The Ballona Creek Bike Path is a bit of a treasure for us city, outdoorsy folk. The 7-mile route begins at a park in east Culver City, continuing through residential neighborhoods, making its way past the Ballona Wetlands, eventually finishing up at the Pacific Ocean.
There are several spots where you can access the trail, making it simple enough to shorten for even the youngest bike riders in the family.
We usually hop on a couple of miles from the beach with the goal of making it there and back. (Mile marker indicators on the pavement are a big help in gauging the right place to turn back to avoid too much whining or a meltdown.)
What also makes this particular stretch of the Ballona Creek Bike Path fun for nature lovers is that it runs right along the creek. In spite of the fact that the creek is surrounded in concrete, it does provide a stopover for all kinds of sea birds. On their most recent visit, the kids spotted pelicans, storks, gulls, egrets, mallard ducks and more.
Bird watching is a perfect excuse to take rest stops along the trail. It’s fun to watch so many different birds all hanging out in one spot. Just be sure to pull over first!
It’s worth noting that this particular stretch of the Ballona Creek Bike Path does feature a couple of small hills, but The Big Explorer was able to manage both the ups and downs without having to dismount his bike.
Date of most recent visit: Sun., Feb. 26, 2012
Who: Dad and The Explorers
Weather: Low 60s
- First bike ride outside the neighborhood sans training wheels for The Big Explorer
- Getting to ride alongside a creek toward the beach
- Taking rest stops to look at all the birds
- Almost making it to the beach & back before sunset
- The Ballona Creek Bike Path extends for 7 miles from National Blvd. in Culver City (at Syd Kronenthal Park) to the Pacific Ocean, where it connects with the Santa Monica Beach and South Bay Bike Path
- The relatively easy, concrete bike path features mile markers on the pavement, making it simple enough to gauge your progress
- There are 12 separate entrances along the route; entrances are locked when there is the possibility of substantial rain
- To keep it kid-friendly, we hop on the path about 2 to 3 miles from the beach
- Practice some safety basics: Wear a helmet & warm clothing, make sure your bikes are in good condition before heading out, bring along water & snacks
- No restrooms available along the path
- The Ballona Creek Bike Path is used by serious bikers and casual alike; remind kids to pull aside as needed to let others pass
- In recent years, there have been daytime assaults on lone cyclists, occurring primarily in the area west of Sawtelle Blvd. along freeway underpasses; we access the trail much closer to the beach & have never felt unsafe while riding