4 Ways to Explore the L.A. River on Foot

This piece originally appeared as part of the 20 Great Walks guide in the February 2018 issue of Los Angeles magazine.

When people talk about the future of the Los Angeles River, they tend to point to the fairly lush soft-bottomed stretches in Frogtown and Glendale Narrows. But an even more verdant portion threads its way through the Sepulveda Basin in Encino. Start your expedition a half mile south of Victory Boulevard on Balboa Boulevard (there’s parking nearby). Follow a ramp to the dirt path along the tree-lined riverbank. As part of the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve , this area is a choice landing pad for more than 200 avian species, which chatter among the vegetation. The water’s also deep enough for kayaking (usually allowed from May through September). Walk downstream for about a mile and a half and you’ll find yourself at the Sepulveda Dam, built in 1941 and used as a backdrop for movies like Escape from New York and Iron Man 2. To return, just retrace your steps.

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