Los Angeles River headwaters, here at the confluence of Arroyo Calabasas and Bell Creek. Calabasas Creek begins near the Leonis Adobe with the merging of Dry Canyon Creek from the Santa Monica Mountains and McCoy Canyon Creek from a Simi Hills watershed.
Arroyo Calabasas and Bell Creek


City engineer William Mulholland once described the Los Angeles River as a beautiful little stream with willows on it's banks. But periodic flooding was an ongoing danger to the Los Angeles basin, espacially during the rain seasons of 1825, 1832, 1861, 1884 and 1914
so today the Los Angeles River is a 60-mile cement-lined flood channel leading from Canoga Park to the Long Beach Harbor. The fall of the river was between 16 and 23 feet per mile and his velocity and destructive power was carrying away orchards, vineyards, sheds and agricultural fields.
Construction begun in 1938 and today 40% of the river is dammed, with the Sepulveda Flood Control Dam and the HANSEN DAM as main barriers to the stream's flow.

Today environmentalists propose a rehabilitation of the banks with nature trails and parks as recreation area for all.
Los Angeles River concrete riverbed
The small concrete riverbed at Canoga Avenue. The initial Bell Creek a.k.a. Escorpion Creek headwaters of the Simi Valley Hills are on the property of Rocketdyne's Santa Susana Field Laboratory, then the water flows through Bell Canyon.

L.A. River River Flooding
L.A. River flood during the 2003 rain season as seen from a bridge near Griffith Park


Los Angeles Rain Season
Looking south, the flooding looks very dangerous

L.A. River River at Main Street Bridge
Los Angeles River flood control channel at Main Street bridge looking south

Los Angeles River at 4th Street Bridge
Cement-lined flood channel at the 4th Street bridge looking towards downtown

Long Beach from above
Panoramic view on the L.A. River, Long Beach and the Marina Park


L.A. River in Vernon
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