Best hikes in LA: Get outdoors and view the city from the hills

From secluded mountain treks in Altadena to unparalleled people-watching in Runyon Canyon, here are five of the best hikes in LA with great views of the city.

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  • Photograph: Benny Haddad

    Best hikes: Baldwin Hills

  • Photograph: Benny Haddad

    Best hikes: Baldwin Hills

  • Photograph: Benny Haddad

    Best hikes: Baldwin Hills

  • Photograph: Benny Haddad

    Best hikes: Baldwin Hills

  • Photograph: Benny Haddad

    Best hikes: Baldwin Hills

  • Photograph: Benny Haddad

    Best hikes: Baldwin Hills

  • Photograph: Benny Haddad

    Best hikes: Baldwin Hills

  • Photograph: Benny Haddad

    Best hikes: Baldwin Hills

Photograph: Benny Haddad

Best hikes: Baldwin Hills



Hollywood | Los Feliz | Malibu | Culver City | Altadena


Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, Culver City


An oil-rig studded hill on the edge of Culver City’s industrial zone is an odd place for a state park. But that’s all part of this urban overlook’s understated charm. A destination for exercisers south of the 10 freeway, the park’s main draw is the steps: more than 260 stone slabs that deliver hikers—breathless, aching—to the top in under 20 minutes.

If it’s your first time, don’t look back until you reach the top. That way you’ll maximize the surprise of this north-gazing view of LA’s east-to-west spine—far less photographed than the standard postcard pic snapped from south-facing Hollywood Hills, but just as worthy. Peer east toward Downtown’s skyline and the sprawl of South LA. To the north and west, Century City high-rises and Westwood’s Mormon temple cut imposing figures, with the Santa Monica Mountains serving as a smoky backdrop.

At happy hour, a no-frills workout scene flourishes, with people streaming into the park up until the moment it closes at sunset (and after). The paved viewing deck at the top turns into a sweaty zone of improvised pilates, exuding an electric post–work day energy that reverberates in the glow of city lights below. The hill’s central location and low-key crowd make you feel like you’re above the city, and within it, all at the same time.

Culver City

Address: 6300 Hetzler Rd

Hours: 8am to dusk. The visitor center is open occasionally, usually Thursday to Saturday mornings.

Parking: Look for parking on Jefferson Boulevard or drive to the top and pay $6.

Pets? No dogs allowed (sorry!).

Length: Less than 1 mile, but very steep

Time: 30 mins


Users say

6 comments
Maria F
Maria F

Miss Heaven's Bustop at the top of Runyon!

Justin S
Justin S

Whatever dumbass wrote this article gave the wrong address for the Sara Wan Trailhead. 25623 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu 90265

Jack
Jack

Great site to explore the city.

Julie Kashen
Julie Kashen

Corral Canyon is awesome, but the address you have listed is wrong. Newport Beach is also beautiful, but not as good for a great hike. I recommend you correct the address.

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