The 18th edition of the Great Los Angeles Walk returns on Saturday, November 18, 2023! (Always the Saturday before Thanksgiving.) Details to come.
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Sunday, November 24, 2019

The Great Los Angeles Walk 2019 Recap: From Arcadia to Downtown L.A., Hundreds Conquer Nearly 20 Miles

This was a long one. The map said 18.68 miles, but let's face it -- by the time we walked from the Metro Gold Line, to the Redwood Bar & Grill at the end, and back, it was probably more like 20 miles. Wear it proud: Another successful walk is in the books, and this one was epic!

The Great Los Angeles Walk hiked down Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena and Figueroa St. in Highland Park (among other streets before and after) for its 14th edition, and hundreds of passionate Angelenos -- not to mention dozens more from out of town and even out of state -- hiked from Arcadia County Park to the Grand Park, in front of Los Angeles City Hall, on Saturday, Nov. 23.

This year's Walk eschewed our normal downtown-to-the-ocean route to try something a bit different. For many, this was their first time walking the length of Pasadena, or even seeing Highland Park. The sights were new and interesting, and we got to see it all up close.

Monarch Donuts in Arcadia served up goodies for Walkers before the morning (including what have been called the greatest apple fritters in L.A. — sorry to those who got there late and the treats were already sold out!)Plenty of returnees, and a lot of newbies, were on hand to once again celebrate community and explore their city on foot.

We began with a quick pep talk from Modern Hiker founder Casey Schreiner, who discussed the joys of walking and exploring Southern California on foot. From there, after I gave a few housekeeping notes, we were off.

The walk passed the Santa Anita race track and mall, and saw high school marching bands preparing for a competition set to be held there later that morning. We then crossed Baldwin Ave. to the Los Angeles County Arboretum, decked out for the holidays, where some additional walkers were waiting for us.

We then walked under the 210 and over to Foothill, where we marveled at some of the mansions (both old and new) and large property lots, before swinging back down to Michillinda and the Pasadena City Limits. We picked up even more Walkers, then headed west on Colorado Blvd. through Pasadena.

Colorado boasted classic Route 66 hotels (this is part of the Mother Road, after all), as well as Pasadena City College, several record stores (which I must visit), and historic architecture. Then came Old Town Pasadena, where Walkers split off into various restaurants for lunch. Resuming (and passing by spectator stands, already being constructed for the Rose Parade), we then gathered at Defenders Park, and walked the Colorado Blvd. bridge (over the Arroyo Seco).

On the other side was a bit more Pasadena, before hitting the Los Angeles City Limits and Eagle Rock. We then swung south on Figueroa, and walked down through Highland Park, and then over the L.A. River to downtown and Chinatown. We ended in Grand Park, overlooking the City Hall, and then celebrated afterward at downtown's Redwood Bar & Grill.

Thanks to everyone who made all of the trek, some of it, or even just helped give rides to their friends. Here are some highlights from the day:

Monarch Donuts' Jonathan, slinging them apple fritters and more. Yum!

Memorial fountain at the Arcadia County Park

The crowd gathers

Modern Hiker's Casey Schreiner speaks, with me in the background

More gathering

And they're off!

"Sidewalk Closed?" I don't think so.

High school bands prepare to battle in the Santa Anita parking lot

Passing the track

Why, yes we did.

Old train depot at the Arboretum

Meeting at the Arboretum — festive peacock in back

The sign of where we've been

If you're not going to walk, at least go in style

Classic motel sign on Route 66

An amazing number of dojos, strength training centers and gyms in East Pasadena

Space age seating


Thanks, but we'll enjoy our Walk down Route 66 instead

Classic sign for the Colorado Cocktails

Need to return here.

The Whistle Stop trains

Get your kicks

Seal of approval


Pasadena City College

Perhaps our most unusual encounter: People teaching CPR on a street corner

Our barefoot friend from Santa Fe is back!

They're walking

Books along the way

Street quotes

SoCal air quality was great on Saturday, despite this warning

The Big Bang Theory Way

Lunch at California Chutney

The holidays are indeed under way

All the Feels

Getting ready for the Rose Parade

Cooling down those paws

On the Colorado Blvd. bridge

And climbing down from the bridge

View of the Arroyo Seco

Birthplace of the Cheeseburger!

The Eagle Rock

Tai Chi on the walk

Radio waves

Persimmons offering

Spotted in Highland Park

The Chicken Boy!

An actual pay phone?

Party bus

Elsa's having a great weekend

The Three Stooges of Highland Park

Charlie Brown's tree makes it to Highland Park

At the San Fernando Rd. roundabout

Crossing the L.A. River

At Elysian Park

A random bride on the route

Just some of the finishers (photo by Cheryl Weissend)

Photo via Erin Zukowski

And that's a wrap for 2019! Send us links to your photos! And we'll add some roundups below. Meanwhile, remember that the Great Los Angeles Walk takes place every year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. We'll see you on Saturday, November 21, 2020, for the 15th annual!


Unknown said...

This was a great walk! I became acquainted with parts of the city I've never visited. Thank you!

Catherine E. said...

What a great chronicle of an epic walk! Thank you again for organizing, what has become, a tradition for many of us! For those of us who live on the east side, this walk was especially great!

David said...

I am holding hope this will happen again this year! Last year was my first time and I have great memories (and I’ve blocked out the pain I was in by the time I got to Highland Park and everything thereafter). Such a cool experience.