Distance: 21.0 miles 25 stairways 553 up-steps Total Climb: 1,440 feet
Cities/Regions: Playa Del Rey, Westchester, Fox Hills, Palms, Mar Vista, Oakwood, Ocean Park, Santa Monica.
Dan Gutierrez, Pat and Elizabeth Schirmer, Jonathan Chaalan, Jason Songhurst on 3 Dec 2016 | Dave and Kristy Moorman, Olivia Oshimo on 24 Jun 2017 | Aaron Veals on 8 Jul 2017 | Jeff Rozema, Kathy Lopez, Maria Casillas, Luis Prado, Matty Barriga, Alfredo Salgado, Lizbeth Padilla, James Peterson on 19 Aug 2017 | Who will be next?
Route Features: Starting near the ocean in Playa Del Rey, the route travels mostly through residential neighborhoods in a large inland rectangle that surrounds Marina Del Rey, followed by 2-3/4 miles of flat oceanfront walking. This route is one of the flattest on the entire LA Loop, with just over 1,100 feet of climb in 20 miles or roughly 55 feet per mile (that’s an average grade of only 1%). This is sparse stair country, and we traverse only 10 stairways in the first 15 miles, then 15 in the last 5-3/4 miles. The longer two stairways of 73 steps in Palms, and 97 steps in Mar Vista are a pleasant surprise, but other than that, it is a lot of pleasant and flat urban walking, with a visually interesting visit to the Santa Monica Pier and Tongva Park near the end.
Start Location: Vista Del Mar and Culver Blvd, which is bus accessible via Metro Bus Line 115 which travels east along Manchester connecting to the Metro Silver Line Bus, and the Metro Blue Line Train.
Finish Location: Downtown Santa Monica Expo Line Station at 4th and Colorado, which is train accessible on the Metro Expo Line Train.
Finish to Start: From the finish at the Downtown Santa Monica Expo Line Station, cross 4th to the south (ocean) side, and walk 1/4 mile SE on 4th just past Civic Center drive to the Bus Stop and take the Santa Monica Bus Line 18 south to the stop at Admiralty Way and Via Marina. From there, take the Metro Bus Line 108 south to the start at Culver Blvd and Vista Del Mar.
DTLA to Start: From the corner of Flower at 7th at the Metro 7th Street Station, take the Metro Silver Line Bus south to the Manchester/Harbor Freeway Station. Go downstairs to street level and take the Metro Bus Line 115 west to the start at Culver Blvd and Vista Del Mar.
Finish to DTLA: On the return trip, Take the Metro Expo Line Train from the Downtown Santa Monica Station to the 7th Metro Station, which connects to the Metro Red Line Train and Metro Blue Line Train.
Route Description: (needs update for 25 total stairways)
Miles 0-5: The first 5 miles are a residential trek from Playa Del Rey to Westchester, climbing 3 stairways. Start by heading NW, away from the ocean on Culver, past the right turn to Pershing, and when you can see the small Earldon St, intersection on the opposite side of Culver, look to your right to find a stairway between properties. It is easy to miss, so here is a photo of it as seen from the bottom on Culver.
At the top of the 41 step stairway, turn left and follow Pershing around the right hand bend, up the hill to Manchester. Turn left onto Manchester crossing at the near side to end up on the north side of the street. Continue on Manchester to Tuscany, veering left, then right onto 83rd taking it just past the one mile mark to a fork with 80th St to the left, and 83rd to the right. Take the left fork, on the norther side, following 80th through quiet residential neighborhoods until you reach a single lane roundabout at Hastings Ave. There will be a playground to your left, open the unlocked gate and making a left to go through the playground, exiting at the rear gate onto Ocean Bluff Dr, then right when it Ts into Coastal View Dr, heading west until you reach Bluff Trail Road to your left. Now turn right and go up the Park Hill Dr stairway to your right taking you into Coastal View Park. Here is a panorama shot of stairway entrance.
