Welcome to my second journey of discovery along the Los Angeles River.
Almost 4 years ago, my pack set out to explore every accessible mile of our river from the San Fernando Valley to Long Beach. It was amazing. The walking was easy, the scenery was one of a kind, and we found some great parks too. There were some rough spots, but they were outnumbered by signs of progress being made in the county’s efforts to revitalize the river.
A lot has changed since we finished that journey. New projects have started, old landscapes have been transformed, and more people than ever are enjoying the river. It’s time for an update.
Join us as we explore the river again in search of fun things to do. We’re also going to check out every park in every riverside neighborhood we visit on the way.Subscribeto our newsletter for the latest on our progress.
PART 4: Tarzana
– Neighborhood Pedigree
In 1919, ‘Tarzan of The Apes’ creator Edgar Rice Burroughs purchased a 550 acre estate in the San Fernando Valley and named the property Tarzana Ranch.
By 1923, Burroughs had sold much of the property, capitalizing on demand for home sites from the growing city of Los Angeles.
In 1930, residents of this new community held a contest to name it. The winning entry, to no one’s surprise, was ‘Tarzana’.
No other neighborhood in Los Angeles contains a shorter section of the river.
– The River
You only have to stand near the southwest corner of Victory Bl. and Lindley Ave. to see the river in it’s entirety through Tarzana. It’s contained by about about 600′ of wide concrete flood channel and there is no access.
Near the Lindley Ave. bridge is the river’s confluence with Caballero Creek. The concrete creek flows north from the El Caballero Country Club, on land that was once part of the Tarzana Ranch.
Next to the creek is 1.55 acres of future parkland. In 2012, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy proposed turning this spot into a park and in 2016 the City of L.A. was on board. But not much has happened since and news about the project is hard to find. The spot has been kept clean though; maybe something will happen soon.
This park’s 1500 acres stretch along the Santa Monica Mountains’ edge in Tarzana and Woodland Hills. Well used trails provide easy access to ‘Dirt Mulholland’ and great views of the San Fernando Valley. The main entrance is at southern terminus of Reseda Bl. Other access points within Tarzana are at southern terminus of Van Alden Ave. and Greenbrier Dr.
You may see signs stating that you’re entering Topanga State Park (normally no dogs allowed). Don’t worry. Dogs are ok on Dirt Mulholland and the trails that go north (toward The Valley).
The canyon’s 328 acres, once managed by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, are now part of Topanga State Park. Despite State Park dog rules, it’s still ok for dogs to hike. A 2-mile loop trail takes you through the park. Access from Tarzana is at 4000 Corbin Ave.
Hidden in plain sight next to the 101 freeway, this 5.57 acre park is a typical City of L.A. recreation center. A Community Center and Child Care Center can be found here and the ball field grass is excellent for rolling in.