Los Angeles Urban Hike
Elevation gain: approx 2000 ft (repeated)
Miles: 10 (approx)
An urban hike in Hollywood and a section of Griffith Park to 9 public stairways built to connect streets in the hills of Los Angeles during the early part of the 20th Century.
We start at Barnsdall Park in East up Vermont Ave in Hollywood. Head uphill through the central residential section of Los Feliz, then to the Observatory in Griffith Park, return down through the Fern Dell, you’ll hike a beautiful trail that feels like you’re somewhere other than in the heart of Los Angeles. As you head down the trail you can stop to eat or grab an espresso at The Trails Cafe . There are a few more sets of stairs as you head back up through more historic residential areas before you enter back into the city.
From there we will hike into the heart of Hollywood, through Whitley Heights and climb a sets of stairways in the hills near the Hollywood Bowl to reach the High Tower residential community, and then descend to the Metro Redline station at Hollywood and Highland to catch the subway back to the station at Sunset and Vermont, going down our last stairway of the day as head back into Barnsdall Art Park.
This is a relatively difficult hike as there are so many sets of stairs. You will see lots of residences from the 1920s and 1930s, the most famous are The Frank Lloyd Wright houses (Hollyhock in Barnsdall Art Park and Ennis on the route) Towards the end of the hike as you near Hollywood Bowl, you’ll travel into a hillside neighborhood accessible only by stairs and a private elevator. The walkways are shaded and the houses are beautiful.
The full hike will take 5 – 6 hours.
Bring some cash for your Metro Redline on the return. Wear sunscreen as there’s not a lot of shade. Stop for lunch around noon at the Blue Palm microbrewery on Hollywood Blvd.
Metro riders: Barnsdall Park is located only a block from the Redline Metro station at Vermont and Sunset.
Hike adapted from The Secret Stairs , A Walking Guide to Historic Staircases of Los Angeles, by Charles Fleming