Exploring the wild & crazy waterfall/rock garden on the grounds of the Los Angeles Police Academy in Elysian Park.
The elaborate stone work on the big entrance gate leading into the academy was supposedly laid by men arrested for public drunkenness in the early 1930′s. Apparently, if someone had tied on a little too much to drink the previous Saturday night and was unlucky enough to get picked up for it, a future of hard labor was the punishment.
After introducing yourself to the uniformed police guard in the sentry box out front, you’re free to wander around the grounds inside unescorted and without any type of identification that would identify who you are and why you’re there.
Designed in 1937 by the landscape architect and rock sculptor François Scotti, who a few years later designed the wonderfully weird 20-foot waterfall located downtown in Clifton’s Cafeteria, the Police Academy Rock Garden is a fairytale wonderland. The jungle-like setting was even used for shooting ‘Tarzen.’
Located near the shooting range and behind the cafe, the rock garden has seemingly endless maze-like levels, multiple waterfalls, several ponds and many hidden seating areas.
It’s also available for weddings, so if you feel like hosting your nuptials next to an active gun range while surrounded by an overgrown rock jungle, this place is for you.
There are many stairways to explore…
…some lead to waterfalls and pools…
…while others just lead you to other stairways.
A part of me wanted to get nekkid and have a little swim but the water quality and close proximity to taser-toting popo’s lead my ass to explore more stairways instead.
I mean I didn’t see one person while exploring this massive man-made jungle. None, nada, zip.
At the top of the falls you’ll find more stone/rock pathways.
It’s much larger than I imagined.
Further up you’ll find pathways leading out of the rock garden…
…follow the southern pathway out and find a secluded little vista point overlooking the city.
On your way back towards the rock garden follow the path on the right…
…and enjoy some free baseball at Dodger’s Stadium. No game day for me but the broken beer bottles and other assorted items lead me to believe this is a fairly popular spot to enjoy a Dodger’s game and fireworks show.
While bush whacking your way back down along the path above the garden, you’re most likely gonna get a little thirsty…
…too bad cause the fountain doesn’t work and you may just get shot if you’re not careful.
You can almost imagine yourself in a scene out of ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ or at least being on the ride at Disneyland.
Rock formations of the faux kind. All the rocks used in the garden are made from cast stone which is defined as “a refined architectural concrete building unit manufactured to simulate natural cut stone, used in unit masonry applications”. The shit feels pretty real.