The San Gabriel River is best known as one of those sadly neglected huge concrete channels roving through Los Angeles. This one has a sandy bottom instead of concrete a lot of the way, so at least its interesting to look at. But believe it or not, there is actually a river of sorts at its headwaters in the San Gabriel Mountains.

The river emerges from a reservoir, above this its tributaries spread out in many directions, draining the slopes of both Mt. Wilson and Mt. Baldy. Oddly, most of them seem to be named as forks of the river, even insignificant ones. This river has a north fork, a west fork, an east fork, a south fork (which, oddly, is north of the north fork), an 'iron fork' and a 'fish fork'. One of the biggest contributors to this river is known simply as Devils Gorge, as it escaped the curse of the forky-names. A highway was planned to go up Devils Gorge but it was blown out by a big flood and all thats left now is a big bridge. Although this river flows pretty low in the summer and is pretty much 'tamed' now, it must have had some pretty crazy floods back in the day. Perhaps one day it will rip out of its concrete ditch and tear out a chunk of Los Angeles.

One of the four major rivers in the Los Angeles Plain, along with the Rio Hondo, Los Angeles, and Santa Ana.

It has an East Fork that is dry, and rough and desert-like, while the West Fork is much more tame and peaceful, in fact the Forest Service has built several fishing stations along the West Fork. Among the more interesting things along the river is the Bridge to Nowhere located in the Narrows of the East Fork that was left stranded in the Los Angeles Flood of 1938.

The West and East Forks of the San Gabriel merge at the San Gabriel Reservoir and after going through the fore mentioned reservoir and the Morris Reservior leave the mountains where it is subjected to channelization, a series of spreading grounds, and two flood control dams (Santa Fe, Whittier Narrows). Most of the water from the mountains is kept above the Whittier Narrows Dam and some of the water is also from reclaimated water.

The San Gabriel Bike Trail also exists. It starts at the other side of the road next to the Angeles National Forest info booth and continues to the end of the San Gabriel in Seal Beach.

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