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Located in Southern California's San Gabriel Valley, the Donald and Bernice Watson Recreation Trail (previously known as the Duarte Recreational Trail) is made up of paved and parallel dirt trails. 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, 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.
Operating in Southern California's San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys, the Foothill Transit provides access to the trail. Vineyard Ave and Royal Oaks Dr is the closest bus stop. Visit the Foothill Transit website to plan your trip.
The eastern trailhead starts by Royal Oaks Park (2627 Royal Oaks Dr.), which has parking, restrooms, sports fields. The western trailhead is on the right at the corner of Royal Oaks Drive and Buena Vista Street. On-street parking is available nearby.
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