Climbing Los Angeles One Step at a Time

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Walk #2: Eagle Rock

Distance: 3.8 miles
Steps: 328
Difficulty: 3
"Here is a relatively gentle walk through a little-known section of a little-known corner of the city, rife with solid local architecture and some of the city's few "sidewalk staircase" streets." Taken from Secret Stairs by Charles Fleming.

The Eagle Rock section of the City of Los Angeles is bordered by Pasadena, South Pasadena, Glendale and the Glassell Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. A boulder easily seen from the 2 Freeway supposedly casts a birdlike shadow thereby giving the neighborhood its name. Eagle Rock is becoming more and more hip and gentrified. What I enjoyed most about this walk was the eclectic nature of this section of the City. At some points we were climbing hills and then we would encounter flat sections only to see more gritty areas one staircase away.

Our walks usually include encounters with cats and dogs and we are usually surprised by something. One constant during our walks is a critique of houses and what we would do to make them just 'right' or what we like/dislike about a particular structure. Playing architectural critic is a very important part of the experience. Maybe this is why our walks are ALWAYS longer than the Hidden Staircases says they are. For us it's a hike/walk, architecture tour, and a botanical experience all rolled into one. Oh, and there is the lunch thing at the end as well!

Charles, Willie and I began our walk on Colorado Blvd. Very quickly we encountered and old (for LA) area with a mix of housing styles and heavy on charm.

One of two front-yard swings on this walk.

The first staircase was only 31 steps but was so simple and elegant and led to a sloping walkway.

And then it was a quick drop into another neighborhood.

The more we walk the more aware we become and in addition to swings, this walk had old cars as well. I forgot what type of car this was but it sure caught my eye sitting there in an empy lot in a residential neighborhood.

Because Los Angeles is far from flat we are truly blessed with amazing views and changes of scenery. From urban to hillside views to country lanes, each walk brings its own unique qualities. The next staircase contained 47 steps and led to the back of an elementary school and various styles of architecture.

Eventually we ended up on very busy Figueroa Street which leads to Downtown LA and beyond. This 64-step stairway was quite different. An otherwise bland stairway became the canvas for a painting of Tai Chi praciticioners (and for some cholo/tagger graffiti too).

Pictured are Tai Chi Masters Charles and Willie

We climbed the steps and found a not so attractive staircase and walkway but that's how it works on these walks. You just never know!

We were soon back on Figueroa and crossing the street again.

Figueroa Street looking north towards the 2 Fwy.
On our climb up the stairs pictured above we encountered some scary looking guys (I think they were drunk) and entered a more rustic, unkempt area.

These were all over the gate!
The obligatory kitty encounter.
We eventually ended at the top of a very steep street. On the way down there were two options to navigate the hill - steep street or multiple stairway.

Front yard swing #2 on this walk.

When I was a kid growing up in New Rochelle, NY we had treehouses but they were never this elaborate and definitely not built on a Eucalyptus tree.

At the bottom of the hill was a flat neighborhood with older homes.

Nothing screams Southern California more than these types of aparment buildings. I found the Yosemite Manor to be a particularly good example.

Old car #2
The street below had a certain gracefulness about it and the stairs were gentle and spread out.

A little Fourth of July spirit.
As we headed downhill toward the beginning of the walk we could see Downtown Glendale.
This took us back to Colorado Blvd. for a stretch before reaching our starting point.
We didn't eat here but the sign was cool.
Cacao Mexicatessen has a flower shop attached.

The end of our walk took us to lunch at Cacao Mexicatessen on Colorado Blvd. We have eaten there in the past and have always enjoyed the food and ambiance. You can also purchase Mexican gourmet items there.
Nothing like chips and chile with an Horchata after a long walk!

Feel free to join me as I discover hidden parts of Los Angeles and tackle the remaining 31 stair walks.

Steps walked to date: 4,865

Follow me on Twitter: @ClimbingLA


  1. Another great walk and another great post. I particularly liked this one because I really didn't know Eagle Rock well at all so it was fun to see more of it. I really liked the neighborhoods on the hillsides. I'm ready for the next one! Signed Tai Chi Master, Charles

  2. How cool Bobis !

  3. Where does the staircase climb begin? At the corner of Colorado -- and what's the nearest cross street? Thanks.

  4. Hi, Thanks for writing! It's at Colorado/Townsend.

  5. Hi Robert - I tried to do this walk but didn't find the first staircase entrance on Townsend. Is it off Townsend north of Colorado? thanks for the blog.

  6. I wish you had eaten at Cindy's. Looks like that might have been its own adventure!