750 S. Santa Anita Avenue, South El Monte, CA 

Located in Whittier Narrows Recreation Area

Map of Bosque del Rio Hondo-woRio Hondo River along trail at the Bosque del Rio Hondo

Spanish for “Forest of the Deep River”

Amigos de los Rio has been working at Bosque Del Rio Hondo to restore native plants, clean up the trails, as well as create and install interpretive signage along the Rio Hondo River to
educate the public about the Rio Hondo River, the trails, the history of the location and provide safety information about the river.

The Bosque del Rio Hondo is a great place to walk along the banks of the Rio Hondo River and enjoy one of its last remaining natural segments. The Bosque includes pedestrian, bike, and equestrian trails and is part of the 1,492-acre Whittier Narrows Recreation Area.

LA County Parks – Bosque del Rio Hondo

History of the Bosque 

In 1994, with a Proposition A grant from Los Angeles County, the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) began working on park improvements at Bosque del Rio Hondo on land owned by the Army Corps of Engineers.

The park was opened to the public in 1997. For almost 20 years the park was available for recreation, until 2015 when the Lincoln Fire burned over 200-acres of the Whittier Narrows, including much of the Bosque.

In 2016, MRCA completed rehabilitation of the park so that it could, once again, be enjoyed by the public. The park is now managed by the County of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks.

Amigos De Los Rios-Emerald Necklace Group designed and installed the Interpretive signage (to the right) at Bosque del Rio Hondo.

Bosque Del Rio Hondo Signage
history of Bosque del Rio Hondo

The Rio Hondo did not always look as it does today. In the 1950’s, the Rio Hondo River offered extensive areas to farm, walk, ride horses, play and swim until the river was put into concrete channels. Channeling the river did prevent the area from flooding, but it also took away valuable recreational space along the river banks.

The Bosque del Rio Hondo park gives a piece of the Rio Hondo’s original green space back to the communities and people of the San Gabriel Valley.

Examples of Rio Hondo River soft bottom vs concrete bottomRio Hondo River flood plain

The Rio Hondo is a seasonal river . . .

and is especially powerful during periods of excessive rain. It is important to know that the Rio Hondo is also quite dangerous even when there is not much water. As the sides and bottom of the channel are slippery, it is very difficult to escape the strong current of the river. Be cautious as the river has an awesome power at all water levels.

Funding for the park development, rehabilitation and maintenance was provided by the voter-approved 1992 and 1996 Proposition A, Safe Neighborhood Parks Bonds through generous grants from the offices of the Los Angeles County First District Supervisors Gloria Molina and Hilda Solis. The grants were awarded and administered by the Los Angeles County Regional Parks and Open Space District.

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