Rio Vista Park & Trail Signage

4275 Ranger Avenue, El Monte, CA 91731


Site History

Rio Vista Park and Trail is a 4.2-acre outdoor recreational and educational space in El Monte, along the Rio Hondo. Amigos de los Rios rehabilitated the existing Rio Vista Park into an interactive setting whereby environment, habitat, culture, history, education, pedestrian, and bike trails coexist, re-linking vital passages throughout the city to the river. The project includes a multi-purpose trail along the Corps of Engineers’ right-of-way along the river, habitat enhancement with native trees and shrubs and rain gardens, a children’s play area, and interpretative signage displaying local history and culture.

The interpretive signage elements feature historical scenes of life along the river and the Hicks Camp. Tongva/Gabrielino structures and cultural elements are located at a central point between the park and the river landscape. The project also features benches and gates designed for the park to exhibit aspects of the area’s geology and native flora and wayfinding signage.

Historic Rio Vista

Hicks Camp and The Awesome Power of the Rio Hondo


The park area was once the site of a barrio called Hicks Camp, a historical Mexican American community established in the early 1900s. During its nearly three-quarters of a century of existence, it became one of the most celebrated barrios in Southern California. Hicks Camp became the gateway to the American dream for generations of Mexican Americans.

Many of the community members involved in the project grew up in the Hicks Camp area and have a vested stake in seeing the area restored to educate our future generations on the historical beginnings within the City of El Monte.

The Awesome Power of the Rio Hondo

The Awesome Power of the River is a series of panels featuring historic images of the river before being concreted in the 1950s.

The process for elaborating the signage involved searching in archives and oral history collections. The signs are displayed on panels along the park. A map of Hicks Camp is imprinted in the entrance area of the park.

Check out the signage with the history of Hicks Camp and the Awesome Power of the Rio Hondo in the gallery below or visit Rio Vista Park and the trail. All signage is thoughtfully displayed around the site.

Tongva/ Gabrielino Elements and Signage

The project incorporates historical signage, native plants, and structures  to remind us of the Gabrielino/Tongva settlements along the river. At the galery below, you’ll find depictions of the Tongva Shaman, life along the river, homes (Kich), and spiritual and construction plants. At the park, you will also find the Tongva ancient song “In The House of Morning”, used to call up the sun in the morning, engraved facing the East and the Tongva shade makers.

Interpretative elements

Benches , Gates and Fences

Unique benches and gates were designed as decorative and interpretive elements. The design is inspired by the geology and native flora of the area. The play area, for example, is surrounded by a bench-wall that exhibits the layers of geology and sediment deposition in the alluvial area over time. The benches, gates, and fences along the river and at the park reflect the native flora.

Key Partners creating a greener world!

Project Design & Build Team: Amigos De Los Rios with VCA Engineering, Bob Perry, Bret Goldstone, SGVCC, LACC, and CCC

Funding: San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy, Proposition A – Supervisor Gloria Molina, Land and Water Conservation Funds Recreation Trail Grant and the City of El Monte, CA

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