The LA River: less a river – for most of its vestigial existence – and more a Hollywood set for rig-driving Austrian cyborgs, Mini Cooper chases and Danny Zuko’s ‘48 Ford Deluxe.

In other words, it’s been known for cars.

But that’s about to change, thanks to LA River Kayaking Safari, which will take you on a three-hour journey down one of the river’s lushest, most scenic culverts.

This stretch — the Elysian Valley — has befuddled the Army Corps of Engineers; the running water has consistently busted through the concrete, exposing the natural riverbed.


Last spring, the ACE decided to let the river return to its natural state and now — for the first time in 80 years — you can kayak it.

You meet your guides downstream at Oso Park, and they then lead you back upstream (by bike) to the “put in” point at Rattlesnake Rapids (see map).

The meandering two-and-a-half mile float snakes past wildlife like deer, herons and carp-hunting osprey, and you’ll have to paddle through some tricky rapids. In the calm sections, guides share tidbits on the river’s history, ecology and lore.


Then you end right back where you started.

That’s how the river flows.