Most people probably visualize the Pacific Ocean when they think about Long Beach and a body of water. But El Dorado East Regional Park, in the eastern part of the city, contains six lakes. This walk takes in four of them, and includes lovely pathways and unexpected wildlife.
Enter north into El Dorado Park in the 7700 block of East Spring Street, just west of the 605 Freeway. Bear right, past the parking kiosk – fees are $5 Mondays through Thursdays, $6 Fridays, $7 weekends, $8 holidays -- and park near the first T-intersection.
Walk to the right, or north, keeping horseshoe-shaped Horseshoe Lake on your right. Cross a stream and continue past another small lake to your left.
Bend left around the top of the lake, and walk past a bicycle rental shop. Continue straight on, then bend right as the pathway drops down under busy Wardlow Road and emerges in another section of the park.
Follow the paved pathway as it bends to the right. Pass another body of water, on the left, and continue past a small-gauge kiddie railroad on the right. It's the El Dorado Express, and tickets are $3.
Take the pathway closest to the water, and follow the shore line past a boat rental shop, snack bar, and people fishing for, believe it or not, bass. You may see wading birds like herons here.
Follow the path as it cuts between the two lakes. Aim for the underpass you used to walk beneath Wardlow Road, and return to the southern part of the park.
Walk straight on, this time, and follow the paved path as it parallels the San Gabriel River and bike path.
Follow the road to the left, past a training ground for archers. Shortly after, you'll be back at your starting point.
Distance: 4 miles
Difficulty: 1 on a scale of 1 to 5
Duration: 1.5 – 2 hours
Details: Park hours 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fee parking, plus some nearby street parking. Dogs on a leash are OK.
Fleming is the author of "Secret Stairs: A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of Los Angeles" and "Secret Walks: A Walking Guide to the Hidden Trails of Los Angeles." Each month, he leads a free walk at one of his favorite spots in Southern California. Find out more at his Facebook page, Secret Stairs. He can also be reached at email@example.com.