The L.A. River is covered in concrete. Fed by a wastewater treatment plant, it runs through bleak industrial zones on its 48-mile course to the sea. Nevertheless, for decades the Friends of the L.A. River has been on a heroic and half-mad quest to naturalize the channel and open it up to recreation. A year ago, the organization set up the Frog Spot, a visitors center that's open on weekends. Situated at one of the greener stretches of the river, it's well hidden and surprisingly peaceful. You can sit in the shade and have a snack while the cyclists pedal by. In the distance you may see a freight train. The center also hosts yoga classes, nature walks and live music on Saturday nights. The access is via the bike path, which makes it a good spot to pause during a ride. It's also the place where L.A. River Kayak Safari stores its kayaks, which might inspire you to give that a try.
Credit: Gene Maddaus