San Gabriel River Parks and Trails
Preservation of open space
The third and final section of the Lakewood Nature Trail along the west side of the San Gabriel River opened on Saturday, April 11, 2014. The half-mile addition runs from Candlewood Street south to Del Amo Boulevard, where it meets up with the existing one-mile trail that extends south to Carson Street.
Lakewood residents gathered with Lakewood City Council Members on Saturday for a first walk of the trail. Above, Mayor Jeff Wood and residents officially cut the ribbon opening the trail. The trail will be open every day from sunrise to sunset. A trail brochure and map can be found here.
"Our trail has flora and fauna that you would have seen in abundance in our region 100 years ago," said Mayor Wood on opening day, "but many have been pushed out by non-native species or loss of habitat in the years since. We've reintroduced them now on the trail and given residents the chance to see a little bit of what Lakewood and our region used to look like....and what we can still look like, when we take the time and effort to do so."
“Our Nature Trail is enjoyed regularly by hundreds of Lakewood residents who relax--walking or jogging--through its native habitat,” said Wood. “As I hope you’ll experience yourself as you walk the trail, getting into a natural setting like this can be very relaxing and very inspiring—and it’s a wonderful thing to have close by in your own neighborhood and community.
“The City of Lakewood didn’t do all of this on our own. We had a lot of partners, and we got a lot of help. On behalf of the Lakewood City Council and really our entire community, I want to thank the State of California Natural Resources Agency, Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe, the Rivers and Mountains Conservancy, and the Los Angeles County Open Space District.”
More about the trail . . .
- Monte Verde Park and the S. Mark Taper Vista Lodge
- West San Gabriel River Parkway Nature Trail
- Rynerson Park
- Lakewood Equestrian Center
- Over 2.5 Miles of accessible nature Trails (round trip)
- Native California plants
- Link to SG River Bike Trail
- Nature education opportunities
- Nature habitat
- Brochure: The Nature Trail
- Bike Paths Los Angeles article on Lower San Gabriel River Trail from Lakewood to the ocean
- "San Gabriel River trail"
Web profile of bike trail is by Dan Slater
Over 82 acres of open space and unique recreational provide opportunities for all who visit the facilities along the San Gabriel River in Lakewood.
The river is now completely bounded by parks, walking paths, and bike trails. Facilities include the Lakewood Equestrian Center, the rustic, 3,000-square-foot S. Mark Taper Foundation Vista Lodge at Monte Verde Park and Rynerson Park. The parks anchor the trail.
Discover the West San Gabriel River Parkway Nature Trail, the rustic facilities, loop trail at Monte Verde Park and the wide open space of Rynerson Park in its vast fitness trail. The area features numerous trees, shrubs and wildflowers that provide habitats for various birds and small mammals.
It also provides a passive natural experience for the enjoyment and enrichment of the community. The completion of this phase enhances public access and linkages to the river and its bike trails for thousands of individuals, giving them another choice of open space and trails for fun and relaxation in an urban setting.
In 2007, Lakewood celebrated the beginning of this multi-phase project to enhance the San Gabriel River as it passes through Lakewood. “What were once just power line rights-of-way along the banks of the San Gabriel River are now beautiful open spaces landscaped with California native trees and shrubs and greened with hardy perennials,” notes Recreation and Community Services Director Lisa Litzinger.
Various phases have added 2.5 acres of landscaped open space beginning at Del Amo Boulevard along with a .5-mile trail connect added to connect to the leg near Monte Verde Park. Both segments offer walkers and joggers 2 miles of trails (round trip) to enjoy.
Walk the trail from one of three different entry points:
- Enter at Carson Street on the south end of the development
- Enter on Del Amo Blvd. at the north end of the development
- Park at Monte Verde Park, 4626 N. Shadeway and enter at this trailhead.
Open from dawn to dusk.
Habitat Along the River
The beautification and use of native trees, plants and grasses benefit nature by promoting opportunities for wildlife use.
From the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains along 56 miles to the Ocean, the river is a pathway for a multitude of birds searching for fish and other food along the way. Watch and you’ll see birds stopping to sip at the water and rest a while. Sparrow hawks, herons, and egrets with their long, beautiful necks can be seen. Ospreys create a nesting site and other animals such as squirrels and barn owls have been sighted. Butterflies and a multitude of other insects reside in the native environment.
The project is consistent with the regional plan prepared by the California Resources Agency, San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy and Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, called “Common Ground from the Mountains to the Sea,” dated October 2001. This plan is a watershed and open space plan that provides guidance and direction for the future restoration, preservation and development.
1967 – Monte Verde Park is built on the west side of the San Gabriel River, providing Lakewood residents a fully enclosed park for recreation opportunities including overnight camping experiences.
1973 – Lakewood purchased a strip of property located on the east side of the San Gabriel River.
Eucalyptus trees and a variety of plant material beautiﬁed this unsightly land, which was named River Park.
1975 – Lakewood purchased the 7.5 acre Lakewood Stables, now known as the Lakewood Equestrian Center.
1990 – Lakewood expanded River Park and developed the additional acreage on the east side of the river. The completion of Rynerson Park and the city-owned Lakewood Equestrian Center brought a variety of unique outdoor recreation experiences to area residents.
2001 – Monte Verde Park was renovated adding a 3,000-square-foot Vista Lodge, improving the plant material consisting of several ecosystems representing elements of native California landscape and added a 1/4 mile nature trail.
2003 – West San Gabriel River Parkway Nature Trail provides 17 acres of trails and open space for passive activity. The beautifying of this greenway further completes the connection of open space along the river. Funding for this project was provided by the State of California, State Resources Agency.
2007 – The West San Gabriel River Parkway Nature Trail extension provides an additional 2.5 acres of trails and open space along the river and connects with the original trail at the south end of Monte Verde Park. Funding for this project was provided by the State of California, State Resources Agency.
Trailhead location at Monte Verde Park
West San Gabriel River Parkway and Nature Trail
4626 N. Shadeway Road
Greening The River
The entire project features numerous trees, shrubs and wildflowers that provide habitats for various birds and small mammals. It also provides a nature experience for the enjoyment and enrichment of the community.
“The completion of this phase enhances public access and linkages to the river and its bike trails for thousands of individuals, giving them another choice of open space and trails for fun and relaxation in an otherwise urban setting,” adds Litzinger.
Nature On Display
It benefits nature by promoting opportunities for wildlife use. From the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains along 56 miles to the ocean, the river is a pathway for a multitude of birds searching for fish and other food along the way. Bird sightings are common as they stop to sip at the water and rest.
Sparrow hawks, herons, and egrets with their long, beautiful necks can be seen. Ospreys create nesting sites and other animals such as squirrels and barn owls have been sighted. Butterflies and a multitude of other insects reside in the native environment.
- Plant Listing
A mixed palette of native trees, drought tolerant shrubs and grasses can be found along the trail. Some of these include:
- California Laurel
- California Sycamore
- Blue Elderberry
- Valley Oak
- Western Redbud
- Butterfly Bush
- California Coastal Sage
- Buck Wheat
- Matilija Poppy
- Butterfly Weed
- Creeping Mahonia
- Dwarf Rosemary