Past Meetup

Los Feliz and Hollywood Public Stairway Hike

This Meetup is past

18 people went

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An urban hike in Hollywood and a section of Griffith Park to sample more than a dozen of the public stairways built to connect streets in the hilly sections of Los Angeles during the early decades of the 20th Century. NOT FOR BEGINNERS.

We start at Barnsdall Park in East Hollywood, proceed uphill through the central section of residential Los Feliz, climb to the Observatory in Griffith Park, return down through the Fern Dell, past the American Film Institute campus, and through residential sections of the hillside Oaks and Bronson Canyon. We will pause at Bourgeois Pig to allow the many who missed the Sixties (as well as the few who actually miss the Sixties) to briefly enjoy the ambience of that bygone era. Those who pack a lunch can purchase a beverage or just hang out in Bourgeois Pig while those who want to dine on roast chicken and drink beer shuffle 50 feet east to Birds Restaurant.

After lunch, we will regroup in front of Bourgeois Pig and hike into the "Heart of Darkness" (i.e., Hollywood), view the mural of famous drinkers (ranging from Albert Einstein and Eleanor Roosevelt to W.C. Fields and Groucho Marx) at the Frolic Room near the corner of Hollywood and Vine, meander through the "old Hollywood" residential enclave of Whitley Heights, climb a series of stairways in the hills just west of the Hollywood Bowl to reach the High Tower residential community with dozens of homes accessible by foot but not by automobile, and then descend to the Metro Redline station at Hollywood and Highland to catch the subway back to the station at Sunset and Vermont, ascending our last stairway of the day as we re-enter Barnsdall Park around 4 p.m.

The entire hike is about 10 miles with repeated ascents and descents for a total elevation gain and loss of about 2,000 feet. Think of this as a moderately difficult mountain hike rather than a stroll in the park. You will see a wide range of residences from the 1920s and 1930s, two of the most famous Frank Lloyd Wright houses (Hollyhock in Barnsdall Park and Ennis as we approach the Observatory), a hillside community accessible only by stairways and private elevator, an indoor forest, the oldest continuously operating bar in Hollywood, and enjoy great views of the city and the surrounding mountains.

It is easy to shorten this hike by half, if you choose to return to Barnsdall Park from the Metro Redline station at Hollywood and Western, or by a third, if you choose to return from the station at Hollywood and Vine. The full hike, including an hour to eat lunch and get mildly innebriated, will take about 7 hours. If you exit at Western, plan on 2 1/2 hours. If you exit at Vine (i.e., after lunch), plan on 5 hours.

We will meet at 8:30 a.m. in the central quad between the Hollyhock House and the Gallery on top of Barnsdall Park at 4814 Hollywood Blvd., just west of Vermont Ave. There is plenty of (free) parking along the perimeter road and in the lot at the base of the hill on which the park in situated. Bring water and $1.50 your Metro Redline fare (plus $1 for a Metro TAP card if you do not already have one). Wear sunscreen and/or a hat as we will be exposed to the sun most of the hike.

Metro riders: Barnsdall Park is located only a block from the Redline Metro station at Vermont and Sunset. When you exit the station, proceed one block north (toward the hills) on Vermont and then turn left into a dead-end alley between a strip mall on your right and the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center on your left. Near the end of the alley, no more than 200 yards ahead, you will find a stairway on your right that ascends to the southeast corner of Barnsdall Park. From there, turn right and walk on the road about 100 yards toward the hills, ascend another open stairway on your left to reach the central quad, and then turn right and walk across the open quad toward Griffith Park to meet the group.

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Since I limit the number of participants please do not RSVP "Yes" unless you mean it. There is no "Maybe" option.

Joining this hike is entirely voluntary and participants assume all associated risks. It is each hiker's responsibility to ensure that s/he is in sufficient fitness and health to participate, with appropriate provisions and equipment. The Los Angeles Hiking Meetup group and the hike organizer make no warranties about the safety or supervision of these activities.