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East LA to Monterey Park: Touring the parks of the Monterey Hills


This 9.3 mile ride starts in East LA and heads northeast through the hilly streets of Monterey Park.

This ride is for people who are familiar with shifting gears and feel comfortable completing 10 miles. This ride will provide a new challenge for beginner to intermediate riders who want to test their climbing ability. As much as there is climbing, there’s also a lot of downhill portions that can be fun! This ride is best suited for people comfortable speeding downhill and controlling their balance and breaks.

This route officially ends at Atlantic Station along the L (Gold) Line, half a mile away from our starting point at the East LA Civic Center.

This ride also offers families with children a chance to learn more about some wildlife and trees along this route. The five parks we will be visiting along the way all have restrooms and places to take a shady break. The route itself doesn’t have much of a tree canopy/shade.

Ride Logistics
Link to self-guided route:

East LA Civic Center

4801 E 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90022

This ride starts at the East LA Civic Center. This is right off the L Line (formerly known as the Gold Line) at the aptly named East LA Civic Center Station. If taking the L Line, head to the east exit of the station and cross the street to head north along Civic Center Way.

If you’re driving, there is some public parking available along Civic Center Way for three hours. Take note that on Saturdays, parking is reserved for those visiting the East LA Farmers Market, which runs from 8am to 1pm. There are also some restrooms here that are usually open, just look for the orange/yellow building to the northeast of the parking lot.

About 70 feet north of E. 3rd St, keep an eye out for a sign marking the location of a time capsule buried in 2009. Set to be unearthed 50 years after burial, the time capsule includes some things thought to become obsolete by 2059. The sign itself features articles from the Eastside Sun, a local newspaper that ran from 1945 until 2018. In 1979, the newspaper was sold by its original owner and purchased by a group of 12 Mexican American investors. The bi-lingual paper covered many stories focused on the lives of the Eastside community.

Head north through the park until you reach the pedestrian bridge that will take you over the 60 freeway to 1st St.

Watch out for coyotes! This area is part of their home turf and they’ve been here for thousands of years! Coyotes have called North America home for more than a million years.

Keep an eye out for an animal that resembles a medium-sized dog, with a tawny gray color with long legs and a tail that is about less than half of its body length. If you see a coyote, you can wave hello but make sure to keep your distance. Coyotes are naturally fearful of humans, but they can also be very curious. If you see one and it keeps approaching you or you feel threatened, act big and loud, wave your arms, yell and clap your hands until the coyote runs away.

At the other end of the bridge, use the crosswalk to cross 1st St, then make a right along the sidewalk for one block.

At Vancouver, make a left.

This route will take you in a northeast direction for 3.5 miles before arriving at Barnes Park.

After heading north across Cesar Chavez, the route climbs 72 feet over a quarter mile before dropping back down the same elevation over the same distance before climbing 181 feet over one mile. The route comes back down before arriving at Barnes Park.

Barnes Park

Here’s a chance to take a restroom or snack break. In about a mile, the route takes you through Garvey Ranch Park.

Garvey Ranch Park

A sign at the other end of this path says no bikes allowed, so keep that in mind as you make your way across the park. As you make your way east, look to your left. You should have a view of the San Gabriel Mountains.

On your right, you’ll see a tall earth barrier. Behind this earth barrier is the Garvey Reservoir which provides water for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD).

Keep an eye out for the trees - you should be able to spot a few oak trees throughout the park. Acorns from the oak tree are an important indigenous food staple for the Kizh/Tongva/Gabrielino people, who have lived on this land for thousands of years.

At the other end, you’ll see the Garvey Observatory. The Los Angeles Astronomical Society’s website says all events at the observatory are currently cancelled due to the pandemic.

According to the website, the observatory is home to an 8 inch refractor telescope and a library containing hundreds of books and numerous magazines of various astronomy subjects.

Next to the observatory is the Historical Museum Garvey Ranch, which is open Saturdays & Sundays from 2 to 4pm.

On the east end of the parking lot you’ll see a steep paved path leading up to Orange Ave. Follow that path then make a right to head south along Orange. After this, you have a little less than a half mile of gradual climbing before you start the general decline.

Keep a lookout on your left hand side for a Demonstration Garden.

In a little under a mile, you’ll arrive at La Loma Park.

La Loma Park & Edison Trails Hike

I didn’t see any restrooms along the street, but there’s a working water station in case you need a refill. The city’s website says there are restrooms here, so they are probably up the steep hill. I did not go up there myself to find out.

In a little more than half a mile you’ll arrive at George Elder Park.

George E. Elder Park

This is the last restroom and break opportunity before reaching the end of the ride and arriving back at the L line train in 2.6 miles.

As you make your way across the park, keep an eye out for the sycamore trees near the western end of the park. Look up to see how tall they are! These sycamores like to have plenty of water and have roots that can go down given enough water. Under the right conditions, they can grow 30 feet in just five years! These trees are good friends with the Tiger Swallowtail butterfly and hummingbirds.

Atlantic Station

You’ve arrived back at the L line. Congrats - you’ve completed a good day of climbing.

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