Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Hike 14- Baldwin Hills/Hahn SRA

Living in the center of Los Angeles is great if you are doing things in the city but if you want to hike, its well... a hike to most places. Nestled in the backside of Los Angeles is a nice little hour or so hike in the Hills of Baldwin. The trail starts on Jefferson Blvd with parking on the street. If you want, you can pay $6 and park at the end of the trail (which seems counter-intuitive to me) but there is plenty of street parking to be had.

The beginning of the hike is not promising as you are walking up a wide gravel path with a concrete wall to your right

But then the trail opens up into the beautiful grasslands of Baldwin Hills.

The trail is a little schizophrenic in that there are two options. 1) Go up a series of switchbacks that while maddening in their lack of direction, extend the hike and let you experience the wildflowers or 2) go up the stairs.

The stairs are a big thing about Baldwin Hills. Lots of people were using them, getting in shape by them, etc. I much preferred the canoe switchback trails because it got you amongst the grasslands and still gave the calves a little work out on the uphill sections.

Perhaps the best thing about BH is the springtime and wildflower season. While the road noise is kept to a minimum, the flowers were Sasha Fierce today and made the hike really worth it.

Perhaps due to this prevalence of wildflowers, you are admonished to stay on the trails. There are several side trails but there is definitely some people keeping watch.

(side trail looking like a regular trail)

As you get closer to the top, the trail asks you a question...

What WOULD LA be like without concrete? We know what it is like with oil derricks

and while I don't know the answer, I do know that when you get to the top, you have great views of both downtown...

and the ocean and Griffith Park

The views were great. There was also a visitor/ranger center which sadly, due to state budget cuts, was only open very select hours during the week so I missed talking to a ranger. I was going to try and convince the ranger to give me a free patch (I am a sucker for free patches) so I will have to come back another day.

Looking out from the top of Baldwin, I spotted a great other hillside to explore on the other side of La Cienega which I found out was Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area. Just to enter the area was $6 so I drove and drove and found an alternate way to park close but not pay the money.

Let me go on a slight tangent here. I am a fan of the state parks. I would gladly be willing to pay $18 a year to keep all of them open. If there is a state use pass, I would use it. I am a member of CSPF. Still, $6 to park at a rinky dink park? And the parking is in a weird place? Perhaps there needs be a rethinking about fees and access points.

So, I went to Kenneth Hahn SRA but on the backside of the park. There isn't much to say. All the things I saw from the distance were gated off, no access.

Beside not being able to go around the hills, the trails were relatively flat and uninspiring.

There were some nice picture taking opportunities along the way though...

The pic opportunities aren't enough to save SRA though. If you are doing one, do Baldwin. A nice little hike, lots o flowers and a good way to keep your legs pumping.

Here is some info in case you are going.

Baldwin Hills Map: http://www.parks.ca.gov/pages/612/files/bhso%20simple%20map.pdf
Kenneth Hahn SRA: http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=612


  1. I too would happily pay $18 to keep our state parks open (with no fees by the by). Nice looking hike, and some nice photos. I'd love to see them larger though!

  2. Here's the link to the CA Parks passes: http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=1049

    It is about the same price as a year pass to the National Parks, but let's be honest, there are more CA Parks in our area so you'll get your money's worth eventually. I really wish that $18 tax had gone through, these are great places for people to visit who may otherwise not be able to get out of the city and see some nature, you know?

    Based on your post, looks like Baldwin is the winner between the two. Some cool views of the area.

  3. Thanks for the comments Chris and Chic! I have some free parking passes through CSPF but I feel they are a waste at a place like Hahn. Overall, I was surprised by Baldwin, not a taxing hike but great grasslands with the flowers in bloom!


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