Where is the Los Angeles River Recreation Zone?

 

The MRCA administers two recreation zones, each in part of the river where it has a soft bottom and natural habitat and wildlife flourishes.

 

Access to the Elysian Valley River Recreation Zone is at MRCA-managed Rattlesnake Park at Fletcher Drive north of Riverside Drive.

 

The Sepulveda Basin River Recreation Zone extends two miles from approximately Balboa Boulevard in the Sepulveda basin (south of Victory Boulevard) to just west of Woodley Avenue.

 

Access to the the Sepulveda Basin Recreation Zone is west of Woodley Avenue on Burbank Boulevard – The approximate address is 16212 Burbank Boulevard, Encino, CA 91436.  Access is also allowed at Balboa Boulevard north of Victory Boulevard.  The exit point is just west of Woodley Avenue.  Parking is on Woodley Avenue.

 


How will I know if I am in the Recreation Zone and what I can do there?

 

Signage, including rules signs will be posted. The zone will be clearly marked. Learn more on our signage page.

 


Does the Los Angeles River Recreation Zone include the bike path or the maintenance roads along the Los Angeles River?

 

No.  The Los Angeles River Recreation Zones are in designated areas in Elysin Valley and the Sepulveda Basin and only include the river channel itself, and five feet up the slope of the channel. The Zone does not include the remaining banks or the existing bike path or the maintenance road on the banks above the river channel.

 

 

 

 


Do I have to pay or get a permit to use the Recreation Zone?

 For individual users, there is no need for a permit and use of the river is free.  Organized groups must obtain a permit from the MRCA, for which there is a fee.  Information about permits is available here. 


What kind of boat can I use in the recreation zone?

Non-motorized, steerable boats such as kayaks or canoes are permitted. 


Can I use an inner tube or pool raft? No.

No. Only non-motorized, steerable boats are permitted. 


Where do I park?

 In Elysian Valley:  There is four-hour parking on Fletcher Drive on the City street. There is free public parking at MRCA-managed Marsh Park which provides access to the river bike path.  Parking is also available downstream adjacent to Confluence Park under the 2 freeway at Home Depot.

 In the Sepulveda BasinThere is ample street parking near the trip location north of Burbank Boulevard on Woodley Avenue.  There is also a parking  lot adjacent to the put-in area on Balboa Boulevard. 


How do I get my boat down to the river?  Are there any ramps? 

The River Guide of the Elysian Valley Recreation Zone and the map of the Sepulveda Basin River Recreation Zone provide guidance regarding the “put-in” location. Participants must carry their boats from street parking to the put-in point. Care must be taken when walking on the trapezoidal riverbank. 


How do I get my kayak back into my car? 

In the Elysian Valley, the City has established a loading zone near the exit point on Riverside Drive at Oros Street where kayak participants can load equipment back into their vehicles. 

In the Sepulveda Basin, participants should park their vehicles on Woodley Avenue and load their equipment there. 


Are there guided trips? 

Yes.  In the Elysian Valley, Friends of the Los Angeles River in partnership with L.A. River Kayak Safari will operate guided trips.  In the Sepulveda Basin, Los Angeles Conservation Corps runs Paddle the La River, and L.A. River Expeditions will also operate guided tours. 


Can we rent kayaks? 

Yes.  You will find further information on private outfitters that rent kayaks at both location here. 


How difficult are the runs? 

The Elysian valley trip is physically challenging. Typically, flows range between Class I and II, but water conditions are subject to change without notice. There are sections when participants must portage, and/or walk their boats past low flow areas. As with any river, scout ahead. A river guide is available, but river conditions are subject to change without notice. 

The Sepulveda Basin trip typically has Class I flows, and the water is easy to paddle in.  However, there are three places where it may be difficult to navigate one’s boat over rocks, and the kayaker will likely need to get out of the boat and portage and/or walk their boats over the rocks. 


Where can I fish? 

Fishing is allowed in the Elysian Valley River Recreation Zone on the banks, five feet up from the slopeof the channel, or from a boat.

 In the Sepulveda Basin River Recreation Zone, fishing is allowed from a boat, or on the non-restricted banks (see map). 


How did this program come about? 

For more than 20 years, the MRCA and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy have been working together with federal, state, and local government, and community organizations to transform the Los Angeles River into a continuous 51-mile recreational greenway to enhance neighborhoods, improve water quality, and promote public health.  Since 2002, the MRCA has been working with the City of Los Angeles and other partners to promote revitalization of the Los Angeles River.  A hugely successful pilot non-motorized boating program was initiated in the Sepulveda Basin stretch of the river in August 2011.  A pilot recreation zone in Elysian Valley was established by the City of Los Angeles with the cooperation of the Army Corps of Engineers in 2013.  Building on the success and popularity of that program, two river recreation zones were established in 2014.  Councilmember Mitch O’ Farrell was instrumental in obtaining sponsorship of the Los Angeles River Recreation Zone. 


What role does each of the project partners play in the management of the Los Angeles river? 

The city is the largest landowner in the Program area and possesses rights to the river’s water; the County Flood Control District holds an easement in the project area for flood control purposes; the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provides flood control operations and maintenance services in the area; the MRCA owns and manages parks along the river in the Program area.  The MRCA is administering the river recreation program in both areas. 


How do I get more information? 

Contact us at lariverrecreation@mrca.ca.gov 

Or call (310) 858-7272 x 300