The Duarte Recreational Trail is made up of paved and parallel dirt trails. Located in Southern California's San Gabriel Valley, Duarte is named for Andres Duarte, a Mexican soldier who was granted the land in the 1840s while the area was still in Mexican ownership. Connecting a park, a school and a hospital, the trail is a wonderful example of a recreation path, transportation corridor and safe route to school in the small city. The trail hosts a wide array of users, including walkers, bikers, inline skaters and even some horseback riders on the dirt path.
You'll want to start out at the eastern trailhead, at Royal Oaks Park, because there is ample parking here. The park offers many facilities for young and old, including basketball and tennis courts, short walking paths and playground equipment. On the right are dramatic views of the San Gabriel Mountains and Angeles National Forest. As it leaves Royal Oaks Park, the trail is a well-maintained asphalt pathway. Soon you pass a school that sits back to the right, where children at play provide pleasant background noise.
Not far beyond the school is one of the jewels of the trail, a large bridge that provides access over the trail to a connecting neighborhood. A profusion of wildflowers in spring spreads across this picturesque spot. If you take the few minutes to walk to the top of the bridge, you will be rewarded with an exceptional view of wildflowers and the trail. A few benches and water fountains line the trail.
To reach the eastern trailhead from Interstate 605 (the San Gabriel River Freeway), travel north to just past I-210, where I-605 becomes Mt. Olive Drive. Follow Mt. Olive Drive about 0.25 mile and turn right on Royal Oaks Drive. Follow Royal Oaks Drive for 0.5 mile; Royal Oaks Park, which has parking, will be on the left.
To reach the western trailhead from I-605, travel north to just past I-210, where I-605 becomes Mt. Olive Drive. Follow Mt. Olive Drive about 0.25 mile and turn left on Royal Oaks Drive. Follow Royal Oaks Drive for 1.25 miles. The trailhead is on the right at the corner of Royal Oaks Drive and Buena Vista Street. On-street parking is available nearby.