Los Angeles River Trail


9 Reviews

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Los Angeles River Trail Facts

States: California
Counties: Los Angeles
Length: 38.28 miles
Trail end points: Owensmouth Ave. (Canoga Park) and 401 Golden Shore (Long Beach)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Concrete, Dirt
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 6539282

Los Angeles River Trail Description


The Los Angeles River Trail—also known as the Los Angeles River Bike Path, Los Angeles River Bikeway, Los Angeles River Greenway Trail, and Lario Trail—is open in several disconnected segments along its namesake waterway in Los Angeles County. Channelized for nearly the entirety of its run through the highly urbanized area, the adjacent river is the subject of sizeable plans to restore the original habitat and open it to recreational use.

A majority of the route is made up of two longer trail segments, one in Glendale and the other which travels from Downtown Los Angeles to Long Beach. The route is planned to stretch continuously between Canoga Ranch and Long Beach for over 50 miles, but right now, the northern section is made up of several discontinuous segments.

About the Route

The absolute western end of the route leaves off from Owensmouth Avenue. From here, the trail travels along both sides of the river until reaching Mason Ave. The trail along the southern bank of the river continues here until reaching Vanalden Ave. 

Trail users will encounter another section of trail in Beilenson Park/Lake Balboa Park, where the route here, encircles both sides of the canal on a dirt surface between Balboa Blvd and Burbank Blvd. Within the park, the trail is not channelized, and the surrounding greenery of the park provides a nice respite from the urban character of the rest of the trail.

Nearby, two short sections of trail carry trail users between Sepulveda Blvd. and Cedros Ave. between Sepulveda Blvd. and Kester Ave., the trail travels along the south bank and between Kester Ave. and Cedros Ave., the route crosses along the northern bank. The latter section is also called Ernie's Walk, named after Ernie La Mere, a local resident who led one of the very first revitalization efforts of the LA River. This section features river rock walls (with seats) and native plantings lining the river channel.

Another section of trail in Sherman Oaks runs between Fulton Ave. and Radford Ave. This section is also sometimes referred to as the Valleyheart Greenway, named after the road that travels alongside the trail. A section here along the northern bank is also called the Village Gardener's Path, in honor of the Village Gardeners who sponsored the river bank.

At Riverside Dr. on the border of Glendale and Los Angeles, trail users will encounter the northern of the two longer trail sections. Wedged between the river and Interstate 5 for most of its journey, this section of trail isn't particularly scenic. (This can be frustrating when you consider famous Griffith Park is just on the other side of the freeway but completely inaccessible from the trail). Here a brief section of the trail also traverses the northern route between Riverside Dr. and Confluence Park.

Several new parks along the trail's route—all recently opened as part of the rehabilitation of the river and its immediate surroundings—do provide a pleasant diversion from the otherwise urban landscape. Sunnynook River Park offers a larger space to view native plants and trees, while Rattlesnake Park, Marsh Park, Elysian Valley Gateway Park (a particularly good spot to view the range of birds that call the area home) and Egret Park are smaller places to relax before you resume your trip.

After a significant gap near downtown Los Angeles, the longer southern trail segment leaves off from its northern endpoint in almost exclusively industrial Vernon, the smallest incorporated city in California. Like the northern portion, the trail continues south along the western side of the channelized river, but it soon crosses to the eastern side via the Imperial Highway's bridge.

Continuing south through a variety of natural and industrial landscapes, the Los Angeles River Trail ultimately ends with the river at the Pacific Ocean in Long Beach, where it connects to the city's extensive waterfront trail network. The southern trail section also links to several parks along the way, including the sprawling Hollydale Park in South Gate, scenic Ralph C. Dills Park in Paramount and pleasant DeForest Park in Long Beach.


In Canoga Park and Encino, the LA River Trail crosses the Orange Line Bike Path twice.

In the South Gate neighborhood, the trail connects to the Rio Hondo River Trail.



Parking and Trail Access

Parking is available at:

  • Lake Balboa/Anthony C. Beilensen Park, 6300 Balboa Blvd (Van Nuys)
  • 5101 N Zoo Dr (Los Angeles)
  • Hollydale Regional Park, 5400 Monroe Ave. (South Gate)

The entire trail is metro-accessible, please see LACMTA for more information.

There are numerous parking options along the route, please see TrailLink Map for all parking options and detailed directions.

