Rio Hondo River Trail

PROJECT DATE: 2006 – Ongoing

Site Background

The Rio Hondo River trail extends from the entrance of Peck Park in the north, around the south edge of Peck Water Conservation Lake LA, and for 1.2 miles along Public Works Flood Control Channel ROW to Lower Azusa Boulevard. Peck Park forms the headwaters of the Rio Hondo River, which flows down to join the LA River in the area of South Gate.

The Rio Hondo River Trail is a crucial part of the Emerald Necklace Project, a greening vision outlined with direct input from community stakeholders in 2005. The project aims to implement a ‘Mountains to Sea’ natural infrastructure of a comprehensive greenway network along the San Gabriel, Rio Hondo, and Lower Los Angeles Rivers for the benefit of the environment and public health. We have since worked in coalition with multiple federal, state, county, municipal, and school district, and environmental organization partners to design the greenway with community support and to obtain required permits to implement this legacy Urban Greening Project along the Los Angeles County Flood Control District Right of Ways, within municipal parks, and at public Title 1 schools.


In partnership with a wide network of stakeholders, Amigos transformed over 15 acres of the formerly barren Rio Hondo Right of Way into a nature discovery trail where a tree canopy and native plant landscapes have now been established to improve soil, sequester carbon, and restore the habitat for myriad birds.

In addition to tree and shrub planting, we created a series of bioswales and rain gardens and installed interpretive signage along the river corridor. The trees and shrubs planted will improve soil health, sequester carbon, and improve shade along the transit corridor, allowing more people to leave their cars behind in favor of riding bikes and walking. The trees will also serve to cool the river corridor as well as homes immediately adjacent to the greenway and buildings on school campuses to reduce heating and cooling loads. By removing water and fertilizer-intensive grass to create native landscape bio-retention areas, we create extensive areas for the use of green waste as mulch and thereby divert green waste from landfills.


Prior to the planting of native trees and shrubs and the implementation of Emerald Necklace stewardship events along this section of the river corridor, Amigos worked with Conservation Corps Members and Volunteer Stewards to remove invasive trees and shrubs and completed site grubbing to ensure clearing the way for habitat. Emerald Necklace Stewards also assisted Amigos staff in collecting data on new project plantings, using our Plan-It Geo i-Tree Database tool to calculate the aggregate benefits of trees over time.

Amigos de Los Rios holds ongoing volunteer events at Peck Park and the Rio Hondo River Trail as part of the plan for ongoing invasive removal and habitat care.