One at the top of the 23 steps, continue through the park to reach another roundabout, this time where 80th St , Park Hill Dr, and Rayford Dr all meet. You will turn right and follow Rayford until at the 2 mile mark, you reach 83rd St (again), cross it, and turn left heading down the steep hill to Lincoln Blvd. Cross Lincoln, and follow 83rd to Loyola, the main entry road to the Loyola Marymount University (LMU) campus, turning left and heading north toward LMU. When you come to 8th St, cross it and turn right, following the campus until you reach McConnell, and turn left, heading north again. After walking north, passing the 3 mile mark, and Kenyon Ave, you will reach 77th St. Look to your left for a wide driveway with a walkway leading to a small stairway. Turn left and walk westward to the stairway, and climb it, the gate at the top leading into the LMU campus will be locked, so turn around and go back the way you came, heading east. Continue east on 77th St, past the 4 mile mark, and when you reach Sepulveda, cross it, noting that the street name changes from 77th to 76th St. It’s the numbered street equivalent of falling back from daylight savings time! 😉 Also note that there is a Chevron mini-mart if snacks or hydration is needed. Continue on 76th, still heading east passing Boeing and Airport, then after a gentle S-bend the road straightens out, look to your left, as there will be a walkway going between houses. Take it, and after passing between the two houses on 76th, you will find a 40 step stairway in front of you as seen in this photo pair.
Climb the stairway and continue across Abernathy onto the walkway that continues on the opposite side of the street taking you to 77th Pl. You have done 5 miles and reached the end of this section of the route.
Miles 5-10: At the junction where the walkway meets 77th Place, you are going to do a 5 mile walk with only one stairway! Get ready to cruise. Turn right onto 77th, then right again onto Airport Blvd (again), taking it north to 74th, then turn left, following 74th westward leaving the residential area to busy and commercial Sepulveda Blvd. Turn right, and after crossing Howard Hughes Parkway, cross Sepulveda, so that you are on the west side, and continue north, past the Howard Hughes Center at the 6 mile mark, then past the Westfield Mall, Slauson and Jefferson, passing the 7 mile mark, all the way north to Sawtelle Blvd. Cross Sawtelle and turn left, walking on the north side of the street, back into residential neighborhoods. When you reach Woolford, take it to the right, and it will diagonal northward, then turn and T into McDonald St. Turn left on McDonald, and end of the cul-de-sac (dead end) is a stairway taking you back up to Sawtelle blvd. You can’t miss it; it’s the only way out of the cul-de-sac! Climb the stairway, and turn right onto Sawtelle continuing NW past mile 8, until you reach Braddock. Turn right and take it NE to Sepulveda (again), leaving the residences to a busy business district, crossing Sepulveda, and turning left to continue northwest and turn right onto Washington Blvd, busier still, continuing northeast again, passing mile 9, walking to Midway Ave. At Midway cross to the left and continue along the east side of the shopping center until you reach Venice Blvd. Turn right, and continue to the corner of Venice and Overland. You have walked 9.7 miles, and are at the early lunch zone. You may choose to eat here, in one of the many eating establishments, or continue northward to a mid-walk lunch. This is also where you can catch the bus if you only plan to do half the route. See the Google map for markers and details. From the intersection, turn left on the east (inland) side of Overland, traveling northwest to mile 10, near Charnock Blvd. You have completed this 2nd section of the route.
Miles 10-15: From Charnock, continue northwest on Overland, past Palms to Woodbine, turn right (NE) and take it to Mentone, turning left, heading NW again, and at 10.75 miles – close to the midpoint of the walk, you will reach Rose Ave. There are a number of restaurants near this corner, so you may choose to use this as a later lunch stop, if you did not eat at Overland and Washington. From the intersection continue northwest, where Mentone changes name to National Blvd, and turn left on Valparaiso St, taking it westward as it bends to the north, and continues left at the T, with Cheviot Vista. Here you will find a stairway that takes you back down to Overland, though it and the dead end sign marking it is a bit hidden in the bushes and trees, as you can see in this photo I shot in July 2016.
