Bosque Del Rio Hondo
This 1.4 mile walk takes you into the Bosque Del Rio Hondo Park (Spanish for "forest of the deep river"), a 5-acre park within the 277-acre Whittier Narrows Recreation Area, a lush and wild natural area with excellent bird-watching in the riparian wetlands. The original San Gabriel Mission was established here in 1771; in 1775, after a flood and fire, the mission was relocated to its present location, above the floodplain, in today's city of San Gabriel. In recent years, the area has been known as Marrano Beach, an unofficial local hangout.
Like other areas behind flood-protection dams, the site features an un-concreted, relatively natural streambed. In addition to the Rio Hondo, which flows year round, the site also features seasonal creeks: Mission Creek and Butterfly Creek. It is plentiful with critters, including herons, coots, ducks, hawks, turkey vultures, rabbits, turtles, frogs, and even (harmless) gopher snakes.
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Bosque Del Rio Hondo Park, 9300 San Gabriel Blvd., Rosemead
This is one of the most natural areas on the river. As such, the site lends itself more to exploration than to the linear walk format. Explore and enjoy the nooks and crannies of this park, even though what follows is a relatively linear walk.
There are a few official trails and many easy-to-find unofficial ones. Some years, high waters or downed trees make previous trails un-navigable, and new trails appear. There are many horse trails (suitable for walking) on the west side of the Rio Hondo, accessible by going south on the bike path and walking west across the San Gabriel Blvd. Bridge, then descending the dirt path on your right.
For the suggested walk, leave the parking area and head west on the trail that parallels San Gabriel Blvd. Cross Mission Creek on the small wooden footbridge. Cross the paved Lario Bike Trail and look out over the sandy bank of Marrano Beach, a popular area for picnicking and just hanging out.
Backtrack to the bike path. Turn left (north) and walk upstream on the bike path with the Rio Hondo on your left. After walking about 1 mile, cross below the 60 Freeway. The path turns to the right. Turn left (north) it the T-intersection. At nearly 2 miles, the Rio Hondo becomes channelized, and the surroundings are much less green and inviting. Turn back and retrace your steps.
On your return, you can walk along a trail that parallels Mission Creek. Approximately a half mile south of the 60 Freeway, the bike path veers right, with an unpaved trail/access road continuing straight ahead (recognizable because of a line of utility poles on the right). Walk straight onto the trail. Turn left to cross Mission Creek, and then follow the trail/road as it turns right. Keep right, and the trail takes you back to where you started. Turn left to return to the parking lot.
Directions to the Start
Bike: The walk start is easily accessed from the Lario Bike Trail, which runs through the Bosque Del Bio Park. At San Gabriel Blvd., the Lario becomes on-street bike lanes connecting the upstream path on the east bank with the downstream path on the west bank. The entrance to the Bosque Del Rio Park is just east of the upstream bikeway, on the north side of San Gabriel Blvd.
Transit Take Metro Bus 266 (Rosemead Blvd.) to San Gabriel Blvd. and Durfee Ave. and walk half a block west.
Car: Exit the 60 Freeway at Rosemead Blvd. in Rosemead/South El Monte and go south on Rosemead Blvd. At the first intersection, turn right on Sail Gabriel Blvd. The park entrance is on your right. There is a $3 requested fee for parking in the lot.