Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook is a hidden gem in California, located in Culver City. It is one of the many California State Parks that features breathtaking views of downtown Los Angeles. Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook is an approximately 1.3-mile hike with numerous short trails and viewpoints with a visitor center.
Visitors can hike up the switchbacks, which are twisting paths that lead up the mountain, that gains about 315 feet, which is the much easier option. The other, more strenuous and popular option people can choose, is straight up the 282 stairs to the summit of the hill. Both trails, while difficult, provide a worthwhile reward with the stunning views from the top.
I have hiked to the summit a countless number of times, going up the stairs for every one of them. In the beginning of the trail, there are many signs about the trailhead and new ones have been added recently. The trail continues and cuts back for about 0.2 miles before it arrives at the bottom of the stairs. People can choose if they want to head right to the switchbacks, or straight up the more popular option, on the stairs.
Parking spaces are available on the sides of the streets, but since spaces are limited, some park in a nearby parking lot or at the top of the hill near the visitor center. At the parking lot, visitors can take a very flat, brief trail that leads to the top. However, not many choose this method to reach the summit because it doesn’t require much effort or exercise, which is the main reason people decide to hike in Baldwin Hills. All the stairs on the main trail are uneven, some more spaced out and higher up than others. There are metal bars on the sides of the trails which can be used if you need to hold onto for a rest. There are five main, uneven sections of stairs with a rest between each one. At each rest point, there are stone “benches” to sit on if a break is needed.
At the top of the trailhead, broad views of Culver City, Los Angeles, and the San Gabriel Mountains are presented. It is a great view where amazing pictures can be taken and an area to rest after the long hike. At the summit and on the trail, there are large amounts of vegetation and wildlife on the sides of the paths, which are protected by the park. It is currently undergoing renovations, under the Trail and Stormwater Improvement Project which started on May 1, 2018 and is set to end in April of 2020. This improvement project is planned to help fix the stairs and trails, making them safer, increase native vegetation, and add more signs to educate people on the trail and protecting the area.
Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook is a hidden and underrated trail in Culver City that provides great views of the overall Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Mountains. I personally thoroughly enjoy hiking on this trail because of the exercise that I can get in the outdoors in nature, and the great views of Los Angeles. As the area of Culver City and renovations taking place on Baldwin Hills make the park and city more popular, hopefully more people can take notice of the hills and help the state park flourish.
Jonathan Kim, Grade 8
Culver City Middle School