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By Bekah Wright, Photos by Dave Lauridsen

Published Apr 1, 2012 8:00 AM


L.A. River Tours: 51 Forgotten Miles


The Arroyo Seco—"dry stream" in Spanish—is 25 miles long, ending here at the confluence with the L.A. River near Elysian Park. Photo by Bekah Wright.

For tour schedules

Check the Hidden L.A. website for upcoming tours by searching "L.A. River Tours" or follow the Hidden L.A. Facebook page.

Jenny Price's day job is research scholar at the UCLA Center for the Study of Women. But she's also the author of an L.A. Weekly guide to the Los Angeles River.

Yes, Virginia, there is an L.A. River.

"Whether they realize it or not, everyone in Los Angeles has either seen the L.A. River in movies or driven over it," Price says. "Yet it's this 51-mile-long river flowing through the heart of the city that's become a tremendous act of collective forgetting."

Not if Price can help it though. After she wrote the guide, friends of the researcher-author-river tour guide began requesting tours. Word of mouth led to the creation of the L.A. River Tours' Facebook page. The demand continues to grow, as does the number of tours Price leads for universities, environmental groups and curious residents.

Price offers a mix of standard and customized itineraries lasting from 60 minutes to eight hours. What people can expect to see along the way? A mix of concrete and graffiti along with more than 130 species of birds encompassing egrets, herons and kingfishers, and lush landscapes with pops of color from morning glories and red bottlebrush bushes.

"There's been a ton of progress since my tours began," reflects Price. "What were once dustbowls with barbed wire around them have now been revitalized with wetlands and parks."

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