Los Angeles, CA

Echo Park Lake Swan Paddle Boats Show a Serene Side of Los Angeles

Don Simkovich

The lake gives views of high rises and hillside homes.Don Simkovich

A Swan paddle boat ride on Echo Park Lake gives you views of high rises in downtown Los Angeles, colorful homes lining the hills, and a misting of water.

Paddle boats are a nice getaway while being in the middle of it all. The available hours begin 9am weekdays so it’s also a great way to take a break from work or studies.

Ducks waddle and swim among the lotus beds in this historic lake as downtown Los Angeles looms large. On a weekday or weekend, riding a paddle boat is a simple way to step away from Los Angeles’ frenetic grind.

Waddling, paddling ducks are residents.Don Simkovich

Reservations are required through Wheel Fun Rentals until further notice due to social distancing guidelines. All boaters must also wear approved life vests.

Paddle Boat Facts

Where to Find Echo Park Lake

The lake is: 751 Echo Park Avenue, Los Angeles, 90026.

It's near the 101 freeway and Silver Lake offramp or the 2 freeway and Glendale Boulevard.

Sunset Boulevard is nearby and is a fun route to head into Hollywood.

Parking’s available at 1149 Echo Park Ave and street parking can be found on Laguna Avenue.

Paddle boat hours

Paddle boat hours until October 31 are Monday – Thursday 9am to 10pm; Fri-Sun and holidays closing is 11pm.

Nov 1 to Mar 6 , closing time will be 9pm on weeknights and 1opm on weekend nights.


$11 an hour for adults, for all boats listed.

$ 6 an hour for infants up to 17 years of age.

Wait Times

Waiting is minimal since reservations are required.


Most days are sunny and even during July days, temperatures are pleasant. Once the sun dips in the afternoon, especially starting in October, then bring a windbreaker or sweater.

Los Angeles is an urban crush, but paddling around Echo Park Lake is a great way to take in the antics of ducks and see lotus blossoms up close. It's a reminder that nature isn't totally vanquished.


Churning away is a reminder that not everything has to be a zippy, fast dash. Spray from the fountain was a nice cooling down and the view of downtown Los Angeles reminded me that we live, work and play. People are holistic creatures.

Riding paddle boats is an anti-theme park diversion. Your own power gets you going, and soaking up the surroundings gives a glimpse of nature in the middle of the urban jungle.

Lotus flowers bloom and provide a nice diversionDon Simkovich

Echo Park Lake History

Echo Park’s lake was originally a reservoir built in 1868. It's part of a flood control system in Los Angeles. The hills around it were barren in 1870 when it was a ravine lined with chaparral and a canal that diverted water from the Los Angeles River flooded it. It became the largest lake within the Los Angeles city limits.

In the early 1890s, a city inspector feared that the lake was a "menace," saying “I have seen this reservoir so full during the rainy season that I feared the bank would give way.”

Dig into the history at Historic Echo Park.org.

Today, the lake serves flood control duties and keeps boaters paddling.

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I interview entrepreneurs, and dig into the news around Southern California, giving a voice to business owners, artists and more. I also co-write the thriller novel series Tom Stone Detective Stories.

Pasadena, CA

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