Why deal with crowded beaches along the Southern California Pacific Coast, when you can enjoy a tranquil day at Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area located in Irwindale. Nestled among abandoned gravel quarries in the San Gabriel Valley, the recreation area spans more than 800 acres adjacent to the San Gabriel Freeway (Interstate 605). The flood control dam offers plenty of water recreational options or you can kick back in a comfortable chair and marvel at the majestic beauty of the San Gabriel Mountains.
Overview of Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area
Considered by many locals to be one of the hidden gems in greater Los Angeles, Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area boasts a 70-acre lake that offers visitors the chance to swim during designated periods. The dam operates as a flood control strategy, especially for the snowmelt that runs down the San Gabriel Mountains. However, the dam also acts as a dry dam by collecting gravel that travels down the mountains during the dry season. Year-round fishing and non-motor operated boating round out the primary water recreational activities. Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area is home to numerous federally protect flora and fauna.
Large picnic areas await families, companies, and social organizations at Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area. You need to make a reservation for one of the large picnic areas, although the smaller picnic areas are available on a first come, first serve basis. A boat launch area allows visitors to push out in non-motorized boats. You can rent a kayak, rowboat, or a pedal boat, which is a convenient option for many of our guests. Hiking, biking, and equestrian trails wind through the recreational area. The Swim Beach is open during summer on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 AM until 6 PM. Two children playgrounds keep the little ones occupied for hours on end.
In 2005, the popular Renaissance Pleasure Faire of Southern California relocated from Glen Helen Regional Park to Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area. The San Gabriel River Bike Trail runs through the recreation area, which allows cyclists to connect to regional bike trails. Because of the lack of noise caused by motored watercraft, fish thrive in the deep water lake. You can fish for carp, bluegill, crappie, and largemouth bass. Do not forget to check out the Santa Fe Dam Nature Center, which opens at 10 AM every Saturday. The nature center sponsors bird and nature walks, as well as several other educational programs for all ages.
Visitors to Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area pay an entrance fee charged for each vehicle. The recreation area is open daily from March 1 through October 31. During the off-peak tourist season that runs from November 1 to February 28, the recreation area is open only on weekends. From Holiday Inn Burbank, hop on Interstate 210 and travel about 15 miles until you reach S. Irwindale Avenue. Head south a few minutes and you will find the main entrance to Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area.