Dominguez Gap Wetlands (Long Beach)
- Location: Del Mar Avenue and Virginia Vista Court, Bixby Knolls neighborhood of Long Beach. From the 405 Freeway, take the Long Beach Blvd. exit and head north for 0.2 miles. Turn left on 36th St., go 0.3 miles and bear right on Country Club. Go 0.3 miles and turn left on Los Cerritos Park Place. Follow it past the side of the park to a T-junction and turn right on Del Mar. The entrance (unmarked, just a gap in the fence) to the wetlands will be on the left in half a mile, just before Virginia Vista (a private road). Park on the street for free, keeping in mind posted restrictions about time and days.
- Agency: Los Angeles County Department of Public Works
- Distance: 2.3 miles
- Elevation gain: Level
- Suggested time: 1 hour
- Difficulty Rating: G
- Best season: All year
- USGS topo map: Long Beach
- More information: Park description here; Everytrail report here; Yelp page here
- Rating: 1
Most hikers probably won’t drive too far to visit the Dominguez Gap Wetlands, but for residents of Long Beach – the Bixby Knolls area in particular – this pleasant little pocket of open space is an enjoyable place to explore. The park occupies a thin corridor between the 710 Freeway and the Virginia Country Club. In addition to the attractive pools of water, this spot is a good one for birdwatching. Ducks, blackbirds, hawks and cormorants are among the fowl that might be seen here. From Del Mar Avenue, enter the park through a gap in the chain linked fence. Follow a wide walkway a short distance to the beginning of the loop. There are a few benches beneath a shade structure and interpretive plaques describing the restoration process of the wetlands.
The loop can be hiked in either direction. To go clockwise, look for a dirt walkway descending slightly (as opposed to the spur leading to the paved bike trail). The opposite end of the loop branches off on the right in a similar manner; use this if you would prefer to hike counter-clockwise.
The trail borders the wetlands, briefly sharing a portion of the bike path, crossing under a railroad bridge before finally reaching a turnaround point at Del Amo Blvd (about 1.2 miles from the starting point). Along the way keep an eye out for plant life including California Golden Poppies and Indian Paintbrush as well as the diverse array of birds (possibly rabbits too). Once you reach Del Amo, turn around and follow the opposite side of the loop back to Del Mar Avenue.
Text and photography copyright 2014 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities. By reading this, you agree not to hold the author or publisher of the content on this web site responsible for any injuries or inconveniences that may result from hiking on this trail. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.