Bike Paths

Los Angeles River

From Griffith Park to Elysian Park
(and almost there now!)

L A River – Griffith Park
There may be hope for L. A. cyclists yet,
if the city can tie this path to the new downtown parkland.

The first 3.2 miles, from Riverside Dr. (at Victory) down as far as Los Feliz Blvd., had been opened to the public for quite a few years. The next mile and a half, as far as Fletcher Drive, opened in 2000. The Los Feliz overpass was finally completed, and lighting is now installed all the way.

This bike trail could grow into a fabulous Los Angeles River Project some day with parkland hugging the west bank of the river from above the Sepulveda Basin all the way downtown, and – who knows – maybe one day all the way to Long Beach. That’s what they tell us, anyway.

Access is at each end, and above the golf course. You can ride the river trail in one direction, then make a loop by going back through Griffith Park, along Crystal Springs Rd.

Thomas Guide, pp. 564, 594.

Click for Los Angeles, California Forecast

Although the path isn’t maintained below Fletcher Drive, the cyclist does
encounter the striking Heron Gates, welcoming one and all to Rattlesnake Park.

Heron Gates - So. End of Path
Water Garden Or Whatever
There’s evidence of a community of sorts along the river bed. Someone has set up this unusual water garden (between Glendale and Fletcher).

L A River
Some Viewers’ Comments:

»» While this route is not exceedingly scenic, it is interesting with its gentle twists and turns in places connected by wide open stretches. There are mild elevation changes. There have been complaints about the exhaust fumes and dust from the adjacent freeways. These complaints are largely exaggerated. There is a steady up river breeze that dissipates exhaust fumes and dust is seldom any problem at all. The steady up river wind surprisingly results in uphill runs well faster than downhill runs.


»» I’ve ridden the LA River path and am very disappointed in it, particularly its location. Riding into the face of oncoming freeway traffic is not my idea of a good time. The exhaust fumes coming off the freeway are horrible. Couldn’t this path have been placed on the Eastside of the river? (perhaps not) There is already a parallel route through Griffith Park that is much more enjoyable and far less auto traffic and exhaust fumes.

»»The path is clean and well lit. Bike, blader, runner and walker traffic is steady but never congested. You can park on Victory near the entrance to the path or at the little park with a co-ed port-a-potty on Giffith Park Drive (Warning: The park closes at dark). — Peter Wright

Southernmost End, at Fletcher Drive
The section of the L.A. River east of Fletcher is paved, but very rough in spots; drainage channels across path sometimes containing effluents from the industrial businesses which back up to the river, and severe bumps due to tree roots pushing up the pavement. The LACBC (Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition) has rides along this path each year and paints markings to point out and guide around these spots. Despite these hazards, I enjoy riding this path and do so frequently.

»» I ride the LA River path by Griffith Park 3 times a  week.  If you look at the river instead of the freeway, it is a pretty nice ride.  I like birds and I have seen herons, egrets, red-hawk eagles, ducks, kingfishers, shore-birds, and many others.  It is a nice smooth ride.  I think it’s great for LA. – Frances


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48 comments to Los Angeles River

  • Leonard Sklut

    When will the extension from Fletcher to Figueroa re-open again?
    It was open back in June but closed shortly thereafter.

  • Carol Ybarra

    I’m happy that this place exists but it’s too dark in the evening. I’m not sure why the lights were not on if they have solar panels attached to them. Time change perhaps? I jogged on the bike path (while my husband rode his bike) on the stretch between the 5 fwy & Colorado Blvd. exit. It’s not so bad in areas with little brush because of the light emitted from the NB traffic on the 5 fwy. It’s creepy in areas with denser vegetation, though. I’m trying to work-out with my husband during the week after work but I’ll save this option for the weekend when we can do it during the day. Regardless, I’m happy this bike path exists. We need more like them in L.A!

  • Dave Spaizman

    I was riding this path on November 15th 2010 and passed through the area where the gate had been removed only moments earlier. This is BIG NEWS!! The Los Angeles River Bike Path is now open and clear all the way from Riverside (Victory) through to N. Figueroa and Riverside where the Golden State Freeway (5) and the Pasadena Freeway (110) intersect. I like to start in the Valley going toward downtown using the Orange Line Busway Bike Path/Chandler Bikeway to Victory Blvd. at the beginning of the L.A. River Bike Path. Next Stop Downtown, finally. I enjoy the L.A. River Bike Path because it cuts through neigborhoods where the streets are rougher and the traffic is dense. This path is not perfect but what is?

  • I am pleased to announce the Ribbon cutting ceremonies on this part of the path will take place on Dec. 4th. Please join members of the LACBC who will gather at the Autry Center at 8:30am to ride down to the ceremonies at Crystal Street. At the ceremony, riders and pedestrians alike will take the path together.

