Shakespeare Bridge + Secret Garden

Urban Hike to the Shakespeare Bridge in Los Angeles

Urban Hike to the Shakespeare Bridge in LA

Romeo, Romeo, we all know how this goes, at least the CliffsNotes version, but do you know how to go to the Shakespeare Bridge and secret gardens? We’ve got the online do-it-yourself hiking route for you. It’s a 4.5-mile out-and-back walk filled with cityscapes, hidden gems, and LA’s Shakespeare Bridge.

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Begin at a trail at the end of Sunnynook Drive. Park here and walk up the dirt slope to reach the LA River bike path and your first bridge (often called the Atwater Love Lock Bridge). Enjoy the view of the riparian habitat below, always teeming with water fowl (try to spot a great blue heron, the resident mascot). Although you’re heading to Los Feliz, you might feel like you’re in Paris, as you start to notice the hundreds of love locks entangled in the barriers. When you reach the end, you run into Sunnynook Park, a secret garden with interpretive signs. That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet.

The next bridge crosses over the I-5 freeway (All are punished) and leads to Griffith Park Recreation Center, where you’ll cross Riverside Drive to get to the William Mulholland Memorial Fountain, a tribute to the famous Angeleno and his aqueduct. Head south on Riverside for nearly half a mile, until you reach the Hyperion Avenue overhead. Head to the pedestrian stairs on your right and stay on Hyperion until you reach Ettrick Street.

Here you’ll find Rowena Reservoir, a pristine oasis operated by the LADWP but closed to the public (steps are currently being taken to propose otherwise). You can still encircle it and peek through the bars at this secret beauty. At the northwestern corner of the reservoir, you’ll reach St. George Street; head southwest to continue your metropolitan meander.

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Along the way you’ll pass some nice local architecture, including Walt Disney’s first home, as you move through Little Lithuania. After half a mile, you’ve reached the Shakespeare Bridge, an LA Historic-Cultural Monument and tribute to the Bard.

Explore this gothic-inspired structure and the accompanying gardens under the bridge. To get there, head back up St. George, make a left on Lyric Avenue, followed by a left on Monon Street, which ends at the shaded, scenic spot. Parting is such sweet sorrow. Return the way you came.

Dog-friendly!

Story and photos by Matt Pawlik, @mattitudehikes

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