L.A. Walks

Distance: 2.3 miles

Duration: 1 hour

Difficulty: 2 on a scale of 1 to 5

Details: Street parking available, dogs OK (but no dogs in meadow); on Metro's 201 bus line (Tia Lai / Los Angeles Times / October 26, 2012)

Silver Lake has recently been named the hipster capital of cool. Its reservoir and meadow provide great walking and a green urban outpost right in town.

1. Start walking from the Silver Lake Recreation Center, which (from about 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.) offers clean bathrooms and drinking fountains. Join the joggers, strollers and joggers with strollers on the clockwise lakeside circuit.

2. A soft walking path dotted with redwoods lines the western edge of the reservoir, a 1906 construction with a capacity of 795 million gallons of water.

3. Near the intersection with Hawick Street is an information sign alerting you to the presence, from February to July, of nesting great blue herons. Look into the tallest eucalyptus trees to see their nests. Or just admire the ducks and geese that float on the water year-round and the hawks that wheel overhead.

4. After turning right on Tesla Avenue, find some benches and drinking fountains in the shade next to the Neighborhood Nursery School, a preschool dating from 1952.

5. Silver Lake Meadow is a 3-acre, dog-free, self-proclaimed "quiet space" that on weekends attracts families, picknickers and bocce ball players. Signs specifically encourage you to take your shoes off.

6. Across busy Silver Lake Boulevard are several homes designed by local architectural dynasty Richard and Dion Neutra. (Neutra Place, featuring some of the best, is just a block east.) Across the lake in the other direction, search the ridge for the elegant sloping roof line of famed Silver Top, the crowning achievement of another great L.A. architect, John Lautner.

7. Pass the popular dog park — this is why dogs are not allowed in the meadow — and turn right on Van Pelt Place to return to your starting point.

Charles Fleming is the author of "Secret Stairs: A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of Los Angeles."

charles.fleming@latimes.com