Anza Trail Blog

Anza Trail Walk in the Southland

by Hale Sargent, Anza Trail Interpretive Specialist

Tagged as:   California , Historic Sites , Los Angeles County , Recreation Trail , hiking

Anza Recreation Trail in East Los Angeles County

Hike the Anza Trail through the Whittier Narrows to Old Mission San Gabriel

In sprawling East Los Angeles County, nature, history, and outdoor recreation converge on the Anza Trail. On this level 4.5 mile walk/ride (round trip), the Anza Trail overlaps with the San Gabriel River Trail, Rio Hondo Trail, and city sidewalks.

 

Begin at Whittier Narrows Nature Center

Park at the Whittier Narrows Nature Center (1000 N Durfee Ave., S. El Monte, CA 91733, 626-575-5523). The exhibits in the nature center and its facilities, including bathrooms, are open Tuesday through Sunday, 9AM - 5PM.

The Whittier Narrows Natural Area Park and Nature Center sits in a low flood basin along the west bank of the San Gabriel River. The high water table and rich soil support a 400-acre sanctuary of riparian and coastal sage scrub plants, amphibians, reptiles, and more than 300 bird species, including the protected White-tailed Kite.

From the Nature Center parking lot, a 1/4-mile connector trail brings you to an artistic gate. Beyond the gate, turn right onto the San Gabriel River Trail.

 

San Gabriel River Trail

The 38-mile San Gabriel River Trail connects the San Gabriel Mountains in the north and the ocean to the south. You will enter the trail onto its highly trafficked bicycle trail along the river channel. But shortly, follow a fork to the right to a worn, multi-use trail that follows a narrow canal.

After approximately 1.4 miles, turn right onto the Siphon Road Trail. Stay on this 0.75 miles as the trail merges with Durfee Avenue and stops at Rosemead Blvd. El Bosque del Rio Hondo lies on the opposite corner.

 

El Bosque del Rio Hondo

The Bosque del Rio Hondo Natural Area provides one of the last remaining natural segments of the Rio Hondo. The Rio Hondo is a seasonal tributary of the Los Angeles River, powerful during times of excessive rain. Until it was put in concrete channels in the 1950s, the meandering river offered extensive areas to farm, swim, ride horses, and play.

The area surrounding the Bosque del Rio Hondo is rich in history. The Tongva built their homes from willow branches that grew along the river. Their settlement attracted the Spanish to site the original San Gabriel Mission in its fertile surroundings.

 

Original Mission Site

Leaving El Bosque del Rio Hondo, continue along San Gabriel Blvd one block to the intersection with Lincoln Ave. A tablet marks the site of Old Mission San Gabriel, established September 1771 and later relocated due to flooding of the Rio Hondo.

The Anza Expedition approached this site January 3, 1776, when, Father Font wrote, "Having learned that the mission of San Gabriel had been moved to the place where it had its fields, somewhat closer to the Sierra Nevada than formerly, halfway on the journey we left the old road...opening a new road, directed the march to the new site."

Images


Whittier Narrows Nature Center
The Whittier Narrows Natural Area Park and Nature Center sits in a low flood basin along the west bank of the San Gabriel River. The high water table and rich soil support a 400-acre sanctuary of riparian and coastal sage scrub plants, amphibians, reptiles, and more than 300 bird species, including the protected White-tailed Kite.

Connector Trail to San Gabriel River
From the Nature Center parking lot, a 1/4-mile connector trail brings you to an artistic gate. Beyond the gate, turn right onto the San Gabriel River Trail.

The San Gabriel River Trail
The 38-mile San Gabriel River Trail connects the San Gabriel Mountains in the north and the ocean to the south. You will enter the trail onto its highly trafficked bicycle trail along the river channel. But shortly, follow a fork to the right to a worn, multi-use trail that follows a narrow canal.

Bosque del Rio Hondo
The Bosque del Rio Hondo Natural Area provides one of the last remaining natural segments of the Rio Hondo. The Rio Hondo is a seasonal tributary of the Los Angeles River, powerful during times of excessive rain. Until it was put in concrete channels in the 1950s, the meandering river offered extensive areas to farm, swim, ride horses, and play.

Site of Old Mission San Gabriel
Leaving El Bosque del Rio Hondo, continue along San Gabriel Blvd one block to the intersection with Lincoln Ave. A tablet marks the site of Old Mission San Gabriel, established September 1771 and later relocated due to flooding of the Rio Hondo.

Anza Recreation Trail in East Los Angeles County
In sprawling East Los Angeles County, nature, history, and outdoor recreation converge on the Anza Trail. On this level 4.5 mile walk/ride (round trip), the Anza Trail overlaps with the San Gabriel River Trail, Rio Hondo Trail, and city sidewalks.

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