    The LACBC have been advocating for this path for years. In 2006, at their annual event the Los Angeles River Ride, each participant signed a postcard asking the Mayor to repave this portion of the path. That’s 1500 postcards sent to the Mayor on the same day!

    We are very pleased that it is finally here.

    http://www.la-bike.org

  • K.Jury

    It appears that the new section is no more than a overpriced footpath with all the signs directing cyclists to yield to Peds. After one day of officially opening the Bike Path Bike Signs have been painted out. In fact there are more dogs running free than pedestrians. What a major disappointment after waiting so long, I don’t think Ill bother using it and take my life in my hands and stick to the road, theres less graffiti as well.

  • Eric

    Have to agree with Carol on this one. Rode last night from Fletcher to Riverside around 7pm. Maybe 10% of the lights were on. I rode by no less than a half dozen homeless people and at least one John/hooker combination. I mean, this is a large city. It seems to me that in large cities, when you build a park or green space that will be accessible by night, you LIGHT it. Simple as that. But then, this IS Los Angeles. At any rate, I’m glad the extension is open (though I didn’t ride it last night), but can we get some damn lights turned on?

  • Joe Ossmann

    Rode it today for the first time. It was clean, and well-maintained except for the few tree root bumps. Lots of birds in the river. It’s great to have a facility like this in this dense urban area. Of course bikes have to yield to pedestrians, though it would be nice to have signs reminding pedestrians to keep to the side. It would also be nice to have a sign at the northern end, informing users that it’s the end of the trail, and telling them where in the world they are.

  • Jerry Roskilly

    I ride the river trail on my lunch break once or twice a week. In combination with the Zoo Dr/Griffith Park Dr loop which has a testy 6% 250 foot climb really makes a great weekday training ride. The close proximity to the freeway traffic along the river trail is a bummer but the segment that feels like your adjecent to the cars is fairly short.

  • My husband and I have ridden this path twice, and really enjoyed it. The numerous birds are wonderful to see in the middle of this metropolis. We ride on weekends and so far haven’t been bothered by the pedestrians. We will definitely ride this one again.

    • J.R.

      Can anyone give an update on the lighting situation? Rode it a few months back early in the morning before sunrise to work in dtla and it wasnt safe to do so don’t plan on doing it again without lighting.

      • Jeanine

        I rode at 9PM. The path has lighting from Fletcher all the way to the southern most part, where the 5 and 110 meet. North of Fletcher, there are lights but they are not on and it’s pretty dark.

  • cajeta

    I had a great time riding from Atwater to the end at Riverside this sunday afternoon. It was fast too. Found a great little park and a skate park too. What’s the best way to connect to the arroyo bike path from here?

  • Dan

    Does anyone know where the southern entrance is to this bike path? I live right near the glendale blvd / fletcher ave intersection, and I was looking yesterday but couldn’t find the entrance.

    Would appreciate the help!

    • Tom

      The entrance in that area is on Crystal St off Fletcher. Going NE on Fletcher from Riverside Dr., Crystal St. is the signal light right after the freeway underpass.

  • Bok

    I really enjoyed the wildlife!!!

  • Steve Devol

    Rode the path Saturday night May 14, 2011 to find that all the lighting north of Los Feliz Boulevard is not working! Had to right in the dark passing light standard after light standard, one as dark as the other. Very disappointing since the city made a big deal out of its Lighting Demonstration Project there. Trying to figure out who to report this to… the councilmember of the area or public works (busy taking bribes, I’m sure) or some other agency.

  • sergesret

    FWIW, I’ve heard the problems with the non-operational lighting is due to theft of the wires by copper thieves.

  • Scott

    There is a sign near the Victory/Riverside entrance that flips up or down saying that the path is either closed due to inclement weather OR that the path is closed from 10pm to 5:30am. I’d like to use the path to get to work in dtla prior to 5:30am and when I drove by the other day at 4:30am it looked like it was wide open. Does anyone know anything about this? Thanks all.

  • Markus

    I was there yesterday, Scott. Didn’t see that sign and don’t know much about it.

  • Craig

    How can anyone enjoy riding next to a freeway, with all the noise, wind, and exhaust?

  • Wren

    Really! What is the deal with the lights. Brand new and not working. I almost hit 2 kids last night who were oblivious to my bike lights. The trail is a hazard at night and if they are not going to light it they should close it.

  • Leigh

    Rode this morning. Very light traffic, but noticed that a few riders riding in groups don’t go to single file when approaching a rider from the opposite direction. Normally not an issue in the wide spots, but in the narrow areas, especially with pedestrians, this can be a problem. Almost had an accident with three bicyclists and a pedestrian in a narrow spot this morning. If you ride in groups, remember, single file when another rider is approaching. Saw lots of herons and egrets this morning. Can’t wait to get out there again!

  • Matt

    I’m not sure why the map isn’t updated, but the path actually extends much further south, nearly to the 5/110 interchange. “Road crews” have been out recently fixing up some of the path damage and the lights now appear to all be operational. Great path–we’re lucky to have it.

