Fans of stair walks are likelier to research well-known steps in Silver Lake, Echo Park, Santa Monica and other communities where public staircases abound. But there are several sets in Palos Verdes Estates as well, if you know where to look.
This walk offers a brisk but gentle uphill stroll through a pleasant residential neighborhood. It climbs due east from the Pacific Ocean and thus offers magnificent ocean views at every stopping point. On most days you can see Catalina Island. On a clear day, you may spot San Clemente Island and the Channel Islands too.
1. Start near the corner of Palos Verdes Drive West and Paseo Lunado. From there, walk uphill a block, then bear slightly left as Lunado becomes Via Carrillo.
2. On Via Carrillo, look for a narrow pedestrian path that starts with a few steps and rises up a gravel path slope between the houses.
3. When the trail emerges, cross Via Zumaya and continue up a paved path on the other side of the street. When this ends with a little set of stairs, cross Via Olivera and continue up another paved path on the other side, walk uphill and climb another short flight of stairs.
4. At the top, cross Via Valdes and on the other side climb a lot of stairs to the top of the hill. Turn around to look due west to see Catalina, that great hummock of land slightly to the left. Up to the right, look for Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa islands. Dead ahead, if it’s clear, is San Nicolas Island.
5. Turn right, head downhill and at the next corner turn right again, onto Via Valdez once more. Continue past Zumaya Trail and at the corner make a soft right onto Via Olivera.
6. After Olivera bends to the right, begin looking for a path that drops down the hill to the left. (If you get to Via Sanchez, you’ve gone a little too far.) Follow this path as it winds gently down a wooded canyon.
7. When you hit pavement, turn right, back onto Via Zumaya. Follow this as it winds gradually downhill. When you arrive again at Palos Verdes Drive West, turn left, walk a bit and — you’re done.
Distance: 1¾ miles round trip
Difficulty: 3 on a scale of 1 to 5
Duration: 1 hour
Details: Free street parking. Dogs OK on leashes. Bus service via Palos Verdes Peninsula Transit Authority Bus 226.
Fleming is the author of “Secret Stairs: A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of Los Angeles” and “Secret Walks: A Walking Guide to the Hidden Trails of Los Angeles.” Each month, he leads a free walk at one of his favorite spots in Southern California. Find out more at his Facebook page, Secret Stairs. He is on Twitter @misterfleming