West Fork National Bikeway

West Fork Bikeway


From the issue Dippity-do!

River Roundup

Sometimes you gotta gear up before you can cool down. Tucked within the rugged peaks of the San Gabriel Mountains north of Azusa, the West Fork National Bikeway follows the West Fork of the San Gabriel River up to Glenn Camp Campground—bringing up to 7 miles (one-way) of beautiful river scenery, plus plenty of opportunities for "water breaks". The trail begins where Route 39 crosses over the West Fork, a section of river that gets flooded by weekend visitors because of its calm water and quick access from the parking lot. Want to leave the crowds behind? Saddle up and start cycling! As you ascend the car-free road, ride between the river and canyon walls decorated in moss, ferns, sticky monkeyflower, and the occasional panther lily. A half-mile in, just before the crest in the climb, a dirt footpath on the right leads to a small, sand beach on the river—perfect for those who want fast access to an oasis. Make this your turnaround point or extend the ride by continuing up the bikeway, grabbing a snack of sun-ripened blackberries from bushes that line the way. If you brought lunch, picnic tables are spread along the road, including a prime one on the left at 6 miles in, bordering a stream with a small waterfall. Shift your gears to “Relax”. It’s smooth cruising back the way you came.

Take I-210 to Azusa and take the Route 39/San Gabriel Canyon Rd. exit. At the end of the ramp, turn north and drive 13 miles up Route 39. A $5 Adventure Pass is required to park at the trailhead and can be purchased at the East Fork Ranger Station on Route 39 at the foot of the mountains. The trailhead is on the left, 1.3 miles past the intersection with East Fork Rd and just before the road crosses over the West Fork of the San Gabriel River. There is additional parking at the West Fork Day Use Area just across the river. Bike 7 miles up the paved bikeway to Glenn Camp Campground, or go the extra (steeper) mile to the dam at Cogswell Reservoir where the pavement ends. Note: be mindful of water levels before swimming, as they can change. Dog-friendly!

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