Los Angeles: Mid-City
Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook
6300 Hetzler Rd
Culver City, CA 90232

…It took me weeks just to catch my breath, so I could write this BTW… For over seventeen years, off and on, I have been doing the 189 burn-inducing Santa Monica stairs; then someone challenged me to do the Baldwin Hills stairs, and it was “on”.

I started exercising at the Hills stairs with two of the 375-foot climbs and a power down the narrow and dusty trail. A year later, I find my usual 10 reps too easy, and I am almost badonkadonk-free.

While many laud the alleged view at the top of the Hills stairs, most who’ve exercised at Runyon Canyon or Griffith Park would object to the term “great view” often misapplied to the Hills. In fact, the panorama is soured by the immediate area: Culver City’s industrial warehouse cluster. On most days, there is a smoky view of buildings set in front of a barely discernable backdrop of the LA Mountains, whereas the Canyon and Griffith offer a landscape of unfettered green that boldly emerges and seeks the sun. There is zero redemption in the Hills’ close-range view of factories and tow yards. But the Hills stairs promise something other than the rest: a hike that produces immediate results beyond any workout I have known or imagined.

After less than a month post-start, I dropped almost three dress sizes, and I remained initially committed to having my slice of Village Pizzeria’s unmatched pizza every other day. I didn’t just lose inches; I gained muscle tone at an astonishing rate as cellulite literally vanished from my thighs.

Beyond the burn, the Hills’ stairs themselves are picturesque as they each perch before you with the jagged appearance of ancient stones. All along the sides of the concrete slabs, wild yellows, whites, purples, and pinks crowd. Buried beneath the plant-life are nocturnal beings & groundlings, making their presence known while rarely being seen. Pitch-black beetles step along, but their hardy exoskeletons are no match for human feet.


Even the recklessly darting lizards cannot seem to make it past the Hills’ ascendants, who take out snails and every other life form in their paths without regard. It is this selfish behavior so prevalent at the Hills that makes me less of a fan than I would like to be. While the stairs are wide enough to accommodate several, in acts of complete self-righteousness, many just park wherever they’d like (to rest or to vomit [yes! vomit!]), such that those of us actually using the stairs have to eek by someone’s posterior spread. To say the least, Hills climbers are notorious for offensive, uncivilized behavior. But, as comedian Ron White honestly declares, “You can’t fix stupid.” But you *can* fix your badonk at the stairs if you can get past the drama.

~Kali Kross
(updated 12/28/12)


2 thoughts on “StairPower

  1. im 18, and i used to live by the stairs. honestly, i dont think its very safe since rain will eventually soften the ground undereath the stairs.
    i havent been a victim to the hikers at BH
    i dont like the stairs since its the kind of thing where if you’r tired in the middle, you have to either continue on or go back down.

    • You’re very correct about the stairs, which aren’t as much for novices as people think, & they really shouldn’t be for toddlers, as some people bring. The stairs can be very dangerous. I have now seen several people require a stretcher to carry them off the stairs. The stairs are more for seasoned hikers and athletes than for novices, and they aren’t too good to your knees either. They are especially not for those who have never trained athletically before. But you can’t stop people from making poor decisions, I guess. Some like to learn the hard way. You make a very good point.

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