Climbing Los Angeles One Step at a Time

Monday, December 6, 2010

Walk #15 : Avalon-Baxter Loop

Distance: 3.5 miles
Steps: 695
Difficulty: 4.5

"This is Echo Park's most rigorous walk - the highest number of steps in the minimum amount of time - with a surplus of physical beauty. Along the way are vies from Downtown to Westwood, a walk in Elysian Park, and a Who's Who of the historic Los Angeles arts scene and of the area's famous communists and socialists." Taken from Secret Stairs by Charles Fleming.

Well, I didn't run across any 'commies' but we saw some awesome views and massive stairways. It was a beautiful fall day and Ines and Enrique joined us on the walk. They are the new 'regulars' - Willie, where have you been?! The Echo Park section of Los Angeles lies in the shadow of Downtown Los Angeles and has many old homes and stunning views. Many people merely drive by it on their way elsewhere but I know for sure that it's worth a stop if you know where to look! We began our walk in front of Delilah Bakery and did not start with a decadent cupcake. A few blocks up Echo Park Avenue and we were soon on Avalon Street and our first staircase.

What a way to start the morning! 192 steps up the hillside.

The payoff was immediate. From here you can see the Hollywood sign and the Griffith Observatory.
We went from city to hillside vies to urban park - Elysian Park. This park is not very well-known and often used only as a shortcut to nearby Dodger Stadium but it really is worth the visit. I have been here a few times and a recent Stair Walk (#13) included a portion of this park but even this one surprised me. We were high above the park and our walk inside it was brief but memorable.
Elysian Park

Enrique, Charles, and Ines inside the park.

As I said, we were in the park for a tiny bit before heading downhill only to head uphill again to face the 231-step Baxter Street stairs. Yes, 231!
Charles happily climbing..
Ines and Enrique on their way up.

The views were non-stop. This one is of the hills of Glendale.

A view form the top of Baxter Street stairs.

Downtown LA as seen form Elysian Park.

We were now back in the park but the walk did not take us deep into Elysian Valley. Rather, we were up above with houses on the left and the park on the right. We did take a short trail and for a brief moment we were lost in an urban forest.

We even spotted a wild flamingo that did not move in our presence.

Still in the park but on the edge of it, we spotted this large water tank and next to it - HORSES. There is a property that borders the park which is so old that it is zoned for horses. We continued along a dirt path briefly before entering a neighborhood again.

The Gang checking out the horses.

The 5 Fwy was right below us. You can see the LA River and the Rio de Los Angeles State Park mentioned in a recent blogpost.
Back in the hilltop neighborhood but it still felt rural.

We soon came upon a beautifully-maintained stairway containing only 129 steps. It's a walk street with cottages on both sides.

This area was once known as 'Red Hill' due to its lefty inhabitants but I never saw a single hammer and sickle. What we did see was the lawn sign pictured below....
I'm gonna bite my tongue on this one!

Looks like a wedding cake.
As we were headed down the hill we spotted two cars. This one drew our attention as there is STYROFOAM inside the bumper. Seriously, I had no idea that modern bumpers were made of this.
Across the street was this 'parked' car. Someone was probably out late the night before and did not want to bother with parking it. Next time take a cab!
This little pocket of Los Angeles seemed a world away from the bustle of the city. Echo Park, one of the oldest neighborhoods in LA is being 'discovered.'

Our last stairway consisted of 143 steps and led to Princeton Avenue and some great views.

We then headed downhill and turned on to Echo Park Avenue.

We ended yet another memorable walk at a place very familiar to us as we've eaten at Delilah Bakery on many occasions. Delicious food served up in a true neighborhood setting.

Feel free to join me as I discover hidden parts of Los Angeles and tackle the remaining 14 stair walks.

Steps walked to date: 14,523.
Follow me on Twitter: @ClimbingLA


  1. That one was a killer but amazing. I think I'm still sore 2 weeks later. Only 14 to go?! The end is getting nearer. What will do next?

  2. Well, Charles Fleming is working on a book of Bay Area stair walks...