Trails from the parking lot at the Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area climb up one of the few hills in the middle of the Los Angeles basin. From the top, you can see the defining elements of L.A.'s landscape: the curved bay in the West, the Hollywood Hills to the North, and the towering snow-capped mountains to the East. A vast grid of small single-family houses and mini-malls occupies the basin and extends South as far as the eye can see. L.A.'s high rise buildings are clustered along the 16 mile Wilshire Corridor that stretches from downtown to Santa Monica.
Here is a view of the downtown skyline:
A view across the basin looking North to the hills:
At the bottom of the hill, Hahn Park is crowded and fun. There are picnic and barbeque areas, soccer and baseball fields, basketball courts, kids biking and rolling down grassy hills, and competing music from speakers and mariachi bands. People can feed ducks and fish in the landscaped streams, waterfalls, and lakes.
Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg filmed the music video for the classic 1993 "Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang" at one of the picnic areas in Hahn Park:
For the first half of the 20th Century, this whole park was an active oil field. After an accident in 1968, most of the pumps were shut down and conservationists and neighbors turned the area into a park. There are still a number of active oil pumps on the adjacent hillside:
We suspected there might be gophers when we saw a bunch of kids gathered around a hole throwing food down it. Then we saw this little one popping his head out:
The park is located in Baldwin Hills - be warned that parking costs $4 on weekends and holidays.
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