Tucked between the Hollywood Bowl and Camrose Drive in the Hollywood Hills sits the cozy and unusual High Tower neighborhood, a place that feels like an exciting peek into old Hollywood. The homes along Alta Loma Terrace, the pedestrian pathway at the top of the hill, are accessible either by stairs or by the Bolognese-style "high tower" elevator at the northern end of High Tower Drive. The Carl Kay-designed duplex immediately adjacent to the tower was featured as Philip Marlowe's apartment in the 1973 classic "The Long Goodbye."
The following walking tour of the neighborhood is adapted from my book "Walking LA: 38 Walking Tours Exploring Stairways, Streets and Buildings You Never Knew Existed". Free street parking is available on Camrose Drive, although neighborhood parking restrictions apply when shows are playing at the Hollywood Bowl.
High Tower Walking Tour (Approximate Distance: Less than 1/2 Mile; Difficulty: Moderate):
-Begin at the northwest corner of Highland Ave. and Camrose Dr. near Highland-Camrose Park, a quiet sanctuary walled off from Highland Ave. that provides a convenient picnic area for patrons of the nearby Hollywood Bowl. Head away from Highland to go west on Camrose.
-Turn right on Rockledge Rd. Straight ahead on Rockledge you'll see a gorgeous white stucco Spanish-style home with extensive blue tilework and a long balcony of arches overlooking the front courtyard.
-Follow the road as it curves up the hill. The Mediterranean houses are increasingly ornate and colorful as you continue upward; some even have castle-like architectural flourishes.
-When you reach the end of the cul de sac, you'll come to Los Altos Pl., a pedestrian walkway. Descend the short flight of stairs and continue along the narrow path between homes.
-Cross High Tower Dr., which is lined with single-car garages for the residents of the neighborhood's hilltop homes. To the right you'll see the pretty tower for which the street is named. This structure houses a locked elevator to which only residents have a key. Continue along the path on the other side of High Tower Dr.
-Turn right on Broadview Terr., another pedestrian path, and continue up the stairs. As you approach the tower, you'll notice a raised clearing on your right. This patch of land provides a nice vantage point from which to admire the southeast view of Hollywood. The historic neighborhood of Whitley Heights is visible on the other side of Highland Ave.
-Ascend the stairs next to High Tower.
-Turn right on Alta Loma Terr. This path is shady and peaceful, and the houses on either side are accessible only by way of this pathway, hence the detached rows of garages on the street below. Architectural styles range from Mediterranean to Japanese to rambling clapboard farmhouse.
-Turn right to continue along Alta Loma Terr. You'll come to a charming fairy tale-like house with miniature doors and windows at 6840.
-Turn left to descend the stairs.
-At the bottom of the stairs you'll find yourself in a private fenced-off parking lot for the residents of Alta Loma Terr. Turn left to head toward the black iron gate exiting onto Highland Ave.
-Turn right on Highland and walk one block back to your starting point at the corner of Highland and Camrose.