Author touts Forest Lawn as unique hiking spot
There’s plenty of hiking trails around Los Angeles, but one native author has meticulously carved out a trek through a massive, yet unconventional landmark — Forest Lawn Memorial Park Glendale.
Walking 10,000 steps a day — roughly five miles — is a popular health mantra that Paul Haddad married with the idea of exploring unfamiliar parts of the Southland in his book, “10,000 Steps a Day in L.A.”
He lays out more than 40 excursions on foot, with one of the most unique being through the Glendale cemetery, known for being the final resting place for many celebrities.
“It’s an interesting walk. It’s got beautiful views of downtown Los Angeles and it’s got a great museum,” Haddad said. “It’s a really interesting place that not many people know about and it’s not really explored.”
Over several pages, Haddad lists specific directions that lead to some of the cemetery’s historic mausoleums, statues and graves of celebrities from yesteryear.
It all begins after parking on Cathedral Drive. From there, the first notable memorial plot on the walk belongs to L. Frank Baum, author of the “Wizard of Oz” series of children’s books.
Forest Lawn staffers don’t provide details of where famous people are buried, but Haddad went ahead and did the grunt work for readers.
His trip eventually leads to some of his favorite resting places belonging to Larry Fine of the Three Stooges and Chico Marx of the Marx Brothers.
“[The route] tries to accomplish both a very scenic route that takes you past the graves of stars from Hollywood’s Golden Age,” Haddad said.
Visitors who follow his instructions will also find the plots of Nat King Cole, Mary Pickford, Humphrey Bogart, Jimmy Stewart and George and Gracie Burns, whose epitaphs on both their markers read “Together Again.”
“Forest Lawn may not be the happiest place on earth, but for many Hollywood royalty, there clearly is no better place for a final act,” Haddad wrote in his book.
Then there’s resting places for celebrities such as pop star Michael Jackson that are closed off to the public.
Haddad also describes the Forest Lawn Museum as an impressive date idea, one that features exhibits of classic movie posters, motorcycles and Lego sculptures.
While it might not be appropriate to treat a date to an outdoor picnic on cemetery grounds, there are several shaded benches along the roadways that offer nice respites, he wrote.
Haddad said he would rate the Forest Lawn excursion from beginner to moderate in terms of difficulty and should take about two to three hours to finish.
The only other nearby trip on foot Haddad mentions in his book takes visitors past the Travel Town Museum. It weaves through Glendale and Burbank by the Los Angeles River and includes stops at the Bette Davis Picnic Area and Los Angeles Equestrian Center.
“Los Angeles offers many opportunities to stay fit by walking loops throughout the city, so it doesn’t feel like you’re getting a workout because you’re enjoying just exploring the city,” Haddad said. “Ten thousand steps is just an excuse to get out and see the city and uncover some history.”