baldwin hills scenic overlook

Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook in Culver City

The Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook is home to the Los Angeles’ famous Culver City stairs hike. This California State Park offers something for everyone with multiple combinations of trails to get to the top and views from the ocean to the Santa Monica Mountains, the Hollywood Sign, Downtown LA, and even the San Gabriel Mountains.

  • Stairs Trail: The famous Culver City Stairs heads directly up
  • Hillside Trail: There are dirt paths that wind up the entire hill with newly installed rails to keep you on the trail. This also winds around the top and back sides of the hill
  • Hetzler Road: There is now a concrete sidewalk along the most of this road

The stairs are a great workout if you are training; the trails are a gradual workout if you want to stop by for a quick hike; and it’s located conveniently in the city for a quick nature getaway.

baldwin hills scenic overlook

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How Tall is Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook?

Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook may not rival the towering peaks of the Sierra Nevada or Colorado Rockies, but its elevation is nothing short of impressive. Standing at an elevation of approximately 425 feet above sea level, this urban gem offers a unique perspective of Los Angeles. Despite its moderate height, the panoramic views it provides are simply breathtaking.

While Baldwin Hills sits at an elevation of 425 ft, many people come here for just the stairs. The last of the Culver City steps tops out at 405 ft, making the full steps portion of the hike alone about 255 ft of elevation gain.

However; if you continue hiking up and around the bushes once you arrive at the top of Baldwin Hills, the actual overlook sits at 425 ft. This brings the total elevation gain from the start of the trailhead to Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook 345 ft.

The wide area once you reach the top of the steps is more open with better views though.

How Many Steps Are There in Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook?

Ascending to the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook involves conquering a grand total of 282 uneven concrete steps. These steps vary in size and wind their way up the hillside, creating a memorable stairway experience. Rails have been built along the stairs now to ensure you stay on the designated path. As you make your way to the top, you’ll be rewarded not only with an excellent workout but also with captivating vistas of the city below.

How Long is the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook Hike?

The hike at Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook covers a relatively short distance, spanning approximately 1.3 miles round trip. While the trail itself may be short, it’s important to note that the ascent is quite steep due to the stairs.

The stairs are about 0.25 miles in distance while the Hillside Trail is roughly 1 mile; however, the stairs trail intersects the Hillside Trail at several points so you can really make this hike however long or short as you choose.

This makes it an excellent choice for a quick outdoor escape, and the short duration ensures you can easily fit it into your weekend adventures or post-work exercises.

Is the Culver City Stairs Hard? How Long Does It Take to Hike It?

The Culver City Stairs offer a challenging workout. The climb is steep and it can be physically demanding, especially for those not accustomed to such stair workouts. However, for avid hikers and fitness enthusiasts, it presents an opportunity to test their stamina and enjoy unique vistas from a different angle.

The time it takes to hike the Culver City Stairs can vary depending on your fitness level and pace. On average, it takes approximately 20 to 30 minutes to hike the stairs from bottom to top. However, this is a general estimate, and some hikers may take a bit longer, especially if they pause to catch their breath or enjoy the views along the way.

It’s essential to listen to your body, take breaks when needed, and stay hydrated during the climb. If you’re looking for a more intense workout, you can challenge yourself to complete the stairs in a shorter time, or you can take a leisurely pace to savor the experience and views. Ultimately, the duration of your hike on the Culver City Stairs is flexible and can be tailored to your preferences and fitness goals.

When is the Best Time to Hike Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook?

The optimal time to hike Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook largely depends on your preferences and weather conditions but it can be easily accessed all year round. Generally, early mornings or late afternoons tend to offer cooler temperatures and more pleasant hiking conditions. However, you can still enjoy this hike with proper preparation and hydration all year round.

  • Winter: The temps cool down a lot so bring a jacket. On a clear day, you can see the snow-capped San Gabriel Mountains behind Downtown LA.
  • Spring: The temps are perfect and the wildflowers are out.
  • Summer: It’s a bit warm (& fully exposed) to hike in the middle of the day so start your hike early in the morning or later in the evening.
  • Fall: The temps are cooler again and it’s dry.

Sunset Hike in LA

The vistas from the top of the Baldwin Hills Overlook provide open 360-degree views which makes sunset one of the best times to hike up here. Given the rotation of Earth, the sun sets along different parts of the West Coast throughout the year.

  • April-July (Spring & Summer): The sun sets behind the Santa Monica Mountains
  • Sept-Feb (Fall & Winter): The sun sets on the Pacific Ocean

Is the Culver City Stairs Worth It?

No one ever regrets a workout. While the main attraction is undoubtedly Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, the nearby Culver City Stairs offer a unique experience for those looking to challenge themselves to reach it. Whether it’s worth including in your visit depends on your fitness level and desire for an extra workout during your trip but I’d definitely add it to your LA bucket list.

How Much is Parking at Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook?

Parking at Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook costs $6 per vehicle per day or $2 per hour. This lot is open from 8 am until sunset and the fee helps support the upkeep of the park and its facilities.

There is a small parking lot at the top of Hetzler Road with a kiosk to pay for parking. Alternatively, there is a lot of metered street parking on Jefferson Blvd which would be the recommended choice if you are looking to hike the Culver City Stairs.

Expect street parking to be very busy.

Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook and Culver City Stairs Hike in a Nutshell

The steep concrete Culver City steps lead to the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook and a visitor center at the top. If you don’t want to hike the stairs up (which can be hard on the knees), you can follow the dirt path or walk up Hetzler Road. On a clear day, you can see the Hollywood sign, Griffith Park, and the ocean.  I’d recommend hiking the short stairs up, following the hillside trail down, and connecting to Hetzler Rd.

Click here to see other LA local hikes you might like.

Hotels in Culver City

  • The Culver Hotel: Nestled in the heart of a revitalized downtown Culver City, The Culver Hotel offers not just a place to stay but a vibrant urban experience. This historic gem has received glowing reviews for its timeless elegance, impeccable service, and luxurious accommodations. After your invigorating hike at Baldwin Hills, you’ll find yourself steps away from a lively culinary and cultural scene. The hotel’s charming ambiance, comfortable rooms, and exceptional dining options is the perfect complement to your outdoor adventures, providing a taste of the city’s energy and style – click here to book
  • Palihotel Culver City: Also in the heart of Culver City’s vibrant downtown, Palihotel offers a chic and boutique stay with its stylish design, attentive service, and comfortable rooms. After a day of hiking at Baldwin Hills, you’ll appreciate the convenience of being just steps away from the city’s trendy dining and entertainment options. Palihotel’s unique ambiance, well-appointed accommodations, and the culinary delights at its on-site restaurant not only promises a luxurious retreat but also immerses you in the lively culture of the downtown area. The wall art outside of the hotel is pretty neat too! It’s an ideal choice to balance your outdoor explorations with the city’s contemporary charm and sophistication – click here to book

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