Friday, January 10, 2014

The secret stairs of Echo Park

Echo Park

For Christmas, a friend gave me the book Secret Stairs, A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of Los Angeles. So today, three of us explored Echo Park Lake, an area of Los Angeles about 15 miles from Downey.

Echo ParkThe stairs pop up here and there, letting you move between the lake and the neighborhoods that sit above and around the lake. Some of the stairs are rather fancy, like the double staircase at right. Some of them are narrow, steep, and a bit worn. Some are short (12 steps) and some are long (84 steps). But they were all quite fun.

I've never been to Echo Park Lake before. It has a wonderful view of the Los Angeles skyline (above), from a different direction than what we typically see.

Several parts of the lake are covered with netting, which at first glance looked kind of trashy. But it turns out that we picked the right time to visit. After a two-year rehabilitation project, the park has only recently been reopened to the public. The Secret Stairs book comments that the park is the site of the annual Lotus Festival, even though the lotuses have died out in recent years. But part of the rehabilitation project is the restoration of the lotuses, and the nets are a part of that effort.

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