The Los Angeles River is the original source of life for the City of Los Angeles, where the Native Tongva tribe and later, the Spanish built the city’s first settlements. Today, the L.A. River flows through 14 cities and countless multicultural neighborhoods and is one of those neat places to take pictures in L.A.. The 51-mile river flows from the San Fernando Valley, through the nation’s second-largest urban region, into two of the world’s busiest port regions, and finally the Pacific Ocean, the world’s largest body of water. The Army Corps of Engineers began a flood control project in the late 1930s, paving 80% of the river and creating the world’s largest storm drain. In the decades that followed, the river was practically forgotten.
Dedicated residents, environmental and conservation groups are working to restore the Los Angeles River to its natural splendor. Their ongoing efforts have resulted in bike paths, hiking trails, parks and public art installations. For a glimpse of the L.A. River as it was, and is gradually becoming once again, head to Lake Balboa in the Valley. At Balboa Boulevard, you can stroll north along the soft-bottom section of the river and Instagram the scenery, fish, birds, and other wildlife.