Long Beach Bikeway 65: San Gabriel River Trail
2010-05-04 · By Peter Dopulos
I ride Long Beach Bikeway Route 65 often, usually as part of loop that takes me down Long Beach Bikeway 7 (LA River), along Bikeway 2 (the beach path), up Bikeway 65 and then return home on Bikeway Route 56.
However, no matter how you might end up on Bikeway 65, this is an excellent, bikes only, path. In general, this route gets lots of wind, especially later in the day, so if you plan on heading downstream try to get going as early as possible.
Starting at the bottom of the San Gabriel River, and heading upstream, this bike path is well marked and reasonably well maintained. The path is narrower than Bikeway Route 7 which on the weekends can make for some tight passing situations especially when hardcore club cyclists and casual family riders are sharing the path. Also, expect walkers, joggers and bird watchers.
Until the bike path for Route 65 passes under the 405 bridge, the river is a more natural looking environment, as opposed to a true flood control channel. While biking along this length I have seen a vast array of water fowl including Blue Herons, Snowy White Egrets, Osprey, ducks and even the occasional Canadian Geese. Also, keep an open eye towards the waterway itself as I have seen sea lions, jumping fish and, amazingly, sea turtles. Apparently there is a colony of these giants that make their home here in the shallower, warmer waters along the San Gabriel River Trail. On one occasion I spotted a full grown specimen, 5 feet long and weighing hundreds of pounds.
Just past the freeway bridge the river becomes a typical flood control channel with a shallow stream of water flowing through the middle. It’s also just about here that you’ll need to cross over the bridge if you wish to continue to travel along Bikeway 65 as the river forks here. Continuing on will take you into Los Alamitos and Norwalk beyond. Take note that the bridge seems to be the home of a hive of bees so as you turn onto the bridge, keep your mouth close and pass through quickly.
About a mile and half from the bridge, Bikeway 65 passes through El Dorado Regional Park. Here the bike path becomes very narrow and bumpy as it passes under Spring Street and riders must exercise extreme caution due to the combination of pedestrians and cyclists. To further complicate matters, be aware that after rainstorms this low section of the bike path often silts up with enough sand to make steering treacherous. There is a similar situation about half a mile north as the trail passes under Wardlow (Long beach Bikeway 54).
Long Beach Bikeway Route 65 officially ends at Carson and the city line. Of course the San Gabriel River trail continues on as it heads inland. I have ridden it as far north as Pico Rivera as part of a three-river loop where I shoot over to the Rio Hondo River Trail and ride that south until I run into the LA River and eventually back into the City of Long Beach and Bikeway 7.
Bikeway: Route 65
Streets Traveled: San Gabriel River Trail
Official Mileage: 6.4 miles
Landmarks: Seal Beach, Alamitos Bay, El Dorado Regional Park, Long Beach Town Center
Long Beach Bikeway Route 2 (Beach Trail)
Long Beach Bikeway Route 1 (PCH)
Long Beach Bikeway Route 54 (Wardlow)
Long Beach Bikeway Route 60 (Carson)