At the bottom of the stairway, turn left and continue SE on Overland past the 11 mile mark to the second intersection with Rose Ave, crossing on the south side that has a sidewalk, continuing southwest on Rose past Glendon Ave, there will be a long stairway to your right across the street, between a pair of apartment buildings as can be seen in this photo.
Climb the 73 steps up to Kingsland Ave, into the residential area with narrow streets and almost no sidewalks. Turn left and go down the hill bending to the right, where Kingsland changes name to Ellenda Ave, until you reach Ellenda Pl, and take it as a hard left heading downhill to Kelton Ave. Turn left onto Kelton, taking it southeast past Rose and Woodbine to Palms Blvd. There are a few sections of sidewalk on the left side of Kelton. Once at Palms, turn right, and follow Palms, which is more of a dirt path than a sidewalk, past the 12 mile point, and past a number of apartments ans residences westward to Sepulveda Blvd. The sidewalk begins at Sepulveda, as you walk southwest crossing over the bridge over the I-405 freeway. After crossing the freeway and crossing Sawtelle you will notice a large park to your right. This is the Mar Vista Recreation Center. It has restrooms and water. Continue southwest on Palms past the recreation center, crossing McLaughlin to reach Federal Ave. Turn right on Federal, then left on Woodbine (again), heading into a nice quiet residential suburb in Mar Vista. Three blocks in on Woodbine you cross the 13 mile mark and reach Granville Ave, and turn right, staying on the right side of the street, past the Mar Vista Elementary School, and before you reach Indianapolis St to your right, look left to see a long stairway diagonaling to the left, and up, as seen in this photograph.
Climb the 97 steps up to Inglewood Blvd, and turn right heading northwest in a bedroom community, crossing to the west side of the street before reaching national Blvd. Cross National, then turn left onto Clarkson, then right on Armacost, then left again Sardis Ave, a cul-de-sac street with a stairway exit at mile 14, to Bundy Dr. At Bundy, turn left, and continue up the sidewalk unto the next break in the retaining wall, which has a gate that is not locked. Open it and go down the short stairway onto Clarkson Rd, then turn right on Armacost, taking it south back to National, then right and continue back to Bundy once again. Take Bundy on the near side to the left, heading south, and just past the Texaco Station you will come to the creepiest thing you will see on the route, a weird surfer/hippie dude “angel” at Kelsey Corp. His wings look like the contain the tortured souls he has stolen from the living. Ok, so that’s what I see, but tell me what you think.
Keep walking south on Bundy past the Airport dog park, until you reach Rose Ave, for I the 5th time on the walk, use the crosswalk to take it southwest (right turn) into yet another residential area. Three streets in you will reach Cabrillo Ave and the 15 mile mark on the route. You have completed this third section of the walk.
Miles 15-20.75 (needs update for 4 additional stairways): Jog right on Cabrillo to the continuation of Rose, which will bend to the south. When you reach Beethoven St, cross it, then turn left, heading eastward, until you reach a wood with wrought iron frame gate. Open the gate and go down 4 steps onto Rosewood Ave. Rosewood Ts into Appleton, turn left onto Appleton, then left again to follow Appleton up the hill to a very nice and very wide 30 step stairway, as seen here.
Take the stairway up to Beethoven St for the second time, and turn right, and head down the hill back to Palms Blvd. There is a Beethoven Market at the intersection with Palms, useful for a break to snack or rehydrate. Turn right onto Palms, continuing past mile 16 until you reach the intersection with Penmar Ave, where Palms jogs to the right and continues southwest, more south than west. Stay on Palms until you reach Lincoln Blvd.There is a 7-Eleven on the corner, another useful stop if you need replenishment. Turn right onto Lincoln, continue NW and cross to the south side of Lincoln at California Ave., then turn left onto Broadway St, passing 17 miles, and continue past the kink at Electric Ave, reaching Abbot Kinney Blvd, as very trendy urban youth area, much like Silver Lake. Cross Abbot Kinney, turn right and walk to Main St, then cross Main and turn left pass Brooks Ct, and a pedestrian walkway, and you will notice a small stairway to your right. This is Wavecrest Ave, with 10 steps. Here is a Google Street view of the stairway.
