Some of the best things about living in Los Angeles are our varied terrain, landmarks, and fascinating history. A great way to see the city and get a hardy workout is to walk through Upper Beachwood Canyon to the Hollywoodland Historic Stairs. They include all six of the neighborhood’s 85-year-old stone staircases that boast some stunning views.
Decades ago when cars were not the norm, the people of Beachwood Canyon would move between their homes and the city via long sets of staircases. This particular set of staircases tucked throughout the canyon has 965 steps!
This is a vigorous hike through Hollywood history, utilizing some of the steepest and most charming staircases in the city, and affording breathtaking views from Downtown to the sea including the Griffith Observatory, the Hollywood Sign, and the Lake Hollywood Reservoir.
The workout begins at the original stone gates to the Hollywoodland real estate development, erected in 1923, at the intersection of Beachwood and Belden (to the West) and Woodshire (to the East). You can park on the streets for free.
Keep your eyes open for all sorts of intriguing architecture such as castles and cottages.
Remember to be cautious when using the stairs; although they are sturdy, they are also somewhat eroded at the edges, often covered in dead leaves and pine needles, narrow, and very steep. The roads are narrow and windy, so watch for cars. Follow the instructions below and look for this first staircase on Woodshire Drive to begin your historic hike.
Instructions for the walk (as adapted from the book Walking L.A.):
- Head West on Belden Drive, then turn right on Woodshire Drive and walk uphill.
- Your first stairway is on the left before 2795 Woodshire; ascend 124 steps (between the blue pins).
- You’re on Belden Drive now, go left.
- At the fork in the road go to the right uphill on Flagmoor Place; when Flagmoor intersects with Durand Drive, continue uphill on Durand
- Take Durand up past a big stone house at 2869. Once you pass the main entrance you’ll see a break in the road on the right, immediately next to the driveway of 2869. Take this dirt road. Now look to your left: Lake Hollywood sparkles blue in the distance. If you are looking for an extensive workout, take this dirt path and turn your walk into a hike. If not, turn around and double back down Durand, past the fork with Flagmoor.
- The second stairway is past 2954 Durand; descend 117 steps (between the red pins).
- Stay straight on Belden when you complete the stairs (cross Rodgerton; you basically head forward but a little left, the signs are a bit confusing depending on what angle you’re looking at them here).
- Take Belden to 2950, where you’ll find the third stairway. This one is divided and the “planters” in the middle used to be a water feature; descend 138 steps (between the green pins).
- Cross Beachwood and turn right. Between 2800 and 2810 is the fourth stairway; ascend 144 steps (between the yellow pins).
- Turn left at the top onto Westshire and go downhill. The road merges with Beachwood; continue in the same direction, crossing Belden.
- The fifth stairway is between 3020 and 3030 Beachwood. This is the longest one, ascend 176 steps (between the purple pins).
- At the top turn right onto Hollyridge Drive.
- Continue on Hollyridge past the intersection with Pelham Place. On your right, immediately past 2831 Hollyridge, is the sixth and last stairway; descend 149 steps (between the pink pins).
- Turn left at the bottom. You’re on Westshire Drive and headed West back to your starting point where it (and Belden) intersect with Beachwood.
If you need a snack or some water there’s the Beachwood Market, or if you want to sit down and refuel, the Village Coffee Shop is also right there.
Regardless of your fitness level, this is definitely a good cardio workout, and has inherent ways to modify it to suit your needs (harder or easier). You will definitely work your lower half, which gets a balanced workout thanks to taking hills and stairs both up and down during the walk, which consits of approximately 561 steps up and 404 steps down.
Thanks to our climate, it’s generally a sweat-inducing activity because it is quite hot, although you will surely appreciate the moments of calm breezes as you travel the streets, and can often catch some shade.
WHAT: The Hollywoodland Historic Stairs
WHEN: Sun up to sun down
WHERE: Upper Beachwood Canyon
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