Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook and Bigfoot West

Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook


From the issue Hikes and Hearths

Baldwin and Beautiful

It's true, urban high rises are on the make in Los Angeles. Take Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, a 58-acre park just west of downtown. Set at 511 feet, the balcony viewing point gives a whole new perspective of the city—looking north over it all at a reverse angle to what you would see from the Santa Monica or San Gabriel mountains. Sure, you can drive to it, but for a more interesting approach, take the heal-toe express! That is, hike from city-level, where there's free parking, to the overlook via a series of switchbacks on a dirt trail. The 1.25-mile (one-way) climb takes hikers above the buildings and to a striking view west along the Pacific up to Malibu, east toward downtown LA, and on clear days, across to Mount Baldy. What are you waiting for? Rise above it!

FIREPLACE BONUS: Ok, they don't actually use the fireplace at Bigfoot West, and we suspect it doesn't even connect to a chimney, but it looks real. The bartenders say they never turn the fireplace on, so let's just go with the bar being more about good old-fashioned escapism! The convincing ambiance will have you thinking you're in a remote mountain bar, even though you're actually sitting on a stool at 10939 Venice Boulevard near Culver City. Antique light bulbs in mason jars cast a dim glow upon wooden walls decorated with elk antlers and relics that could have come from an old trapper. Specialties of the house include unique cocktails like the Sasquatch and the Toasted Marshmallow. Go ahead: believe in Bigfoot!

Take I-10 to the Overland exit just east of I-405. Drive 2.3 miles south on Overland Ave. to Jefferson Blvd. Turn left and proceed 1.4 miles to an intersection with Hetzler Rd. on the right. Park along Jefferson Blvd. before or after Hetzler Rd, and find the dirt trail heading east from the bottom of the road. Hike a short distance to the bottom of the stairs. Bear right to continue up the dirt trail, crossing the stairs three more times on the way up the hill. At the top, make two right turns to reach the overlook. You can also get to the top by driving up Hetzler Rd. to a $6 parking area near the visitor center and the overlook. No dogs. Bigfoot West is open between 5:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. No dogs.

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