Upcoming L.A. Urban Hikes: 10 Bridges, 'Secret Stairs,' The Big Parade, and More

Urban hikers at The Big Parade in 2011 | Photos: Zach Behrens/KCET
Urban hikers at The Big Parade in 2011 | Photos: Zach Behrens/KCET

The month of May is a big one for hiking Los Angeles' myriad of stairways, among other interesting infrastructure (if you're not familiar with L.A.'s so-called "secret stairs," watch this video). Here's a list of upcoming public opportunities for May 2012:

Sunday, May 6: 10 Bridges
Dan Koeppel is holding the final monthly practice walk before his annual Big Parade (see below). Unlike other walks, this one has very few staircases and instead focuses on hitting 10 bridges across the L.A. River. A total of 14 miles with stops, the kid-friendly (read: stroller-friendly) walk goes from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (from the Chinatown Gold Line Station to the Vernon Blue Line Station), but Koeppel is always good about creating points where people can easily join or bail (he also updates locations live via Twitter). Here are all the nitty gritty details and here's the main Facebook event.

Sunday, May 6: "Secret Stairs"
Charles Fleming, author of "Secret Stairs: A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of Los Angeles," will lead his monthly walk in Echo Park, combining four walks from his book into one. He rates it a 3.5 (out of 5) in terms of difficulty, and it begins at 10 a.m. at the corner of Echo Park Avenue and Delta Street near the Chango coffee house. More info.

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Tuesday, May 8: Tomato Pie
Climb some stairs, reward yourself with pizza with Dave Ptach and the Los Angeles Stairstreet Advocates. This will be a prelude to The Big Parade (once again, see below). Starts at 7 p.m. in front of Silver Lake's Baller Hardware on Hyperion Ave. at Tracy St. More info here.

Thursday, May 10: Sierra Club
Training for a big summer hike, but can't get to the steep hills of the San Gabriels right after work? The Sierra Club is doing a series of several hikes -- weighted backpacks encouraged -- every other week. Meets at 6:30 p.m. at the Albertsons in Highland Park (133 W. Avenue 45, L.A., 90065). Check for full details on the club's Angeles Chapter activities calendar.

Tuesday, May 15: Tomato Pie (Again)

It's a weekly walk; see above.

Friday, May 18: Friday Prologue to the Big Parade
In anticipation of The Big Parade on Saturday and Sunday, organizers Dan Koeppel and Bob Inman have scheduled this 11-mile walk from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for those who want a leg up on the epic weekend event. Called Tales of the Arroyo, it "takes in the neighborhoods surrounding the Arroyo Seco from South Pasadena to Montecito Heights," explains the Facebook event listing. "Along with some public stairways, we'll make a point of enjoying the craftsman tradition and other historic/cultural assets of northeast LA." Full details here.

Saturday, May 19 and Sunday, May 20: The Big Parade
Here's the big one. This is a special two-day hike that starts in downtown L.A. and ends near the Hollywood sign; in between are about 100 staircases and around 36 miles (don't worry, there are a number of loops in the yet-to-be-announced route that allow for people to easily join for short segments). For Dan Koeppel, this and his other walks are not just about getting out and exercising, but about getting to know the city and your neighbors more intimately. It's a truly a special event, always filled with special guests and stops. Not all details are published yet (Update: the route and times have now been published), but Facebook events have been created for each day here and here.

Say hello: "Like" SoCal Wanderer on Facebook and follow @SoCal_Wanderer on Twitter to talk about the latest in outdoors with other enthusiasts.

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