The Bosque Del Rio Hondo Park (Spanish for “forest of the deep river”) is a 5-acre park within the 277-acre Whittier Narrows Recreation Area, a lush and wild natural area with excellent bird-watching in the riparian wetlands. The original San Gabriel Mission was established here in 1771; in 1775, after a flood and fire, the mission was relocated to its present location, above the floodplain, in today’s city of San Gabriel. In recent years, the area has been known as Marrano Beach, an unofficial local hangout. Like other areas behind flood-protection dams, the site features an un-concreted, relatively natural streambed. In addition to the Rio Hondo, which flows year round, the site also features seasonal creeks: Mission Creek and Butterfly Creek. It is plentiful with critters, including herons, coots, ducks, hawks, turkey vultures, rabbits, turtles, frogs, and even (harmless) gopher snakes.
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