Echo Park Lake is a 13-acre urban lake surrounded by 16 acres of recreational open space—but it wasn't built as a public park back in the 1860s when it formed. Back when the area we now know as Echo Park was considered Los Angeles' "West End" the Los Angeles Canal and Reservoir Co. formed Reservoir No. 4 by digging a ditch that peeled off the Los Angeles River, eventually filling Echo Park Lake at the North West corner. Additionally, a dam with an outlet around today's Bellvue Avenue drained water down the Woolen Mill Ditch to a mill at present-day 5th and Figueroa, so Echo Park Lake was very much an important conduit in the history of LA's civic water systems. All of this predates even the development of Sunset Boulevard as a major thoroughfare—Echo Park is really the lake that made our part of town truly viable. There is a ton more of the fascinating history of Echo Park Lake at The Echo Park Historical Society's Web site.
Today Echo Park Lake is the great centerpiece of a trendy neighborhood. People fish in the lake, run and jog around it, or just stroll through the park as a getaway from the city. The Echo Park Historical Society makes sure that the area stays protected and will be there for many years for the community to enjoy.
We went to the lake on a Thursday afternoon on a sunny Los Angeles day. There weren't many people around the lake however the birds were abundant. There were ducks, geese, pigeons, and swans among others. It was relaxing to walk around and see the animals. If you're in the city and want a quick escape from the busy city life visit echo park.