Belvedere Community Regional Park, an unexpectedly lush urban oasis in East Los Angeles, features 30 acres of baseball, basketball, volleyball, soccer, swimming, skating and even trout fishing. Oh, and nice walking too.
A path winds north from East Third Street through Belvedere Park, eventually crossing over the 60 Freeway and into a northern section of the park. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
1. Begin this walk on East 3rd Street, at the intersection of Civic Center Way, just east of North Mednik Avenue. Walk east a half block, then turn left to enter the park.
Jose Rude Calderon's "Leaping Fish, Nature's Cycles," has a line of visitors on Belvedere Park Lake. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
2. Bear right around the water's edge, and go counter-clockwise around the lake. The wildlife includes varieties of ducks and waterfowl, and two very large "trout" leaping from the water. In summer, there's a fishing derby here.
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3. At the other side of the lake, near the amphitheater seating for the stage that sits like an island in the north end of the water, take a staircase up one level and turn right on a sidewalk going north away from the lake, toward a public restroom. (You can also get up there on a sloped walkway.)
Jose Franco, with Jose Jr., 2, in his arms and Joshua, 5, at his side, use a pedestrian walkway to cross over the 60 Freeway from the southern to the northern part of Belvedere Park. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
4. Follow the sidewalk across a wide lawn, keeping the parking lot on your left, aiming for the sound of the Pomona Freeway. When you get close to it, take the pedestrian walkway over the freeway. On the other side, cross East 1st Street, then walk right on the sidewalk a few feet and turn left into the northern part of the park.
The northern section of Belvedere Park in East L.A., easily accessed from East Caesar E. Chavez Avenue, has several sport fields for soccer and baseball. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
5. Walk straight ahead, passing covered picnic areas, play areas, tennis courts, basketball courts, soccer fields and baseball diamonds. (Not quite within view are a skate park, over to the left, and a swimming pool, to your right. Both are open to the public.)
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6. At the end of the last baseball diamond, turn right, and walk along a parking lot to the end of the sidewalk. Then turn right into the far left field of the diamond, and walk under the shade of pine trees.
7. When you hit the basketball courts, turn in to the right. Walk straight and down a ramp, to the main sidewalk. Turn left there to find your way back to East 1st Street, and the freeway pedestrian overpass, and back to Belvedere Park Lake.
Distance: 2 miles
Difficulty: 1, on a scale of 1 to 5
Duration: 1 hour
Details: Dogs on leash are OK. Free and metered street parking. Handicap accessible. Metro Gold Line, East L.A./Civic Center Station; Metro bus lines 258 and 68. Park closed from sunset to sunrise. View larger map on latimes.com
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Fleming is the author of "Secret Stairs: A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of Los Angeles" and "Secret Stairs East Bay: A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of Berkeley and Oakland."