The Secret Stairs Of Los Angeles

Staircases abound in Silver Lake, Echo Park, Mt. Washington, and El Sereno, and the elevated areas of Highland Park, Hollywood, and Santa Monica, and can be found as far from downtown L.A. as Pasadena, Pacific Palisades and Avalon, on Catalina Island.
Many of them are forgotten and unused paths, which offer direct routes into fascinating Los Angeles neighborhoods that many Angelinos have never seen.

"Officially defined as streets made of stairs, these passages were built during the streetcar era of the early 20th century so commuters who got off in the valley could reach their homes in the hills. The writer Dan Koeppel started to walk them himself about a decade ago, and he hasn't really stopped."

Dan Koeppel is the organizer of the Big Parade, a two-day walk in Los Angeles which includes about 100 public stairways over 35 miles, from Downtown to Mt. Hollywood. The walk runs on a timetable, and is designed as a series of attached loops. Along the way there's music, guest speakers, and art and history lectures.

"The majority are people who have not walked more than five or six miles in L.A. in the streets in their entire lives," Koeppel says. "Taking them and showing them what L.A. is like on foot -- showing them secret passages and landmarks and things they never see from outside the window of their car -- has been just really fun."

Read more about the Los Angeles Big Parade here.