In all of my years living in Reynier Village, I always recognize and appreciate just how central our neighborhood is to many of LA’s great things to do. Not far from our cozy enclave is a great way to exercise (for free) while taking-in some amazing views of the city … and all practically a stone’s throw away. Well, maybe not that close, but close enough that it is super convenient. I am talking about the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook California State Park in Culver City. It’s roughly 2.8 miles away and, on a weekend at 7:30 am, 5-10 minutes by car.
This relatively unassuming little patch of earth is a wonderful recreation space as evidenced by the sheer number of cars parked along Jefferson Blvd. that ferry Angelenos to the State Park.
Like everyone else, park on Jefferson Blvd. and start climbing the 282 concrete stairs that make up the steep half mile climb to the top. Once you catch your breath, enjoy the panoramic views of downtown, the Hollywood sign, and the Pacific Ocean. Alternately, you can hike on the dirt trail that winds around the 58 acre park. You will be rewarded with glimpses of birds, native wildflowers and other native plants.
For my wife and I, it’s not just the exercise from the trail that we relish (we skip the steps as they are a little advanced for us at this point) but also the therapeutic calming effect of the area. Just being in those surroundings helps to clear our minds and is a peaceful departure from the routine of work and daily life in the city.
After your hike, walk past the overlook and find the visitor’s center near the top of the hill. Opened in 2009, the visitor’s center provides a primer on many topics in Los Angeles history including how community activism saved the park from development in 2000. Inside the building, you can rest a bit while watching a 12-minute video about the park and the surrounding region. When you eventually make your way back into the hubbub of Culver City, you’ll be thankful that a group of residents had the gumption to save this beautiful patch of nature from further development.
Park Hours: 8 am to Sunset daily
Visitor Center generally open Fri-Sun. Call ahead: 310-558-5547
Information about the Native Plants of the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook can be found here.
– By Joseph Martinez