There is so much hiking in LA, if you just know where to look. The problem with a lot of places, like Runyon Canyon or Griffith Park, is the sheer amount of people that go there. Runyon Canyon in Hollywood always has something fun and free going on – that is, if it takes you less than an hour of circling around the side streets to find parking. And now that the Hollywood sign is closed to hikers, it seems like there are slim pickings.
But it turns out that there IS hiking on the westside, actually right in my backyard! The Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook in Culver City is a state protected park with native plants and animals. There’s a visitor’s parking lot and a visitor’s center on Duquesne (cross-street Jefferson). The trail winds up and then down the hills for an easy hike and a great view. Or head down Jefferson to Hetzler Road (free street parking along Jefferson) and you’ll find the trailhead to the famous Culver City Stairs.
On a weekday day off, my boyfriend Ramsay and I decided to try out this hiking spot that has been right in our backyard. We found free street parking easily and headed to the Culver City Stairs. These stairs were just as bad as all the horror stories I’ve heard made them out to be. You literally vertically climb this gigantic 511-foot-tall hill that overlooks Downtown, Century City, Culver City, the Marina, the ocean and more. With stairs. It’s a built-in Stairmaster. And the concrete steps are so far apart, and covered in dirt, so you can’t take them fast. It’s a butt and thighs workout like none other.
After finally making it to the top in amazement that I didn’t die, we enjoyed the view. You can see all of Los Angeles up there. There were people relaxing, jumping rope and hanging out with friends. There was also a group filming something at the beautiful concrete and glass visitors’ center. So much activity in such a small place!
We then took the trail down. The trail is very windy and doesn’t take that much time or effort. It’s a great way to get exercise and not die (unlike the stairs). I’d definitely come back when I only had 30 minutes to exercise, and know that I could see nature while doing so. Also, if one were to do the entire trail 2-3 times in one trip it would be a fabulous workout.
So westsiders, next time you want some nature, there’s no need to drive all the way to Hollywood or venture onto the 5!