Driving around in the paved-over metropolis known as Los Angeles has got me thinking. Are there any unpaved roads remaining in L.A.? In this episode of Hello Road (my YouTube channel about cars, travel, and exploring) I take the ol’ Poobaru around Los Angeles to look for dirt roads.

Earlier this year my brother and I bought a tired, pee-soaked, 1998 Subaru Legacy (the Poobaru) and converted it into a sweet off-road battle wagon. We then took it to the insane offroad rally known as the Gambler 500. Since then, the car has pretty much just sat in my yard. Since I live in Los Angeles, there isn’t really any incredibly convenient off-roading that I can do close to home. Or so I thought!

Subaru / Poobaru at the Gambler 500
The Poobaru at the SoCal Gambler 500

Owning a very capable off road vehicle in this city got me thinking. Are there any unpaved public roads remaining in L.A.? I discovered an old Reddit post that mentioned there were still a few dirt roads left within Los Angeles city limits. This metropolis has over 13 million people. L.A. is 59% paved over. Is it really possible that there are any unpaved roads left in this vast city? Can I trust this rando Reddit poster?

It is interesting to think about how we take asphalt and concrete for granted. Just about every paved street we drive on today was once a dirt road. Back before pavement was common, many L.A. streets were the source of vast amounts of dust.

A car on the junction of Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards, looking east, ca.1904
A car on the junction of Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards, looking east, ca.1904

 

And during the brief rainy season, these same streets would transform into thick layers of mud.

Road in Burbank following a flood, 1928
Road in Burbank following a flood, 1928

 

Pavement was a very welcome thing when it arrived. It solved a lot of problems, but it certainly robbed L.A. of it’s original rural character.

Dump truck leaving asphalt on an unpaved road in Los Angeles
Dump truck leaving asphalt on an unpaved road in Los Angeles

 

I went back and looked up the addresses from the Reddit post on Google Street View, and sure enough, it looked like the roads were dirt, at least at the time the Street View cars traveled through the area. I even came across a few others that might be dirt. Here are the three that I visited, with the approximate location where the dirt section appears to start:

4001 Evadale Drive

3704 Lavell Drive

3601 Glenalbyn Drive

 

There are two others that appear to be dirt: 4128 Telluride Street and 2727 Paradise Drive. I did briefly check out Telluride Street, but it appeared to be partially blocked by junked cars and rusted out RVs. And Paradise Drive now appears to be blocked off.

Want to see how this offroad adventure unfolds? Watch and find out!

Have any suggestions for places to visit or cars to check out? Please let me know. And be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel to see what car adventures I’m on next. Thank you!

 

 

Public domain photos of Los Angeles courtesy of University of Southern California, Libraries and the California Historical Society.

ethan tufts

Ethan created Hello Road and started making car/travel videos as an excuse to get off his ass, go on adventures, make new friends, discover new things, travel to amazing places, and of course, justify his countless questionable automotive purchases. His infatuation with weird cars along with a shoestring budget often leads him to filling up his driveway with a brigade of terrible, failing hoopties.

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