Secret Walks and Stairs of LA


I am enjoying being a tourist in my own city but trying to go above and beyond what the regular tourist would do.  Hopefully I can inspire locals and visitors alike to discover more of LA than just the Chinese Theatre, the Hollywood walk of fame, and Rodeo Drive.

My “re-discovering LA” day trip series continues with a visit to one of the secret walks in Los Angeles.  My friend Mark bought a book on secrets walks and stairs and we decided to begin by visiting the Tujunga Wash Greenway.   This walk begins at the northwest corner of Coldwater Canyon and Oxnard street in the San Fernando Valley.  It goes parallel to Coldwater canyon ave and ends when you reach Burbank Blvd.  The wash receives flood waters from the Hansen Dam located nine miles to the north; which eventually end up in the Los Angeles river.  After crossing the beautifully decorated gates, we walked along the concrete trail admiring the local Sycamore trees, the cactus, and the sage.  As you look to your right and down into the wash canal, you will see the biggest art murals in the world.

It was a quick and fun history lesson of the city as we began to google the different names and years noted on the images to learn more.  Some of our favorites were the ones depicting the origin of the California Republic flag, the Zoot Suit riots, the Civil and Gay Rights movements, and the first settlers of Afro-Mexicans of Alta California.

The mural is a public art project that took seven years to complete from 1976 to 1983.  According to Wikipedia, the mural is 13 feet high, and 2,754 feet (840 m) long and it covers 6 city blocks. The mural was designed by Tujunga Wash consultant Judith Baca who formed a team of 400 artists to beautify the area.  We didn’t see any other tourists out there, only a couple of homeless people taking shade under the trees but minding their own business.  Although we didn’t do this we thought it would be nice to bring a picnic basket or just buy burritos at the nearby Chipotle and have lunch on the grass while admiring the art.  Next time…

Next up on our walk was discovering some of the secret stairs…

Did you know that LA has over 200 staircases?  Once upon a time when the city did not have its huge highways full of cars, people rode around in buses, trolleys, and streetcars.  The people that lived on the steep hillsides needed a way to get down to the streets to catch the public transport so many staircases were built.  You can find groups of stairs in the hill communities of Echo Park, Silver Lake, Highland Park, Hollywood, Pasadena, Santa Monica and El Sereno among others.  Going up and down stairs is not only a great way to get a good work-out but also to learn a bit of history of the city.

On this particular day we decided to check out the Beachwood Canyon area; which features around six sets of stairs, some steeper than others, but all beautifully made in granite.  The walk was around 2.5 miles and took about an hour to complete.  You will climb different sets of stairs ranging anywhere from 143 steps to 178 steps.  The area offers great views of the beautiful huge houses inside and around the canyon, the Hollywood sign and lake, downtown, and other communities in the distance.  We parked the car on the street right across from the Village coffee ship at 2695 N. Beachwood Dr. and we began our walk heading north on the road.

The first set of granite stairs found to the right of the house at 2800

Sign marking the gated housing community known as Hollywoodland

On Durand and Mulholland Drive you will enjoy views of the Hollywood lake

and the “faux” Hollywood castle

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beautiful views of houses in the canyon and downtown in the background

For more detailed information on the walk, here is the excerpt from the book that I found on the internet:  secretstairs-la.com

Categories: Coming home, United StatesTags: , , , , , , , ,

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