San Gabriel River Trail Bike Ride to Santa Fe Dam

San Gabriel River Trail Asuza


From the issue River Coaster

Dam-Good Roll

Originating at the base of the Angeles National Forest, the San Gabriel River Trail runs almost the entire length of its namesake river. But you don't need to go the whole distance to hit some of its sweet spots. Starting in Asuza, roll among mountains and through expansive open space budding with rare native desert blooms on a 10-mile (round-trip) paved path. Leaving Mt. Baldy behind, you're more likely to spot gnarled cacti than fellow cyclists. Pass a manmade lake surrounded by yellow Abrams live-forever and white-budded yerba santa—a surprising sight in this dry range. Along this part of the trail the river is in good view, gaining momentum as it travels south. Continue alongside the 70-acre Santa Fe Reservoir and its sandy beach before putting on the breaks at the Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area. White sage brings flower power, and the spiky Our Lord's Candle blossoms in every direction. The Santa Fe Nature Center is a quiet place to soak in the sounds of warbling orange bishops and California towhee. The return journey puts the San Gabriel Mountains front and center, including Mount Bliss and Glendora Ridge.

Take I-210 and exit Azusa Ave. (Hwy 39). Follow Hwy. 39 for about 6 miles and turn left into the city of Asuza's public parking area. Take the Gabriel Bike Trail to the north of the parking lot for 180 feet and turn left onto the San Gabriel River Trail instead of following the trail straight. Head south for about 2.5 miles past the I-210 freeway. Turn left to stay on the San Gabriel Bike Trail after 4.5 miles. Continue for .5-mile before ending at the Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area. Return the way you came. Dog-friendly!

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