44…The Los Angeles River

The Los Angeles River is an unfortunate river.  It is 48-miles of paved river through LA County, that dumps into the ocean in Long Beach.

Years ago the river was an alluvial river that flooded the city repeatedly until in 1938 the Army Corps of Engineers encased the river in concrete.  There are few places where the river is not fully concrete, it has a natural bottom at the Sepulveda Dam, Glendale Narrows and the last few miles of Long Beach.  These areas flourish when there is a bounty water.

Until a few years ago, no one was permitted to go near the river.  There has been a bike path along the river for quite some time.  In the 90’s I road my bike the 25-miles from Whittier Narrows to Long Beach and the 25-mile return.

I walked part of the river path every Saturday morning with my little running/walking group.  One morning there was a saxophone player standing in one of the drainage tunnels, just playing away.  Only in LA.


A few years ago the Friends of the Los Angeles River (FOLAR) – started an effort to re-claim the river for the residents of Los Angeles.  In 2013, FOLAR along with LA River Kayak Safari began hosting kayak rides in the summer, this was the first time residents were allowed in the river for recreation.   The program and FOLAR has been very successful – the kayak trips have continued along with fishing expeditions.

Check out the FOLAR website for exciting events and activities to enjoy along LA’s historic river.55


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