The Beachwood Canyon Stairs is a vigorous urban hike through quaint neighborhoods and up some of the steepest public staircases in the city. The hike starts more or less at the cobblestone planter near the Beachwood Café located at 2695 N Beachwood Drive in Los Angeles and is featured in the guidebook, Secret Stairs: A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of Los Angeles, by veteran entertainment industry journalist, Charles Fleming. The trail stats, route and background information are based on the book.
Distance: 2.6 miles
Duration: 1 hour
Difficulty: Moderately Strenuous
Beachwood Canyon Stairs Trail Journal
The day had finally come. A group of friends from the Inland Empire gathered around the cobblestone planter near the Beachwood Café in Hollywood for a different kind of hike. Instead of mountain trails, we would trek through a quiet neighborhood steeped in Hollywood history. Instead of switchbacks, we would climb up a series of secret staircases.
Our guide was our friend MJ who lived in LA and had done this walk several times. Once we were all ready and accounted for, MJ started the walk up Beachwood Canyon toward Hollywoodland. Which was one of Hollywood’s first premier housing tracts back in the day.
Kicking it in Hollywoodland
As the story goes, the developers built a huge sign on the hill that read “Hollywoodland” and framed it with thousands of light bulbs. Eventually, the part of the sign reading “land” fell off leaving–you guessed it–the world famous Hollywood sign.
It was kind of cool walking through the neighborhood whose residents once included the likes of Bela Lugosi, Humphrey Bogart and Bugsy Siegel.
We climbed our first staircase and it was steep. We tried not to huff and puff. The Secret Stairs guidebook says it’s a sharp 143 steps up. Then we walked over to the next one and then the next one. Each staircase was different in size and shape than the previous one.
Most of us didn’t have the guidebook at the time so we just followed MJ up the staircases and through the neighborhood.
Finally, we got to the trademark staircase with the planters in the middle. Charles Fleming calls this the granddaddy of the Beachwood stairs. 148 very steep stairs that used to contain a running stream down the middle. This is the featured image at the top of the page.
After enjoying the peaceful vibe on the staircase, we navigated a few more stairs and eventually finished our Beachwood Canyon Secret Stairs walk.
But rather than quit right there, MJ lead us down a dirt trail to Lake Hollywood, where we walked across a bridge and took pictures in front of the Hollywood sign before heading back.
Lake Hollywood bridge with the Hollywoodland sign in the distance
The Beachwood Canyon Stairs walk is every bit as entertaining as the guidebook describes and the 861 stairs along the way give you a great workout. I would recommend getting Charles Fleming’s guidebook and doing the walk with plenty of time to spare. That way you can stop at each landmark and take nice photos of each landmark. The day we went, I was having difficulty with the sunlight and didn’t get very many good pictures.