Photos: Finding beauty on the LA River

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Angel comes down to the L.A River once or twice a week to go fishing. He says it makes him feel very far away from the rest of the city.

We’re talking about the past, present and future of the Los Angeles River on tonight’s  Which Way LA?  Now, I think the L.A. River is a beautiful place and a local treasure. That said, I also know it will never ever be compared to the Nile or Amazon, or the Thames or Seine as one of the world’s treasured waterways. Most Angelenos assume the L.A. River is just a glorified flood control channel and never linger longer than the time it takes them to drive it on a bridge or freeway overpass.

But if you’ve never visited the L.A River, I really recommend stopping and enjoying it, particularly a five-mile stretch that parallels the I-5 between Glendale and downtown Los Angeles. In recent years riverside pocket parks and cycling and jogging paths have been opened here.

This is also a where the L.A. River looks, well, like a real river, with plenty of flowing water, vegetation and wildlife, from coyotes to herons. It may not be Shangri-La (the rumble of the nearby freeway and the odd abandoned shopping cart you’ll see will remind you of that) but it’s a place with a slower tempo than the rest of the city, one that will reward you with some beautiful sights if you spend some time there either on foot or on a bicycle.

One of the most scenic stretches of the L.A. River is between Griffith Park and the north end of downtown. After that it pretty much becomes concrete all the way down to Long Beach.
Walk along the L.A. River and you’ll see ducks, heron, fish and coyotes.

Angel comes down to the L.A River once or twice a week to go fishing. He says it makes him feel very far away from the rest of the city.
Ron Wong, who is 80 years old, has been coming down to the Los Angeles River since the 1940s
The Los Angeles River flows for about 48 miles from the northern San Fernando Valley to its mouth in Long Beach. This photo captures how the river is a weird hybrid –  part natural, part man made because of its use as a flood control channel.