the freeways to our crown jewel Griffith Park.

And what better way to support the parks than to use them?

Here is a list of 9 of our favorite parks located along the L.A. River. For a more comprehensive list check out the Parks section of our Field Guides.


1. Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area - A gorgeous, spacious area in Encino, with multiple parks, ample facilities, bike paths and one of the few soft-bottom sections of the River, which contrasts with the man-made, concrete bottom of Lake Balboa.

2. Johnny Carson Park - With lush greenery and rocky landscape, this park provides a breath of fresh air while taking a break from visiting the Burbank NBC studios right next door.

3. Rattlesnake Park - Step through the beautiful Great Heron Gates and begin your adventure through Elysian Valley. Don't forget to visit the many pocket parks that line this stretch of the river.

4. Rio de Los Angeles State Park - This 17+ acre park in Cypress Park opened in 2007, offering open space, soccer fields, restrooms, and a natural habitat hiking path. It also offers great trainspotting opportunities (see pic above). We held a successful StoryShare event here last April--hear the stories here.

5. Peck Road Park - This park, located along the Rio Hondo tributary in Arcadia, boasts fishing, walking and biking with an amazing view of the lake. The nearby northern extension of the LaRio Bike Path runs along the northwestern edge of the park.

Whittier Narrows Dam County Recreational Area
- Located in the City of El Monte, this 1,492 acre facility fronts the Rio Hondo tributary and is one of LA County's largest and most popular recreational areas. It features a range of activities, including BMX biking, riding along equestrian trails, rifle ranges, and fishing in Legg Lake.

John Anson Ford Park
- This park in Bell Gardens has a golf course, playground, restrooms, baseball and soccer fields, basketball courts and a swimming pool. Across the river are the open spaces of the Rio Hondo Country Club.

Hollydale Park
- Near the confluence of the L.A. River and the Rio Hondo, this riverside park in South Gate has soccer fields, a three-mile cross country course, picnic areas, horse training facilities and more. Here is not a bad place to begin your bike ride along the river to the Pacific.

9. Shoreline Aquatic Park - This idyllic park looks out on Long Beach harbor, right next to the end of the L.A. River. A lighthouse sits on a grassy knoll where meandering paths offer great vistas of the marina and surrounding area.

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