Painted Stairways Self-Guided Tour Guide
Printable map of the 6.7 mile route is the featured image at the top of this page!
Google map of the 5 mile Painted Stairways Lite route, which is identical to main route, except that it skips the Hoover Walk mural to shorten the distance.
Painted Stairways Tour Event Information
Painted Stairways Tour #1 and Tour #2 are completed. Because of the popularity of the walk, only those with Eventbrite tickets are allowed to participate in subsequent events. We will be running this event at least monthly, and more likely every two weeks for approximately 4 to 6 months, and having Eventbrite tickets available about 2 weeks beforehand.
The next tour dates are:
Painted Stairways Tour #3 Sunday, April 24th [All tickets taken]
Painted Stairways Tour #4 Sunday, May 8th [Tickets release on Monday, Apr 25th at 7pm]
Tickets will be made available, the day after after each previous event, for the next event (usually two weeks in the future). I will post the night of each event, the Eventbrite link to use the day after. So on for the May 8th Event, Tour #4, I will be posting an Eventbrite ticket link the evening of April 24th, and releasing tickets Monday, April 25th at 7pm. This May 8th will be the last tour for the initial event. I will post a new event page for Subsequent tours to be held later this year.
Detailed Self-Guided Route Description
Part I – The stairway art of Corinne Carrey
We will start by making announcements to the group, introducing the leader, Dan Gutierrez, the sweep, to be announced at the start, who will stay at the rear and ensure no one gets lost. If you plan to leave early, make sure you let the sweep know, so (s)he will not look for you. Unfortunately, Corinne will not be able to speak to the group, so I will do my best to convey the story of her painting hearts on Micheltorena, and her piano keys on the Murray Dr stairway. We will then leave and walk together as a group, the leader in front, the sweep at the rear. We leave Sunset Triangle Plaza and head southeast on Sunset, crossing to the south side at Maltman, then crossing Sunset and walking south to Micheltorena, making a right turn just past the intersection, to walk toward the hearts and stripes on that stairway [signed with the hashtag, #StairCandy], then at the top we head to the left instead of climbing the second set of stairs, and head down Larissa, stay on the sidewalk to the left, and we will come to a nice view of the piano key stairs, across the canyon, marked as a camera icon on the Google map. Continuing down Larissa Dr, we will turn left onto Descanso, and in a short block we are back at Sunset Blvd, where we cross the street and continue northwest past the Ali Mama Café, and turn right onto what looks like a walkway between properties. You will then notice that a large, 90 step stairway is ahead of you, adorned with pained piano keys! [signed with the hashtag, #StairTempo] We will climb these stairs, and once at the top, we will have reached the end of Part I of the tour. If you are doing the 1 mile bail-out option, turn left here and continue on Hamilton Dr until it intersects Micheltorena, turn left and go downhill to Sunset, turn right, and take Sunset back to the start at the Sunset Triangle.
Part II – The stairway art of Evelyn Leigh
The next part of the tour is a trek to the triple set of Swan stairways. From the top of the piano key stairs, turn right and continue on Hamilton for a little over 1/10 of a mile downhill, to find the 102 step Elevado Stairway on the left side, where the road starts to make a sharp bend to the right. Climb the Elevado stairways, and turn right at the top, and continue uphill on Elevado, crossing to the other side of the street before it intersects Westerly Terrace. Turn left (northbound) onto the sidewalk on the west side of Westerly Terrace, and continue on the sidewalk all the way down the hill to Berkeley Ave. After crossing Berkeley, there will be no sidewalk, so walk in the street and continue past the intersection with Effie, and turn diagonally right to go down Swan Pl, and turn left onto Silver Lake Dr. Continue west on Silver Lake Dr to reach the Silver Lake Recreation Area, and our first and only water/restroom stop. We will take 15 minutes to use the restrooms and fill our water containers, and then we will assemble to listen to Evelyn Leigh, who painted the nearby Swan stairways. After Eve talks about her work, we will walk up the 287 step triple combination Swan stairway; it is difficult, and will be by far the hardest physical test of the tour. Pace yourself, and it is ok to step to the side at the top of each set of stairs for a brief moment to look at the artwork, and catch your breath (but do not camp out and take a lot of photos, as this will bog down the group and force many people to wait for you and make us all late; so don’t do it!). Slower walkers should stay to the right, faster to the left to pass. Do take note that the two streets, Redesdale and Rotary, between the stairways are streets with possible car traffic, so do look both ways before crossing to the next stairway, and if you stop to rest, move to the left or right to allow others to follow, and stay near the edge to let cars through. Once we reach the top, we will continue down and to the left on Webster Ave, until it reaches Dillon, where we turn left and continue down again until it reaches Effie St. At Effie, we turn right, and go down a very steep hill that leads us to Redcliff St, which is the end of Part II. Those wishing to take the 2.2 mile bail out, will turn left on Redcliff and take it to Murray Dr, turning right, and then another almost immediate right onto Berkeley Ave, downhill to Micheltorena. From there turn left and go down the hill to Sunset, and turn right taking you back to the start at Sunset triangle.
