Climbing Los Angeles One Step at a Time

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Walk #13 - Laveta Terrace

Distance: 2 miles
Steps: 236
Difficulty: 2
"This is a relatively gentle Echo Park walk that takes in the neighborhood's most elegant staircase, sweeping views of Chavez Ravine and Downtown Los Angeles, a stroll through Elysian Park, and a look at hidden city streets." Taken from Secret Stairs by Charles Fleming.

Echo Park is yet another Los Angeles neighborhood that is rarely explored. Most people just drive through the area on their way Downtown on Glendale Blvd or on their way to Dodger Stadium. I found it to be full of surprises and lively neighborhoods. And of course, there are the cats. We seem to run across them on every walk and this one was no exception. Our first stairway was accessed on Sunset Blvd. and took us up 74 steps to Laveta Terrace. Before we reached it though, we met a very friendly lady (Beatrice) who used to live in the neighborhood and who was very interested in our walks and suggested other stairways. This has happened to us more than once whereby locals are kind enough to stop and chat and suggest additional stairways or points of interest. You can't meet people like this while zipping by in your car!

Our first staircase - right on Sunset Blvd.

Making sure I know which way is up..

Looking west from Laveta Terrace

Soon after landing on Laveta Terrace we encountered this very grand staircase. It was very wide and more well-maintained than most staircases we've come across and it led to a surprise at the top.

Laveta Terrace staircase

Almost to the top.

This was the view from the top of the staircase and I was awestruck as I have a thing for these palm trees. The Washingtonia robusta (Mexican Fan Palm or Mexican Washingtonia) is a palm native to northwestern Mexico and grow to 25m and sometimes to 30m (from Wikipedia). These are the trees that many associate with LA and when a street is lined with them the result is spectacular. The City of LA is no longer planting these (they make exceptions) as they can be messy when the Santa Ana winds cause the fronds to rain down on neighborhoods. They also do very little to provide shade and do not clean as much carbon monoxide as do shadier trees. If you look around LA you will see many varieties of palm trees but this is the one that I can't get enough of.

Washingtonia robusta (Mexican Fan Palm or Mexican Washingtonia)

A view of the Hollywood sign from Laveta Terrace.

To many, Elysian Park is just a short cut to Dodger Stadium. In reality, it is a park with a long history and amazing views of Downtown LA and Chavez Ravine - the home of Dodger Stadium. We accessed the park from above and walked along a ridge overlooking the park.

As we were leaving the park Charles made a new friend - Koko

I've seen St. Andrew's Ukranian Orthodox Church many times from a distance but never got close to it until this walk. As we exited the park we were able to walk to the rear part of the structure and take in the view.

Back in the park are these brick stairs leading up to what was once a large private home. The white stone marker is a memorial to the those who sacrificed in WWI and was placed there by the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution).

Dodger Stadium as seen from Elysian Park.

View of Downtown from Elysian Park.

We left Elysian Park and headed downhill towards Sunset Blvd.

Back on Sunset Blvd. we climbed these steps which led to a walkway that paralleled the busy street. On our walks we have encountered other streets such as this one that I never imagined existed. We followed this quirky stretch until a staircase led us back down to the boulevard and another feline encounter.

While we ended yet another walk with a meal - this time at Lot 1 Cafe at Sunset and Laveta Terrace - our walking was far from done for the day.

The Big Parade LA
The Big Parade LA - June 12 & 13, 2010. A 2-day walk through Los Angeles covering 35 miles and over 100 stairways. It even included an overnight camping opportunity in Silver Lake! There were multiple points from which to join the group and Charles and I met up with them for part of the Echo Park section after finishing our own Secret Stairs walk and of course lunch! We had a very busy day walking through an interesting part of Los Angeles. This walk is very similar to one of the upcoming walks in the book so I am not going to write too much about it.

We knew in advance when the Parade walkers would arrive and we waited for them at the Echo Park Boathouse. We were treated to a song by a very colorful character who told the story of Aimee Semple McPherson, founder of the Foursquare Church, whose headquarters (Angelus Temple) is across the street from the park.

Some of the guest walkers for this portion of the walk

The group that arrived resting their weary feet - and Charles standing up.

The Big Parade Leader (Dan Koeppel) making an announcement.

We had a spectator as we climbed a stairway.

Carroll Avenue - we will be doing a walk that includes this street full of Victorian houses.

The Big Paraders march on.

Yet another LA mural. This one is on Sunset/Echo Park Ave. I love these!

Our combined Secret Stairs/Big Parade walk ended with a cool glass of cherry lemonade at Delilah Bakery. We have eaten there before and they serve delicious sandwiches and of course there are the CUPCAKES! Charles wrote a piece about this place on his blog: .

Feel free to join me as I discover hidden parts of Los Angeles and tackle the remaining 33 stair walks.

Steps walked to date: 3,934

Follow me on Twitter: @ClimbingLA


  1. This was one of the harder days yet but only because we doubled up with the Big Parade. How many new cat friends do I have now? Must be 5 or 6. Can't wait for the next walk, and the next one, and the...

  2. You are so right about those palms. People like me who live far away from CA definitely think of those trees lining the streets of LA. Especially in Beverly Hills 90210! Ha! Ha!
    Do they still do The Big Walk LA? That might have to go on my bucket list.