Griffith Park and environs are laced with equestrian trails, and some of them offer good walking too. This one features a horse tunnel under the freeway and a horse bridge over the Los Angeles River. Of course the horses have the right of way, but this route is a great flat walk for bipeds too.
1. Start walking from Zoo Drive, near the main gate to the Los Angeles Live Steamers, a marvelous collection of small-gauge steam locomotive trains. Walk toward the freeway to find a wide dirt path. Turn right and head east, going with the flow of roaring traffic.
2. After a short distance, turn left and head downhill as the path goes underneath the freeway. As you emerge on the opposite side, turn left and begin walking along the L.A. River with the concrete-lined waterway on your right.
3. You can't miss the one-of-a-kind equestrian suspension bridge, on your right, stretching across the river. Note the weight-limit indications that the bridge will hold only a certain number of horses at a time. If there are horses on the bridge, or approaching, wait for them to pass.
4. On the opposite side, turn right, and walk east with the river on your right and the massive exercise yards and stables of the Los Angeles Equestrian Center on your left.
5. After about a quarter of a mile, at the first big clearing, bend toward the left and follow a split in the river. After 100 yards take the first right and cross another pedestrian bridge. Bear right again and continue east along the waterway, keeping to the left where the path splits in two.
6. The wide equestrian path will spill into shady green space — known as Bette Davis Picnic Area, named for the actress who once lived opposite the park. Continue more or less straight ahead and climb a slight slope to a break in the fence to Riverside Drive. Turn right and walk toward the freeway.
7. Carefully cross a freeway onramp and offramp, then turn right into Zoo Drive. Walk along the sidewalk for a short bit, then use the equestrian trail bordering the freeway to return to the Live Steamers and your starting point.
Fleming is the author of "Secret Stairs: A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of Los Angeles" and "Secret Walks: A Walking Guide to the Hidden Trails of Los Angeles."
A walk in Griffith Park near the Los Angeles Equestrian Center
Distance: 2.6 miles
Difficulty: 2, on a scale of 1 to 5
Duration: 1 1/4 hours
Details: Ample street parking. Dogs on a leash are OK. Metro bus 96 stops nearby.
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