Secret Stairs of LA Walk #4 – Mt. Washington

This Secret Stairs of LA Walk #4 is brought to you by Powdermilk Biscuits. Has your family tried em? Heavens they’re tasty!

This walk takes you through Mt. Washington, a neighborhood that sits high above Los Angeles. If you pay attention to the “delightfully” offensive (and fairly spot-on) hoodmaps…

you’ll find that the area sits right in the middle of LA’s most “gentrified war-zone,” rife with hipsters, pricey coffee shops, people who haven’t taken down their Feel the Bern signs, and steep-ass fucking streets.

Pro-tip:
So, a lot of these walks that meander about these well-to-do neighborhoods often have garage sales on the weekends. I scored a new set of dishes (https://www.crateandbarrel.com/jars-tourron-black-16-piece-dinnerware-set/s345156) for $22 smacks to the urethra. Granted there is a missing mug and plate, but I’ll take it. Your mileage will vary, but that’s a good incentive to do these walks on the weekends as opposed to mid-week. Each time I’ve made purchases at a garage sale I scored something good and the sellers accepted Venmo. So be prepared with the cash or the Venmo.

You can take the Metro Gold Line and get off at the Southwest Museum station and walk a bit south down to Avenue 45.

There’s only a couple sets of stairs on this route, but it still clocks in at a distance of 3.2ish miles, so you’re still “putting in work.” Bring your water bottle and airy clothing. There are a lot of pretty views once you get up to Kemper and Kilbourn.

The walk ends up taking you through Elyria Canyon park as you round your way back to your starting point. It’s a dirt road right in the middle of your walk. It’s hard to get lost unless your’re the “try hard” type who gets lost a lot. Take the time to take in the views and a few deep breaths while you’re at it. Also take a moment to think about what you’re thankful for.

Photos from walk

Secret Stairs of LA Walk #9 – Circles of El Sereno

Today’s walk is brought to you by the number pink and the color threeve. Also, you may have noticed that these walks are not in order. You get no prizes for making this discovery. Now move along!!

In my continuing conquest of kicking asphalt and mastering so many stairs across LA’s vast metropolis, I’ll tell you all about the “Circles of El Sereno.” I should note that I’m writing this from Dry River Brewing near the LA River in Downtown LA. If you like sour beers then you absolutely must go to there!

Much of El Sereno is a working-class town with a large Hispanic population, speckled with shops and tiny eateries so it’s usually bustling pretty well most times during the day.

The walk has you starting at Gambier St. and Eastern, where El Sereno Middle School sits. Fleming writes in his book that this is one of the “doggiest walks” he completed during the course of putting his routes together. I didn’t notice an overbearing volume of barking dogs, which I was worried could mar my walk so that was a good thing.

The Circles of El Sereno are interesting and the walk itself is pretty easy. The first incline is a bit of a doozy, on par with the steps over in Mt. Washington. As you cross Eastern and jaunt over to Lynnfield you catch the white noise of the neighborhood with cars constantly hurdling down the street, muddled with the chatter of children at play and other folks yelling hello to one another from opposite sides of the street. This neighborhood reminds me of where my Great Grandmother lived in Upland, where I spent many Summers as a child—it seemed like the neighborhood was close-knit, people knew one another well. Phelps reveals your first set of stairs as you turn onto Lynnfield, which slice into the side of a large hill and through two sets of circular streets for which this walk is named. The first set of stairs are split in two, divided by Chadwick Cir. When you get to the top, on a sunny day, you’re able to catch sweeping panoramas of the San Gabriel Mountains, Downtown LA, with a lot of peoples’ backyards and abandoned cars.

The stairs are described, in the Secret Stairs of Los Angeles, as painted green. Most of the color has faded from sight leaving only the concrete beneath the paint, which lends to the staircase’s imposing stature.

Making a half-circle around Chadwick will lead you to your next set of steps which descend to Ballard. The streets are fairly tight, so make sure you’re paying attention to oncoming traffic and especially cars coming from behind (I’m looking at you people who listen to music while out and about).

Take Ballard to the left, then left on Chester, and finally another left back to Lynnfield. You’ll end up back at Phelps where you’re on your way to your last set of steps. Turn right on Templeton and left at Castalia, which is a dead-end street. Where the street ends is where you’ll find your final set of steps, which are pretty insignificant honestly but, hey, if you’re reading this then you’re a completionist asshole just like me—so you do your fucking stairs and you like it.

Route on Gmap Pedometer

Photos from the walk