Riding the Ballona Creek Bicycle Trail

May 05, 2009 by Lisa Newton

The day after Earth Day, the sun was shining and the air was fresh, so I took the opportunity to ride the Ballona Creek bike trail. Last time I tried to ride the trail, the first entry point was closed for construction. Today, I entered at next entry point and had no difficulties.


Close to the end of Duquesne Ave. in Culver City, the Ballona Creek trail starts. It’s approachable from either Culver or Jefferson Blvd. This well-used entrance is on the downstream side across from Culver City’s Transportation Facility.

Although at this point, it isn’t much of a creek yet, it’s a neighborhood icon.

“Rivers of the World”

At the entrance, riders are welcomed by the “Rivers of the World” mural sponsored by the Ballona Creek Renaissance, a non-profit group whose mission is to improve Ballona Creek, and the community’s use of it.

Walking Bridge

Located right behind the Culver City Middle School, which borders the trail, this arched bridge makes walking to and from the school much easier for its students. The day I was there, school was letting out, so the bridge was both functional and practical, as many students were making full use of the bridge and trail to return home. The bridge looks rather rustic and its façade is stunning as it seemingly floats above the water in the trail below.

Ballona Creek

Further down the trail, Ballona Creek’s magnificence is breathtaking.

Our feathered friends

Our feathered friends share Ballona Creek with us city dwellers.

Big Bird

Along with the smaller birds, I was a tad surprised to see this big guy here. I’m not sure what the yellow cable is for, so if you know, feel free to enlighten me in the comments. It could be for dredging, or for protection of the wetland’s shore–so for all of you environmental experts, we’d love to hear from you.

Marina del Rey

At the end of the trail, Marina del Rey appears on my right, with Ballona Creek on my left.

I love this part of the trail

With the ocean in front of me and the bridge coming up on the righ, around the bend is the focal point where the Ballona Creek trail meets the Beach Trail.

What a great ride!

Riding the Ballona Creek bike trail is something I never tire of. A round trip is a fine-ride, full of ups and downs, and sights to behold at each overpass. If you plan on riding the trail, be sure to have a map for various entry points. Because there have been a few assaults on the trail, it’s best to ride with a friend, which also increases your fun factor at the same time.

Next week, I’ll be participating in Bike to Work Week. Biking isn’t just for exercise; it also saves money, it’s green, it might save you time, and it pretty much eliminates trying to decide which two cars will fit into one parking space.

I’m looking forward to the challenge.

BTW, May is National Bike Month. To see if there are any events in your “neck of the woods,” the League of American Bicyclists is the official site to find any national information for your plans.

Do you ride bicycle trails close to your house? How about commuting to work? I know Lance commutes via bike when the weather cooperates. Do you plan on participating in your local Bike to Work Week?

Travelin’ Local by bike is a great way to see the sights and sounds of the city, and it’s a great “green” way of getting where you need to go.

Update: Santa Monica has been awarded a “bronze level distinction” for its “remarkable commitments to bicycling” by the League of American Bicyclists. Congratulations, Santa Monica!!

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14 Responses to “Riding the Ballona Creek Bicycle Trail”

  1. Diane C. says:

    The Ballona bike path looks beautiful with the creek and birds and all. In California, we lived close to my husband’s work that he rode his bike to. In Tucson, he retired early to avoid a long commute by car. Our household is down to just one small infrequently used car. Some day we might get bikes to ride on the great trails here.

    Diane C.’s last blog post..Cactus Monday – Crested Saguaros


  2. Paisley (Paisley Thoughts) says:

    The land looks very flat. I love the flatness because it gives a feeling of forever. The mural is so bright and welcoming and the bridge is unusual for getting to school. I love your ‘Big Guy’ pic – it looks almost painted – great.

    Paisley (Paisley Thoughts)’s last blog post..Would You Display Your Creative Writing On A Personal Blog?


  3. Will Campbell says:

    Oh you know I’m a commute nut, incorporating the wonderful Ballona Creek coming and going most days during my 30 mile roundtrips between Silver Lake and Westchester.

    For Bike to Work Day I plan to deviate from my normal commute and hit most of the scheduled pitstop locations from Hollywood to Santa Monica.

