The Los Angeles River empties into the Pacific Ocean at the Port of Long Beach. This walk features the new Cesar Chavez Park and the Golden Shore Marine Reserve—a restored tidal wetland area. Cesar Chavez Park serves the population-dense communities on the west side of downtown Long Beach. Its bathroom and community center buildings echo the craftsman style common to historic homes in the adjacent neighborhood. The walk follows the riprap embankments of the river, where it becomes very tidal. The area features good bird-watching and cool ocean breezes.
View Walk - River’s Mouth in a larger map
Cesar Chavez Park, 401 Golden Ave. in Long Beach
Walk north on Golden. At the north end of the park, across from the Long Beach History mural by Art Mortimer, turn left onto West Sixth Street. Turn right onto San Francisco Ave. and cross under the Sixth Street off-ramp. Follow San Francisco as it turns to the right. Make a U-tum sharply to the left onto the extension of Seventh Street and descend into the tunnel below the 710 Freeway.
Ascend and enter the river right-of-way via the bikeway on-ramp. You are now on the Lario Bike Trail, which is shared by bicyclists and pedestrians. Look out over the wide, riprapped mouth of the Los Angeles River, which is nearly entirely tidal in this estuary area. Pelicans and seagulls are common here.
Turn left on the bike path and walk downstream. Note the native shrubs planted on the outside of the levee walls (on your left) as part of the Los Angeles County Drainage Area project in the late 1990s. These attract various birds, including golden finches.
On your right, during dry-weather months, you can observe a trash boom, designed to prevent floating trash from making its way to Long Beach's beaches. During wet weather, the boom will break and wash out to sea, so it is used only during dry weather. With its largely urbanized watershed, the Los Angeles River delivers tons of trash onto our beaches.
Help prevent this by reducing your use of disposables, putting trash in its place, picking up trash in your neighborhood, and volunteering at FoLAR's annual La Gran Limpieza -the Great LA River Cleanup, held at multiple sites each May.
Continue walking downstream. The bike trail turns left at the Golden Shore Marine Reserve, which was established in the late 1990s as mitigation for wetlands destroyed by development of the nearby Rainbow Harbor. The site is set aside for wildlife; humans and dogs should keep out of the lowland portions of the site. The wetlands are home to various shorebirds. View them by turning left and walking along the perimeter of the site.
From the eastern end of the site, looking across the river, you see the historic Queen Mary, sometimes called "the toothpick in the mouth of the LA River." The historic Queen Mary was launched in 1934 and crossed the Atlantic more that a thousand times before coming to rest in Long Beach in 1967.
Turn around here and retrace your steps, walking on the bike path back to Chavez Park. If you're up for a longer walk, continue along the Long Beach Shoreline Bike Path. The path weaves through the Catalina Cruises terminal and along Shoreline Park as the estuary debouches into Long Beach Harbor. You can visit the Aquarium of the Pacific or get a bite to eat a bit farther on at Shoreline Village.
Directions to Start
Bike: The walk begins near the downstream end of the Lario Bike Trail, which runs on the east bank of the LA River from the Rio Hondo to the ocean (from South Gate to Long Beach). To reach the walk starting point, exit the trail just south of where it crosses under the 710 Freeway (at approximately Seventh Street) in downtown Long Beach. Take the unnamed access road, which crosses under the 710 Freeway. At the top of the access road, make a sharp right U-tum and continue on the road, turning left where it becomes Golden Ave. at Chavez Park.
Transit: Take the Metro Blue Line to its southern terminus at Long Beach Transit Plaza. Walk west one block to Pacific Ave. Turn right, walk two blocks to Third Street. Walk approximately 10 blocks west on Third Street to Golden Ave.
Car: Exit the 710 Freeway south at Sixth Street in Long Beach (this exit is on the left, just before downtown Long Beach). Take the first right, at the end of the off-ramp, onto Magnolia Ave. Turn left onto Fifth Street and cross Golden Ave. into Cesar Chavez Park. Very convenient
free parking is located in the park's lot or along Golden Ave.
Rainbow Lagoon Park
Shoreline Aquatic Park - 200 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, California 90802 (562) 570-3100
SightseeingAquarium of the Pacific 100 Aquarium Way Long Beach, California 90802 (562) 590-3100