  • Teal

    Rode this path today. It’s one of my regular rides, however I haven’t ridden it for nearly two months because I was out of town. I noticed what looked like new light posts. I never really noticed them before and last year I clearly remember riding at night and there were no lights on at all. Does anyone know if they just installed new lights or not?

  • Richard

    Where is the starting point of the route southern side ?
    Live close to Daly/Broadway

  • SKO

    Hit the path for the first time today! The path is very nice and seems well maintained compared to some of the other paths in the area. It does run extremely close to the highway, but I agree with what others have said… with the breeze the air doesn’t seem too bad.

  • PapyRoy

    Hello fellow cyclists.

    I have been out of town for about 6 years and for the first time since I rode this path from Riverside Drive passing Fletcher to where it connects to Riverside Drive at the other end. It was around mid day. I saw several other cyclists including a small group. The path seems to be in good condition except a few small patches where tree roots appear to be lifting the pavement. In all cases someone has painted red circles around these areas. I had forgotten about the upstream breeze but did definitely enjoy the assist on the return leg. I hope that this path can be continued soon.

  • Denise and John

    Finally back after 4yrs. What a great ride. We really enjoyed the new extension and appreciate how great it looks. We will be out there more often.

  • David

    How do you find the path? “Access is at each end” isn’t much help! Especially for an out of towner. I found Elysian Park but did not see any signs for the path.

  • James H. Tuggle

    Rode the entire route from. Los feliz to where it ends next to Riverside dr. Can anyone explain why it stops there and does not connect with union station, Chinatown or downtown, not to mention connei cting with the path to long beacht seems like a no brainer to me.

  • woc

    Just in case anyone is still looking, the wikipedia entry has pretty good directions about where the ends are. You can also see it on google maps if you put on the bike routes layer. Happy bike week! :)

  • WGM

    This bike path is a treasure however IT NEEDS TO BE EXTENDED SOUTHWARD INTO DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES! Hopefully someone who can do something about this is reading this post.

  • BMAN

    I enjoy the wildlife. Decent Trail but….I was looking for one and could not find a Red-Hawk Eagle. What is a Red-Hawk Eagle??

  • Mandy

    Hi! New to LA and wondering where I can park my car to access this path at either end? Is parking in the Elysian Park area safe? Thank you!

  • Elan

    Mandy, you can park at Blake & Oros at one end or along Zoo drive at the other end.

  • Michael

    Can some assit me, where is all the entrance to this bike path. I live in DownTown L.A. and been riding in the street with my partner but he is alway scared of riding in the streets. This is a great bike path and would love to try it out.

    • Linda

      Not sure you found the entrance, but, if you go north on the 5 frwy, exit Western going West, you get to Victory Bl. go South. You’ll see a park on both sides the the road. Find a parking spot and to the left (You’ll probably see a lot of people on bikes), well that’s where you enter. Good luck.

  • Mandy

    Thank you very much!

  • Matt

    Since the time change, I’ve been riding this path after dark. The lights are now on on the entire northern section, from Fletcher to the end at Victory. It doesn’t appear to be lighted at all south of Fletcher even though there are light poles all along the path.

  • Matt

    I’ve noticed several comments on here asking where to park to access this path. I’ve found the best place is at the Ferraro Soccer Field parking lot on Zoo Drive. It’s free parking with restrooms and drinking fountains and it’s adjacent to an entrance to the path. Here’s a google maps link: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=34.155367,-118.281717&ll=34.155371

  • Dana

    Thanks Matt~ Your post is VERY helpful !

  • runner

    Hello… I am a distance runner and am looking for new areas to run 10-20 miles. If I start at Victory/Griffith Park and run south on the bike trail, how many miles can I run on the trail itself before I have to turn around? This would be during daylight hours, so I am not worried about lighting.

    Also, can anyone comment on whether the path is shady in the early (7am) morning hours? Thanks everyone!

  • stuart mills

    had several FLATS on the river path due to many thorns, put in a tire liner and didn’t have anymore problems

  • Keith

    I occasionally ride the entire length of this trail from just outside of Downtown LA to Burbank. It’s always well maintained, I’ve never gotten a flat there. South of Fletcher, you have to share the path with skaters and pedestrians, but it’s never been a problem for me, and it’s nice to see this path creating a sense of community for the surrounding Elysian Valley area. The part next to the freeway is no big deal…someone in an earlier post wrote that the breeze dissipates any exhaust fumes, that’s probably true as I’ve never noticed any fumes and for a portion of the trail you are right up against the freeway. I believe even the tree roots that used to push up the pavement have been dealt with. Whoever is in charge of this trail is doing it right!

  • Steven Scouten

    When will the path be finished and ready to use from Corbin to Canoga Ave?

Ridden this path lately?

 

 

 

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