OUTDOOR FUN AT SANTA FE DAM RECREATION AREA
Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area is a large flood control basin that straddles the San Gabriel River as it descends from the San Gabriel Mountains into the valley near Irwindale.
The more than 800 acres here feature a large lake for fishing and paddling, a nature center, picnic areas with barbeque pits, playground structures, and miles of smooth, flat biking trails. In the summer, you can swim in a water play area.
Well-maintained, smooth trails--perfect for little kids on their own bikes--skirt the lake. Slightly older kids can also ride the dam top. One note: there is no shade atop the dam, so I would not ride here midday in summer. Trails around the lake are shadier.
From May to October, there is a fat $10 fee to drive into the recreation area. (No charge the rest of the year.) But it's money well spent; the park is well maintained.
For more dam biking, try Hansen Dam.