    Will Campbell’s last blog post..Extended Play: Ranger’s Bringin’ Crazy Back


  4. David says:

    Stunning photography accompanied by a great tour of the Ballona Creek trail. It’s definitely a treasured cultural treasure of our city.

    Very uplifting story, Lisa!

    It’s good that Santa Monica and other cities are implementing and promoting more bicycle riding and providing the necessary infrastructure and resources to accomplish this end.


  5. dc says:

    How cool! I love dedicated, paved bike trails — they really make biking so much easier. Thanks for the tour. :)

    dc’s last blog post..Canyon Falls Abstract


  6. Patricia says:

    My partner is training for the Seattle to Portland bike ride July 11th – He does all 204 miles in one day. He loves biking and does ride to work everyday and to the gym. He loves discovering bike routes and exploring I have put a few of his exploits and rides on the bikingarchitect. His group is biking around the Cascades in the fall. I hope I can persuade him to take a camera because you pictures make me feel like I have been there and enjoyed that ride too. Thank you

    Patricia’s last blog post..Examining the Role and the Rules


  7. Lisa's Chaos says:

    That last photo made me positive that I wanna ride that trail! Pelican – Yay!


  8. Jannie Funster says:

    Sadly I have not been on a bike in YEARS! But I do enjoy our local hiking trail on foot.

    Nope, no idea what those yellow cables are for. Maybe a “Pelican Police Line – do not cross?”

    Living in Marian Del Ray.. now that song is humming in my head. Great song, tho.

    Jannie Funster’s last blog post..The CDs Have Landed!


  9. LisaNewton says:

    @ Diane I know you do a lot of walking because your blog features so many different trails. Biking is a happy medium between cars and walking, which here, often times, is faster than a car.

    @ Paisley Thank you. I’m a fan of flat when I’m biking. I love seeing what’s in front of me.

    @ Will I look forward to your post featuring all the pit stops. I know there will be quite a few. Thank you for being the Ballona Creek bike trail caretaker.

    @ David Several area here are trying become more bike friendly including Long Beach and Pasadena. To me, helping make a community more bike friendly is a win/win situation.

    @ dc I totally agree. I really like the idea of having a dedicated trail just for bikes. It’s safer for both the cars and the bikes.

    @ Patricia Wow, 204 miles a day? That’s a lot. I’d love to share his rides via pictures. Will takes a camera and does time lapse photography of his trips. They are great. Hey, it’s an idea.

    @ Lisa Thanks. I was surprised to see that guy.

    @ Jannie LOL……Now, that’s an idea.


  10. D. Travis North says:

    Does it bother you that a portion of the creek is channelized into concrete? Aesthetically, I mean? Working for a Civil Engineering firm in these modern times – where such practices are starting to fade out – I guess it annoys me to see what the engineering world did to our rivers so long ago. A natural riverbed – we’re finding now – is better suited for flood prevention and severe storm events – at least in the long run. It certainly doesn’t impact down-stream like a channelized stream would. New Orleans probably would’ve been better off after Katrina if the majority of the Mississippi River had never been channelized.


  11. LisaNewton says:

    @ D. Travis North Yes, it bothers me. In fact, the first time I saw the Los Angeles River, which is also a “channelized” body of water, I didn’t quite understand it. Having grown up and lived in either the Midwest and East Coast, I’d never seen anything like it. I haven’t researched it too much, but I know the reasons it was done.

    It’s hard to call it a creek or river when it’s totally encased in concrete.


  12. Kenneth Elliott | Balance Bike says:

    Where is this bike trail? I did not see the location in the article. The bike trail really seems like a great trail with many ups and downs.
    Kenneth Elliott | Balance Bike´s last blog ..Run Bike – Your Child Can Learn To Fly My ComLuv Profile


    LisaNewton Reply:

    @Kenneth Elliott | Balance Bike, This is the Ballona Creek Bike Trail, which starts in Culver City, Los Angeles, CA.

    It’s a great trail. :)


  13. Kenneth Elliott | Balance Bike says:

    Water and biking how can you go wrong. I have never been to Los Angeles, CA. Looks like a place that I would enjoy. May have to visit.
    Kenneth Elliott | Balance Bike´s last blog ..Run Bike – Your Child Can Learn To Fly My ComLuv Profile


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