Part III – The stairway art of Kimberly King
To reach Kimberly’s artwork, we have to climb over the ridge line of Micheltorena St. To do this, turn right onto Redcliff and climb up the hill all the way to Landa St, then we will turn left and climb up the short dead-end street to gather and hear Kimberly tell us about her artwork on the three to the north. After Kimberly speaks, we head back down Landa and turn left back onto Redcliff St, taking it due north to Rock, and then Micheltorena, which we follow down to Fernwood, and make a hard left, heading back to the southwest past the point where Panorama Terrace merges into it. From there, we make a triple S-bend, and at the end of a short straightaway, we will reach the 93 step downward, Meadow Valley Terrace stairway on our right. We will descend in pairs with gaps between so we can read the words Kimberly painted on these stairs. And also note that the next two stairways will also have her art on them. At the bottom of Meadow Valley Terrace, we continue up and over a hill to reach a fork with Drury Lane; we take the left fork staying on Meadow Valley Terrace, until it reaches Silverado Dr, where we turn left and head down to Griffith Park Blvd. Those wishing to end after 3.8 miles, should turn left onto Griffith Park Blvd and walk 8/10 of a mile back to the start at the Sunset Triangle. Those continuing on will turn right onto Griffith Park Blvd and take it northward until the intersection with Tracy St. To the right is the road, to thje left is an uphill walkway between houses, take it up the hill and near the top you will see little human and animal feet that Kimberly painted on the stairway. Don’t miss the heart at the top. From the top we turn left, and continue up the hill Meadow Valley Terrace to the fork with Panorama Terrace, taking it to the right and continuing toward the south and climbing to walk a short relatively level straightaway, then bending up and to the left, then down and to the right in an S-bend, the next stairway is to the left side of right hand S-bend. This is the Panorama/Lantermann Terrace stairway, and after climbing the lower flight, you will lok ahead to see Kimberly’s string of little hearts, making the set-back upper flight stairway beautiful in a very paint efficient manner! At the top of the stairway, we are going to go to the right and up the Hill to Micheltorena, then turn right, and right again at the next street, Silver Lea Terrace. Head steeply downhilll on Silver Lea Terrace, and turn sharply to the right when it dumps into Panorama Terrace, continuing on a flat but curvy street that Ts into Scotland street, not far from little hearts stairway you just climbed. Turn left onto Scotland, and head down the street, and after passing Meadow Valley Terrace for the final time, get on the right side sidewalk and take it all the way past Griffith Park Blvd to Hyperion Ave. Turn left, crossing Scotland, and continue south on Hyperion past the Lyric Café (and cool murals on the near side to your left), until reaching the intersection of Hyperion and Landa St, which is the end of Part III of the tour. Anyone wanting to bail out and skip the Hoover Walk stairway and Ricardo’s mural, can continue west on Hyperion, which after crossing Landa, becomes Fountain, and take it to the corner with Manzinata, and turn left, heading south on Manzanata, up the stairway to Sunset, turn left again takingSunset back to the Triangle, for a 5.5 mile total trip.
Part IV – The stairway art of Ricardo Mendoza
To reach Ricardo’s artwork, we have to cross to the other side of Hyperion in the crosswalk at Landa St. Once across, we head west on Fountain (Hyperion becomes Fountain after crossing Landa) to Manzanita St, turning right after crossing it to walk along the east side of King Middle School, and turning left when we reach Sunset Dr (not Sunset Blvd), and near the middle of the school, we cross to the other (north) side of Sunset at Myra, continuing west up Sunset Dr past Talmadge, to Hoover St. Turn right on Hoover, and head north, jogging right at Clayton to stay on Hoover. After passing Clayton, look north to the end of Hoover St, and you cannot miss Ricardo’s stunning ‘Fluid City Rising’ mural from 2009 that adorns the Hoover Walk stairway, built in 1923. When we reach the mural, either Ricardo if he is present, or the leader will discuss his artwork, which is the oldest stairway art on the tour. The group will then climb the 38 steps of the stairway, and turn right to continue on Prospect Ave, heading east, back to Talmadge, turning right, staying on the west side of the street, heading southbound until reaching Sunset Dr, crossing it, turning left and crossing Talmadge, to head east on the south side of Sunset Dr.
We continue east on Sunset Dr to Bates Ave, cross it, then turn right to walk along the west side of King Middle School, heading south, and after reaching Fountain Ave, we turn left and continue to the crosswalk at Myra Ave, and gather as a group to cross on the signal, which is only 30 seconds long, so we must hurry if we are to get half the group through on the first cycle, and the rest on the second cycle. This may take a while. After the crossing, we continue on Myra for one block, turn left on Effie, then right at the next intersection onto Manzanita St. At the end of the block is a stairway with red and yellow painted step faces, and I am not sure who painted them (I am still researching this). After climbing these last painted stairs of the tour, we reach the northwest side of Sunset Blvd, turning left, and taking the wide sidewalk 3/10 of a mile back to the Sunset Triangle Plaza where we started. Congratulations! You did it! All 6.7 miles, 1,100+ feet of elevation gain, traversing 11 painted and 1 unpainted stairways!
Google Map of the route:
Link to a photo album of SoCal Stairway Art:
Link to the Painted Stairways Tour photo album: