San Gabriel River Bike Trail
A Short Guide to the San Gabriel River Bike Trail
The San Gabriel River Bike Trail is a 29-mile bicycle path along the San Gabriel River into El Dorado Regional Park along the south side of the San Gabriel River in Los Angeles County and on to street bike paths along the north side of the San Gabriel River in Whittier Narrows Park in El Dorado. The western section starts near Whittier and ends near Seal Beach. The southern section starts near San Pedro and goes on to San Gabriel. The trail is one of the longest biking paths in Southern California. There are also other biking trails in the area, including the San Gabriel River Greenway Trail, the Mount McAllister State Park bike path and the San Gabriel River Greenway Trail.
The San Gabriel river bike trail also connects several state parks, namely: San Diego National Reef National Seaway, San Diego Zoo's Sea World, the Windansea State Park, the Crystal Springs State Wildlife Preserve, and the Gunnery Creek State recreation area. A playground for children called the "Zoo Barn" is on the south side of the trail. It is located at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains. Other facilities on the trail include fire towers, picnic tables, restrooms, water storage tanks, and electric cable TV viewers.
Accessing the trail, which is about a mile long, from the parking lot of the El Dorado State Recreation Center is free. Another option is to hike the trail on your own. Hikers can choose to climb to the top of the San Gabriel Mountains or to traverse the trail on their bicycles. Hikers may choose to camp at the trail's southern end, on the flood plain just below the trail or in a tent at the nearby picnic area. This is the most popular option among out hikers.
The trail begins at the Lakewood Ranch State Park. It crosses the san Gabriel river by following the wooden boardwalk as it meanders along the trail until it comes to a two-mile stretch of wooded bike path where one-way traffic is allowed. Crosses for pedestrians are placed near intersections. The trail then makes an easy downhill trek and returns to the Lakewood Trail. The trail continues to follow Lakewood Road, passing under the painted pedestrian bridge over Fenton Dam Road and two-mile stretch of the San Gabriel River Bluffs Trail.
About one-third of the way down the trail, you will come upon a structure known as the starting point. This is an observation platform that gives you a great view of the whole surrounding area. Proceed further and cross another wooden boardwalk. It leads you to the second location of the two-mile long lakewood trail. Here, you will see the first-hand evidence of the massive tree growing in the area. To your left, a concession stand offers different refreshments, such as fresh water, coffee, and locally made ice cream.
Further on, the trail starts to make a climb toward the first-come-first-served picnic area. At this point, there are also restrooms and a ranger station. The route then makes an easy downhill trek and another ascent to the long beach. Finally, at your right, you will see a sign for the long beach seal beach parking lot. Across this small but important difference, is the beginning of the beautiful Bear River State Park.
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