TRAILBEAR GOES BRUTALIST : The Coyote Creek Trail
11.6.2010, Cerritios, CA
TrailBear finally rode the Coyote Creek Trail today. It’s the One That Don’t Get No Respect.
His reaction: Hey, it’s not a bad ride at all. Rather nice, in fact.
It is a classic SoCal river ride, said river being a concrete channel in the Brutalist tradition. You can ride both banks and make a loop to the park. Ride = B.
All pure lines, stark and open. It rather grows on you. No messy trees or brush to get between you and the creek – which is over there in that center channel (for now). Come the rains, it will be bank to bank rushing water. Notice the bolts on the banks below each bridge for swift water rescue gear.
The upper trail above Cerritos Regional Park is freshly paved and striped with 5’ lanes. The trail below the park sure could use paving, but, despite that, not a rough ride. Pavement scores ranges from C- to A.
Traillink has only a map with endpoints (and the north one off location), TB’s spring photos of the bottom end and no facilities survey. The survey was easy. There are no facilities on the trail with the exception of the fine Cerritos Regional Park – which is the only park seen along the trail. You can find restrooms, water and parking here. Once outside the park gate, you are roughing it. Facilities (outside the park): F.
If Der Bear Ran the Universe, there would be benches at the trail bridges. Where the side creeks come in there are large aprons – great places for a bench or two. There is not a bench the entire length of the trail. You can see why the riders are over on the San Gabriel, where there is a necklace of parks the entire length.
However, TB did not have the trail to himself. There was a constant stream of riders going up and down. The bikies may not talk about it or photograph it, but they do ride it.
@@@ RIDE PLANNING – WINDS
Consider the sea breeze in planning your ride. It is usually calm or light in the morning and builds in the afternoon, blowing down the coast and up the creek. A Cunning Plan would be to stage out of Cerritos Park or somewhere up the creek and ride to the beach in the morning, then come back upstream with the wind behind you in the afternoon. Fast roadies can be on the trail early and be up and down before the wind builds at all.
TB knows this from doing the downstream bit early on, then back to Cerritos Park and upstream. He arrived at the trail end in Santa Fe Springs as the breeze was on the make. It was making 10-15 knots – whole trees in motion. Not a fun ride back. Grinding into the wind knocked a few knots off the average speed.
CERRITOS REGIONAL PARK, GE: N33.85127 W118.05482
Check it out on Google Earth. The Wife pronounced it “a nice park.” There are soccer fields, ball diamonds, a swim center and tennis center. You want to park at the tennis center adjacent to the trail entrance: Restrooms, parking, water and Asians playing tennis. The demographic here is Asian. Head over to the trail gate at the bottom of Shoemaker Ave. Here it turns to 195th St. – which was recommended by a local roadie as the way to get over to the San Gabriel River Trail at Liberty Park.
Out the gate, past the handsome trail monument, pause to admire the fresh blacktop, then turn right and head downstream 1.44 miles to…
THE LINCOLN/CARSON CROSSING, GE: N33.83152 W118.06297
Here the trail changes sides of the creek. No signs announce this. They just locked the gate beyond the bridge and trust you to take the hint. Take the hint and the ramp to Carson/ Lincoln, head down to the cross walk, over and back across the bridge. It’s a rather nice bridge and the period lampposts are very attractive. You pick up the trail on the east bank, but now the pavement is old and cracked. In .56 miles you reach …
THE BRIDGE TO NOWHERE, GE: N33.82359 W118.06489
What was this all about? The bridge is gated off. The old sign says “Bike Rest Area” and you were to ride over to find it. On the far bank is an elementary school and Lee Ware (pocket) Park. Perhaps that e was also the rest area once upon a time. But why close it off? It’s not like the trail has so many facilities that one less will not be noticed. Whatever. Your next stop is a confluence where…
CARBON CREEK ENTERS AT LOS ALAMITOS HIGH SCHOOL, GE: N33.81513 W118.07080
Here is a logical rest stop where the Carbon runs into the Coyote and there is a large apron just waiting for a bench or picnic table. Take a break and watch the riders go by. Carbon Creek runs about six miles across Cypress then goes underground. There is a paved service road along it. Make a nice bike trail? There is a whole network of gated-off flood control channels that could become bike trails with a little investment. Saddle up and head down this one to…
TRAIL END AT THE SAN GABRIEL BRIDGE, GE: N33.79505 W118.08896
This is the end of the trail. Coyote Creek runs into the river here. It was 5.10 miles down from Cerritos Park to here. At the TrailBear’s comfortable pace, that was 35 minutes riding time. The downs and ups were 91’ and 86’ – all those underpasses. You could just keep on going beyond the bridge on the San Gabriel River Trail. In about 4+ miles you would be at the ocean.