Los Angeles River Trail Reviews

South Portion of Trail

On 06NOV2022 I chose to attempt a 7(ish) mile run along the LA river starting at the trail's terminus in Long Beach. The run took me from Golden Shore up to about Willow. Nearly as soon as the trail turns north from the trailhead the nature of this trail becomes apparent - This is not a safe trail for pedestrians. There are multiple campers, addicts, feces (human and otherwise), and piles of garbage all along the trail. It is an absolute human rights atrocity. Some of the campers have built decent sites off of the trail but most have built castles of garbage and some have built literal fortresses out of the riprap that is used along the river wall. Some of the people along that route were friendly enough and said hello as I passed. Others were not welcoming and a couple were down right threatening including one that tried to block my path and stop my run. This brings up perhaps the most dangerous part - there is no way to escape the trail should trouble happen. There is a high chainlink fence that runs between trail access. If a person finds themselves being chased or assaulted they cannot get away. This portion of this trail needs to be avoided if on foot. There were a lot of cyclists and perhaps this is an option if you are moving quickly, but even then this should only be attempted if part of a large group.

This trail has the potential to be awesome, but the current issues make it downright intimidating and dangerous.

Review of the North portion only

I ride it quite often, by often I mean almost every sunday morning year round...
But I ride the north portion only and not all the way for a combination of reasons.
First reason is, because of the river and the freeway, the path is pretty much a wind tunnel, so you waste a lot of energy when you have crosswind or front wind just fighting the wind.
Second reason is the fact the only shades you have on most of the path are from the bridges you cross, otherwise prepare to be frying specially between June and August.
Third reason are the homeless, I never had problems with them, but probably because Sunday mornings are relatively busy so they stay put, some are not even there by the time, but I wonder if that's the same on different hours with less traffic.
So what do I do them? First I stay on Riverside and ride the Zoo Drive all the way to the Crystal Spring Dr. until I reach the Los Feliz Blvd. and that's where I join the path, yes you have to share the road with some cars trying to reach the I-5, but if you use the crossing paths on traffic light and pay attention it's all good.
From there I ride to the end of the Greentrail (Near the Dodger Stadium) and return... On my way back I always stop by the Spokes Cafe around Atwater Village area. It's a nice cafe/bike shop focused on cyclists, not the cheapest place to stop by, but the food is high quality and the environment and staff are really nice and is a great place to meet other cyclists (before the pandemic was even better to share experiences and talk about cycling and making friends).
People that drive to the path, can park by the Griffith Park or another suggestion I would give if you wanna add some miles to your ride (specially if you have a EV this tip is golden cause that's what I sometimes do when I have to charge my car), park at Burbank Town Center (so you can leave your car on one of the chargers or superchargers for tesla owners) and ride from there through the bike lanes on San Fernando Blvd. to Riverside Dr. bike lane and them join the Bike Path or do as I do going thru the Griffith Park on Zoo Dr.

Nice Ride Along the LA River

This bike trail is a great ride, however, as of the date of this review, parts of it are under construction and closed. It's best to catch this trail at the south end near the San Fernando/Figueroa intersection as it will give you the best ride before hitting a trail closure at Colorado Blvd. You will not be able to ride all the way through to Griffith Park. The northern Griffith Park leg of the trail is open, but much of it detoured away from the LA river as this part of the trail is officially closed (but accessible from a broken chainlink fence).

The trail has it's fair share of homeless folks scattered about, but they are harmless. There are some cafes along the southern end of the trail that caters to the people both riding bikes and walking the trail.

Great trail

I have ridden the northern part of the trail (San Fernando Bl to the LA Zoo) for a couple years. This is a great ride. There is one homeless encampment towards Los Feliz. I have never felt threatened by anybody. Nor have I ever seen drugs exchanged. These are just poor souls trying to get by.


bike ride from Compton to Belmont Shores

I recently purchased a rode bike and have made afew trips from my home in Compton to Belmont Shores round trip, there are homeless people at several locations along the trail. Be very careful where you stop and rest. I will try the trail going north soon and report back. Travel with some friends to be safe.

Dangerous trail

I visited Long Beach this year and took a bike ride up this trail from Long Beach. I no more than got on the trail and was harassed by people on the trail. I'll assume they were homeless. They yelled at me to never come back there again. I ran into a Marine Policeman and told him and he just said to just ride along the beach area of Long Beach that those people have a right to be there also. He said he can chase them away or I could press charges. Another person that was riding there said one of the people actually grabbed and stole a water bottle from their bike as they rode by.

Not Anymore

This bike path is great plenty of stops even locations for food drinks repairs along the route stop off at frog stop.

Nice trail but can be better

Took the kids first time on the trail starting at the Los Feliz Golf area. Parked and had to walk bikes up the entrance hill, on sidewalk and into entrance. I like the paved bike trail and riding along a river is nice, but up until you have a lot of homeless people along path in the bushes, in the river islands and lots of pee smells. It makes me feel uneasy to see drugees trading drugs right on the path. I don't think I'll use this los Feliz entrance again. We'll have to find a safer more comfortable way to enter and enjoy. Dont ride path alone. It can be intimidating. Or ride fast past the homeless and the tweeker section.


I did this trail a few years ago and it is a very nice ride. I rode my bike over from Burbank and did the round trip and it was a very good work out. I was some what taken back that no one has done a review as the trail gets a lot of traffic.

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