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How to Fun it Up on the LA River This Summer

The budding recreation zone tradition returns this Memorial Day

For the third year, Angelenos will have two recreation zones open to them along the LA River, beginning this Memorial Day. A release from Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell, who reps the area, says that starting May 30, the LA River will be open from sunrise to sunset, seven days a week for all sorts of free, fun "independent, unscheduled, free boating and fishing access." That's right: BYOKayak and get into the river.

Non-kayak owners can still take a trip with one of the permitted tour operators that open up when the rec zones do, offering guided boating tours down the largely concretized river.

The river’s designated rec zones, a new LA tradition begun in the few years since the river was upgraded from a flood control channel to a navigable waterway, are in the Valley’s Sepulveda Basin and in Elysian Valley, in the natural-bottomed Glendale Narrows area. They’ll be open until the fall, with the Elysian Valley section scheduled to close on September 25 and the Valley segment shuttering on September 30. (The rec zones used to close on Labor Day, but last year the closing date was extended to October 1—and it's more or less that long this year too.) Information on access points to the river from both zones can be found here.

Originally started as a pilot program, it was determined in 2014 that the rec zones would be a permanent annual occurrence.