Climb the 10 steps and continue on the walkway to pacific Ave, and turn right passing the 18 mile mark, as you head northwest. About 1/10th of a mile ahead on the right is the tiny 3 step entrance to Vista Place. Climb the steps and turn left on Royal Ct, then left again on the Thornton Pl walkway, and cross Pacific onto Thornton Ave, yet another walkway, taking it all the way to where it ends at the Ocean Front Walk. Say “Hi!” to the Pacific Ocean and turn right and head up the coast on the Ocean Front Walk. Continue until you reach a fork, where the Ocean Front Walk turns left, and a rightward fork heads up to the street at Bernard Way. Follow Bernard way in the grassy parkway past the beach parking lots, and at the end of the lots at mile 19, take the path back to the Ocean Front Walk meeting it at Perry’s Cafe, where there are public restrooms. Continuing past the Cafe, turn right at the Santa Monica Bike Campus, then left along Bernard in the grassy parkway some more, where Bernard changes name to Ocean Ave, until you reach Strand St. Turn left on the walkway, and go down the stairway, and then make a right in the parking lot, continuing along the parked cars until you reach the next walkway, which also has a stairway that you take up and to the right climbing back up to Ocean Ave. You’re in the home stretch. Follow Ocean Ave, until it kinks right, and you walk straight on the walkway, crossing Crescent Bay Park, then along Ocean Way, crossing Pico and jogging left to Appian Way. Continue northwest, passing under a restaurant patio over crossing of the street, and after crossing two streets, you will come to the Seaview Terrace stairway on the right as can be seen in this photo.
Climb the 38 steps and take the walkway to Ocean Ave, and turn left. Continue past Olympic Blvd, and turn left again on Seaside Terrace, and after passing mile 20, you will walk down to the Ocean Front Walk. Turn right on the walk and take it past the Santa Monica Pier, and before you cross under Colorado Ave, look to your right and there will be a wide walkway with a 21 step stairway; this connects up to Appian Way, and the 22 step stairway above, leading up to Moomat Aiko. Here is a photo pair of the two stairways.
Climb the 43 total steps up to Moohmat Aiko, and continue uphill on the walkway, it’s the only way you can go, back up to Ocean Ave, and cross to the opposite side of the street at gorgeous Tongva Park. Turn left and then turn right into the park, following a water cascade to the next stairway, that climbs 24 steps up to the upper walkway. Turn left and go down the 27 steps of the nearby stairway leading down to ground level, and continue inland, northeast, toward the far end of the park. There is a restroom to the left, under the elevated walkway, if you need it. The far end of the park is at Main St, and you will cross at the crosswalk, that take you to the reflecting pools in front of the Santa Monica City Hall. Note the mosaic tile work on the entrance to City Hall. Turn left on Main and take it northwest to where the road bends to the left. Take the walkway ramp to the right and down to Colorado Ave, and turn right and in a short block, you will reach the end of the route, the Downtown Santa Monica Expo Line Station at Colorado after crossing 4th St.
Congratulations, you have reached the 20.75 mile mark, and the end of the segment!
Stairway Data Table
|Seg #||SS#||SW#||In-300||Zip||Stairway Name||Up||Down|
|E02||104||I24||90045||Park Hill Dr||23|
|E08||109||I20||90066||Mar Vista Stairs||97|
|E17||79||N/A||90405||Crescent Bay Park||35|
|E19||80||N/A||90401||Santa Monica Pier NE||18|
|E20||81||N/A||90401||Santa Monica Pier NW||19|
|E21||82||N/A||90401||Ocean Front Walk/Appian Way||21|
|E22||115||Add||90401||Appian Way/Moomat Ahiko||22|
|E23||83||N/A||90401||Tongva Park NW||24|
|E24||84||N/A||90401||Tongva Park SW||27|
|E25||85||N/A||90401||Tongva Park E||12|
|Total Stair Steps ————>||553||115|
|Total Stair-Streets ———>||13|
|Tot Non Stair-St Stairs –>||12|