On a sunny Saturday you will see a lot of riders coming up the SGRT. Most riders turn at the bridge, but enough head up Coyote Creek. The CCT at this end, with the old pavement and no signage whatsoever looks a bit shabby. However, up past the Carson Bridge it becomes an attractive ride. North Coyote Creek and the industries of Santa Fe Springs remain to explore, so forget the beach, kick it about and ride the east bank to see where it goes. Yes, you can do a loop here with a bit of work.
LOOPING BACK ON THE EAST SIDE…
Head back upstream. When you reach the Carson Bridge, just keep on going on the east side. In 0.2 miles you are crossing Moody Creek with Forest Lawn (one of them) just over the fence. In 0.8 miles you reach…
THE RR BRIDGE LESS TRAVELED BY, GE: N33.84527 W118.05842
This bridge is just below Cerritos Park. Take a look at the unused Right of Way. This is one of the old Pacific Electric RR lines from Days Gone By. It runs 19 miles from the LA River down to the Sana Ana River. Metro controls it now and has penguin dreams of light rail. We had over a thousand miles of light rail here a century ago. What killed it was increasing car traffic. What has changed since then? More traffic?
Ride on a bit to Del Amo and discover the Horrid Truth. The trail is gated just beyond there. Time to get back across the river. You can walk over the bridge or back up and try the RR bridge. TB naturally went for the historic RR bridge. It is not decked and not gated.
He walked the bike on the cat walk while he walked on the open ties. On the far side they still have the rails laid down. The next thrill was getting across the highway. No cross walk here, nor did he expect any California driver to stop for a pedestrian not in a cross walk. Find a hole and make a frenzied dash.
A time out to resupply at the van by the tennis courts, then back on that nice blacktop and off to explore the Brutalist flood channel design of upper Coyote Creek. Notice that here they have mile stations stenciled across the trail at 0.25 intervals. That works. Head upstream 1.8 miles to the confluence of…
NORTH COYOTE CREEK & LA MIRADA CREEK, GE: N33.86676 W118.03483
Here you begin the North Coyote Creek Trail with mile stations reset to 0.0 and a new name on the pavement. Here you begin to ride through the industrial Santa Fe Springs. It has a charm of its own: the broad clean channel, the mountains ahead in the distance, the grey and white warehouses lining the banks, the fine pavement gently curing into the distance. Ride on.
Ride on under the Southern Pacific RR Bridge. Ride on past Norm Thompson’s RV Super Store. Ride on under the I-5 freeway, past the Santa Fe Springs Swap Meet. Ride on beneath the AT&SF RR Bridge. Ride on until you can’t ride any more. Yes, the ride has ended at …
THE TRAIL END AT FOSTER ST., GE: N33.90966 W118.04090
Here is the northern end of the North Coyote Creek Trail. Across Foster the gates are locked shut. There is no trailhead here, but there is a sign. From Cerritos Regional Park it is about 5 miles to here. That growing sea breeze which made the ride up so nice is now a head wind and the ride back will be a grind. Before heading back, check this out…
FRONTIER PARK, LA MIRADA, GE: N33.91059 W118.03702
Just a block east on Foster, hidden behind that warehouse is Foster Park at 13212 Marquardt Avenue. There is parking, trees, a tot lot and a community building, probably holding restrooms and water. TB discovered it back home when he was working up the ride data. It looks like it will serve nicely as a trailhead on the upper end of the ride. Perhaps even a full service trailhead (parking, restrooms, and water).
TRAILHEADS ON THE SOUTH END…
Your choices down where the CCT meets the SGRT are limited. There is El Dorado Regional Park, just up the SGRT. That is a fee park, so you will never find the TrailBear there. Backtrack a mile up the creek and you find a bridge leading into Oak Academy Park and running past Oak Middle School. There is parking there and on the streets in the ‘hood beyond.
TB staged out of Liberty Park, Cerritos, on one ride down. Liberty makes a fine trailhead. Roadies could make a triangle ride from Cerritos Regional Park down to the SGRT, up the SGRT to Liberty Park and then across town on 195 St. back to CPR. Roadies can also work out how to connect the top of the Coyote Creek Trail to the Whittier Greenway and that to the SGRT for a larger loop ride.
Bucking a head wind back.