Fri, May

The Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook offers the best outdoor workouts

There are two ways to the top. The dirt trails that loop around the hill, or the more direct route; straight up the Culver City Stairs. Photo by Jason Lewis


The park has a mile-long hiking trail and is the home of the infamous Culver City Stairs.

By Megan Reed

In the middle of one of the largest metropolitan areas in the country, the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook allows people to enjoy nature for hiking, hill workouts, and the daunting Culver City Stairs.  People can strengthen their bodies while taking in views of the city at the same time.

“A lot of people are doing the stairs,” said State Park Ranger Alexandra Lucero.  ”When I come to work I can see them looking like ants coming up the hill.  That’s very popular, and it’s one of the more infamous parts of the park.”

‘Infamous’ is a good term to describe this 282-step staircase, because it can humble people quickly.  These stairs are drastically different from a typical staircase, where each step is on a flat surface, and the steps are evenly split apart.  Each step on the Culver City stairs is a unique, irregular step.  The distance between each step varies, and it is difficult to get a rhythm while walking or running up the stairs.  It takes more energy to maintain proper balance as a person goes up or down.  

The average step height is 10.5 inches.  The tallest step is approximately 20 inches tall, and the shortest is 3.5 inches.  The total length of the staircase is 715 feet, which is nearly the length of two and a half football fields.  

Some people are fit enough to run the stairs, but many people will walk.  The fastest anybody has ever made it to the top is in two minutes and nine seconds.  

Getting to the top is a challenge, but it is worth it because the view from that height is breathtaking.  A person can nearly see the entire city of Los Angeles, and on a clear day, downtown and the mountain ranges surrounding the city are visible.  

There are areas for stretching, yoga, and pull-ups. Photo by Jason Lewis

The stairs are not the only thing that this park has to offer.  There are hiking trails that are on a one-mile loop.  There is also a roadway to the top of the hill that gets a lot of foot traffic from walkers, joggers, and sprinters.

There is an area that has pull up bars for calisthenics, and a large area for stretching and yoga.  

While many people stop by the park for their recreational activities, elite athletes also train there.  USC athletes have used the roadway for sprints, and endurance athletes use the hills to get in their roadwork.  

One of the most crowded times at the park is on Saturday mornings as early as 6 a.m.  Evenings are also popular.  

“Around sunset, when the sun is dropping, people come out for photos,” Lucero said.

One great thing about working out at this park is that it is free.  There is a parking lot at the top of the hill that chargers $2 per hour, but most people park on Jefferson Blvd. for free.  The park's main entrance is at 6300 Hetzler Rd. in Culver City off of Jefferson Blvd.