Climbing Los Angeles One Step at a Time

Monday, November 29, 2010

Walk #24 : Silver Lake Terraces East

Distance: 2 miles
Steps: 762
Difficulty: 3
"The steep slopes of Silver Lake Boulevard gulch offer dramatic staircases on both sides. This western-facing episode delivers great Moderne architecture, fine mountain and city views and a real workout." Taken from Secret Stairs by Charles Fleming.

Many people have asked me what I'm going to do after the 42 stair walks are completed and the blog is put to bed. I will be glad to have my Sunday mornings back but also will be looking for more opportunities to hike/bike/walk/explore Southern California. This marks walk #27 and only 15 more remain so if you have read the blog and wished you could join us, you had better start thinking about it! No more excuses. Charles has been on every single walk and Willie has missed 4 in a row! We have two new regulars (Ines and Enrique) and we're glad to have them along. They were along for this one and gave me a hard time about there not being a meal afterwards. We try to fit in breakfast/lunch when possible but in this case they had to settle for coffee/tea at LAMILL Coffee on Silver Lake Blvd. It's not just any cuppa Joe. They also serve great food and the quality/selection of their coffee is something else.
(Enrique, Charles, Ines)

We began our walk on Silver Lake Blvd along a small commercial stretch housing unique shops and dining options with a 7Eleven store in the mix.

An architecture firm with ever-changing art in the front.

We walked less than a block before we turned left and up the hill. We have walked around the Silver Lake Reservoir just up the street many times and always enjoy the wonderful sights. Something about the water views, the mountains, and the great homes that make it a truly special corner of Los Angeles. Exploring the hills above the neighborhood is always a treat and this walk was no exception. The first stairway was an easy 25 steps but right away you were transported to a different place just above the noise of the busy street below.

Soon after we came to our second one with only 76 steps. Just enough to get your heart racing a bit.

This Thanksgiving weekend provided crisp fall weather, a little wind, and very clear skies all of which made for extra clear views of the city.

We didn't have to climb these stairs.

The next staircase did make me huff and puff a little - 108 steps with no landing. Best way for me to tackle these is to skip a few at a time and move as fast as I can to get it over with. The best part about climbing is that with altitude it seems the neighborhoods acquire more charm and you feel more removed from the big city.
Glow-in-the-dark Charles with Enrique behind him.
I'm not sure I've climbed the stairway across the canyon.

Effie Street is so maddening. It has so many starts and stops to it.

This house comes with an elevator and a staircase behind it just in case.

I'm a big fan of Moderne architecture and the house above is an example. Silver Lake has so many amazing homes. In a previous post I featured the designs of the Neutra firm (father and son architects).
Silver Lake Reservoir seen from above with Verdugo Mountains in the background.
Ines and Enrique enjoying the view.
All of a sudden there was a flat area and we were all surprised to see non-curving, regular streets. It lasted a few blocks before we were back on hilly ground. This time we were headed downhill down a most interesting walk street that included some unique doorways.
177 steps going down - my favorite type.

A view from the bottom of the stairs.
At the bottom we encountered Scott Place. It's a pedestrian-only street running from Silver Lake to Dodger Stadium with some interruptions along the way. We had seen another portion of this street on a previous walk.
The easy walking can only last so long. Soon after we came across this steep 82-step stairway dating to 1927. So simple yet graceful.

As soon as we climbed the 82 steps we crossed the street to climb this one - 89 steep steps leading to Silverwood Terrace.
A short block and then down again, this time 104 steps to Easterly Terrace.
I kept asking Charles when we would see the two Streamline Moderne homes mentioned in the book and he assured me we had not missed the Skinner House or the Vanderpool House- designed by William Kesling. He had worked for the famous Rudolph Schindler before branching off on his own. These wonders were constructed in 1936-1937 and to see them side-by-side is a wonderful sight. From the outside they look pristine and so modern after 70-plus years. For me, it was the highlight of the walk.

Down the road is another Kesling home, 'Model Home,' from his early days.
'Model Home' by William Kesling.
A final staircase heading down took us back to the busy Silver Lake Boulevard and our starting point.
My reader/narrator/guide, Charles holding the 'bible.'
We parted ways at LAMILL Coffee but not before a cup of some great coffee!

Feel free to join me as I discover hidden parts of Los Angeles and tackle the remaining 15 stair walks.

Steps walked to date: 12,753.
Follow me on Twitter: @ClimbingLA


  1. This is the 1st walk we've done when it was cold out. It made for a different feel to the walk. I liked the brisk, cool temperatures. More amazing Silver Lake sights. Loved the two Streamline Moderne houses (like art deco ships!). Can't believe our walks are winding down (oh no!).

  2. Hi,
    I live on Tillie st. and I've heard that one of our neighbors tends to bark at the stair walkers (and everyone else as well). Please know that the rest of the neighbors don't feel as he does. Climb away!!!