Friday, June 27, 2008

Trails on the San Gabriel River

An excellent system of hike and bike trails allow year-round access to portions of the San Gabriel River and Lake Georgetown. The San Gabriel River Trail consists of over 30 miles of hike and bike trails along the San Gabriel River and Lake Georgetown. The trail begins in San Gabriel Park in Georgetown and runs along the North San Gabriel River about 6 miles to Lake Georgetown. Another 1-mile section of the trail loops over to Blue Hole, a beautiful and popular swimming spot on the South San Gabriel. Hiking or biking along the trail, one crosses the North San Gabriel several times and passes a wetland pond (at Rivery Park), the remains of the Shell family house (where the Shell family lived in the early 20th century), and a large spring. Wildlife is abundant along the trail: one often encounters deer, bats, beaver, buzzards, frogs, herons, and kingfishers. Wildflowers grow abundantly along the trail (see Phyllis Dolich’s blog on Wildflowers of the San Gabriel River Trail). Access to the trail is available at several spots within the city of Georgetown, including San Gabriel Park, Rivery Park, Bootys Crossing Road, Chandler Park at Spring Valley Road, and North Cross Road. Most of the trail from San Gabriel Park to Lake Georgetown has an all-weather surface that is wheel-chair accessible

At Lake Georgetown, the Good Water Loop of the San Gabriel River Trail begins. This 26-mile rugged loop completely encircles the lake. Here the trail passes through oak and juniper forests, river bottom hardwoods, and prairie grasslands. On the north side of the lake, west of Russell Park, the trail traverses bluffs high above the lake, affording some spectacular views, and passes several small caves, before descending to the lake. It then follows the path of the old river road that traveled up the North San Gabriel River before Lake Georgetown was built (see earlier posting on San Gabriel River Crossings). The trail crosses over to the south side of the lake at historic Hunt Crossing (a popular fishing spot) and then passes through Tejas camp and runs along the south side of the lake. A spectacular stop in this stretch is Crocket Gardens, a lush oasis where a natural spring cascades over a 30 foot cliff into the waters of Lake Georgetown lake.
Supported by funding from the 3M Foundation, a partnership between Southwestern University, the City of Georgetown, and the Corps of Engineers sponsors research and educational projects that benefit the San Gabriel River Trail. More about this project can be found at:

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