I have been trying to go biking at least once every weekend. Venice Beach is the best experience so far, but parking is expensive ($14 on the weekend in the summer!). Today I tried the bike path the runs along the L.A. River. I started from the John Ferraro Athletic Field located near the L.A. Zoo. Going north on the 5 freeway, get off at Zoo Drive, but instead of turning right to go to the zoo, turn left. There is a free parking lot right across from the gate to the bike path.
The Los Angeles river is a concrete flood control channel for its entire length, at least the part you can see from the bike path. However, water is flowing in the middle of the channel, and there are willows and other water-loving plants in and around the water. There are lots of waterbirds too–ducks, cranes, herons, swans, and many others. I have heard that much of the water in the river is recycled waste water, but this doesn’t seem to bother the birds. Here is a picture:
I headed south toward Atwater Village. For the most part the path is flat and in good condition. At one point it goes up a bridge over a road, and there are a couple of places it goes under roads. For most of the way the river is on one side and the freeway on the other. The river is pleasant, the freeway not so much. There is noise, and car exhaust, but even so, I enjoyed the ride. Here are some pictures from near the southern end of the path:
Note the power lines, which are above the path most of the way.
There were numerous other bikers, although the path was not crowded. I got there about 10:00 am. I think that it would have been better earlier. Not a bad ride at all. It’s cheaper and more convenient than Venice Beach or Santa Monica. I’ll probably try it again, but I will try Puddingstone Reservoir first.