Donald and Bernice Watson Recreation Trail


6 Reviews

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Donald and Bernice Watson Recreation Trail Facts

States: California
Counties: Los Angeles
Length: 1.6 miles
Trail end points: Royal Oaks Park at Royal Oaks Dr. & Vineyard Dr. and Buena Vista St., south of Orange Ave.
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Dirt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6015238

Donald and Bernice Watson Recreation Trail Description

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.

Parking and Trail Access

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. 

Donald and Bernice Watson Recreation Trail Reviews

Nice trail

It’s a nice shady trail. A little bit rough for skating. There are lots of bumps and cracks in the asphalt. It’s great for walking or riding a bike.

royal oaks trail

It was nice and shady, took the bike and dogs ¿

good short quiet trail

It’s been great!

One of my favorite trails

This is definitely one of my favorite trails. It’s well maintained, safe and easy to park.


Quick, clean, and easy!

That's how I describe the trail. Plenty of shade along the path, and very well maintained. This will be my go to trail for a quick ride, and a picnic afterward!


"Found parking in one of three ROYAL OAKS PARK parking lots a block east of the trail head at N34.14395 W117.94702.. Started the trail at N34.14397 W117.94712 elev 558’, Westward slightly up grade, good asphalt surface with brick paving at cross streets. Has some open views of the foothills and San Gabriel Mountains. Well equipped with water fountains on South side of trail. Goes through a cut in the hill under Oak Ave elev 602’ and ends at 1.75 miles in a decline at the West end N34.14344 W117.97749 elev 565’. Many walkers using trail this morning of 5 Mar 07. "

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