L.A. River - Frogtown Section
History of the Los Angeles River
The Los Angeles River starts up in the Santa Susana Mountains, flowing from Canoga Park through the San Fernando Valley, downtown L.A. and then down to San Pedro where it flows into the ocean. This concrete channel was built in the early 1900s due to some disastrous flooding that occurred in Los Angeles. Before the L.A. Aqueduct was built, the L.A. River provided drinking water for Los Angeles. Today, however, most of the fresh water supplied to Los Angeles is supplied from several aqueducts flowing into the city. The river is fed from snow runoff from the mountains as the snow melts in the winter and spring. These later years, droughts have caused it to slow sometimes to a trickle. A good time to visit is after a recent rainfall.
Frogtown is a section of L.A. that is nestled between the communities of Atwater Village to the north, Echo Park and Silver Lake to the west/northwest, and Glassell Park and Cypress Park on the east. It used to be known as Elysian Park. I always wondered where the term Frogtown came from. Well, apparently, sometime during the 1930s to 1960s, the streets became overrun by toads.
Today, Frogtown has become a hip happening place full of coffee shops, breweries, restaurants and artists enclaves hidden within many of the industrial looking buildings. Click the link below to find out about some of the interesting places to frequent on your next visit to Frogtown.
Walk Frogtown along the L.A. River
The perfect place to start your walk on the L.A. River is the Fletcher Drive entrance, just south of Riverside Ave. If you proceed south on Fletcher, you can turn left onto Ripple street. You will see Salazar restaurant on the southeast corner. Park somewhere along Ripple and then go to Fletcher street to enter on the Fletcher Street entrance.
As you head east, you will be amazed by all the wildlife you will spot in the river. Everything from egrets, heron, geese, ducks, and so much more. We even saw some large fish swimming in the river. You will find all kinds of people enjoying the path along the river, from runners to skateboarders and plenty of people enjoying their bikes.
A short distance along the path you will come upon the Lewis MacAdams Riverfront Park (formerly Marsh Park). You could actually start at this location as there is plenty of parking, as well as electric vehicle charging stations. There is a loop trail with 13 outdoor fitness equipment stations and two outdoor classrooms. Click on the previous link and check out the video on that site. It explains everything you want to know about the park and the L.A. River along that section.
As you proceed further east, you will come upon the Spoke Bicycle Cafe. This is a really unique cafe in that you can rent bikes or have your bike repaired, if necessary, while enjoying some coffee of a meal. Let me share their story from their About Page:
“We started out as an event space and bike shop with refreshments on the weekends in the spring of 2015 and in 2017 expanded to a full service restaurant with vibrant food choices, nano-batch locally roasted coffee, refreshing drinks, and California beers and wines. We serve breakfast, sandwiches, salads, bowls, and snacks. We cater to all types of diets, including vegan and gluten free. Prior to opening Spoke, the owners, Laurie Winston and Rich Latronica, lived in Atwater Village and spent most of their free time riding bikes around town and discovering new places to eat and drink. They frequented the LA River bike path and always thought it would be great to have someplace to stop right on the path. When they found Spoke’s current location in Frogtown, they knew they had discovered the perfect spot to create the spot they wished existed. A lot of hard work, sweat, love, and community connections came together to build the Spoke we all know and love today. ”
A little further down, you will encounter La Colombe Frogtown Cafe . This cafe roasts their own coffee and sells it by the bag. There is indoor and outdoor seating where you can have a pastry with some of their delicious fresh-roasted coffee or tea.
So, not only can you enjoy a walk or bike ride surrounded by nature, you can also stop for a light repast or meal while doing so! We hope you get out to this wonderful part of Los Angeles to get some exercise while enjoying nature and some of the local culture!