Amir’s Garden is a flora and fauna oasis located in the hills of Griffith Park, not far from Hollywood in Los Angeles. The all-volunteer project was started in 1971 by Amir Dialameh after a major brush fire destroyed the area. For many years he worked alone to maintain the garden, at one time clearing over 200 carbonized tree stumps with a pick and shovel that he carried with him. Dialameh’s objective was to create “an attractive rest stop for hikers.”
You can access Amir's Garden through the equestrian trails that connect with the main entrance to the garden or via the nearly constant ascent up 220 dry wooden stairs that leave from the golf course. The hike might be slightly challenging for some, but it provides a chance to see some amazing views of East Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Mountains along the horizon before reaching the garden. At around 190 steps the path splits, but both ways end up taking the same amount of time.
Dialameh certainly succeeded in creating his vision. Even during the hottest and driest times of the year and in the midst of California's severe drought, Amir’s Garden is still lush and colorful. Made up of mostly succulents (drought resistant plants that store water in their tissue), the maze-like interior of the garden is comprised of what feels like a never-ending series of pathways that intertwine and connect with the plant life. Just when you think you’ve reached some sort of an end, you find another trail that leads to a new part of the garden. It’s incredible.
If you can brave the steps, Amir’s Garden is the perfect place to enjoy some solitude in the big city. Other than the faint sound of distant traffic, Amir’s Garden is a relatively quiet and underused space.