Climbing Los Angeles One Step at a Time

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Walk #36 - Whitley Heights

Distance: 2 miles
Steps: 304
Difficulty: 3
"This is a gentle walk along some of Hollywood's oldest and most beautiful hillside streets, filled with stars' homes from filmdom's Golden Age, and hidden staircases and walkways." Taken from Secret Stairs by Charles Fleming.
WARNING: By the time you read this only 5 walks remain so if you want to be in my blog hurry it up and join us. We are doing our last walk (for the blog) on Sunday, April 3 which will be followed by a Colombian feast cooked by my mom and served at the conclusion of our last walk! Past guest walkers will be invited.
Hooray for Hollywood!! Wedged between busy N. Highland Avenue (across from the Hollywood Bowl), the 101 Freeway, and Franklin Avenue lies a little slice of Southern California heaven - Whitley Heights. Just blocks from the Kodak Theatre is one of the earliest star magnets. This hillside has amazing views, a prime location, palm trees galore, and multiple Mediterranean mansions.
On this walk were (from left to right): Ines, Mark, Willie, Charles, Jessica, and Enrique.
We began our walk at Highland and Franklin Avenues - a stone's throw away from the Kodak Theater and the famous Graumman's Chinese Theatre. This coming Sunday will bring the world's attention to this area (site of the Oscars) but we know where to find the 'real' Hollywood.
You can see the Hollywood/Highland complex from our starting point. Yes, it's the middle of winter and we are in shorts and t-shirts!

It is said that the Highland Towers apartment building at one time counted William Faulkner as a resident.
Within minutes we had the parking lots for the Hollywood Bowl in front of us. We headed for the hills and into a different time. I have driven by this area hundreds of times and never knew what lay in those hills. This is why these walks have been so amazing. While some use them as cardio workouts, we seem to dawdle and take our sweet time noticing the largely unnoticed. All this just minutes from Downtown LA - well, if there's no traffic!

Shortly after turning right on Milner we found our first staircase. I love the grand yet subtle design. Only 160 steps.
Walking up many of these stairs allows for peeks into how residents live. Many overlook gardens, and unique backyards.

A view of the High Tower neighborhood. That is also a unique neighborhood and it was covered in a previous stair walk.

Sometimes you really do feel as if you were on someone's property.

A great view of an LA icon from our walk.
Cantilevered homes - a Socal staple.
You won't find too many modern homes in this neighborhood as we have on other hillside walks.

The palm trees were everywhere and added to the overall LA feel.

So many villas in Whitley Heights yet the roar of the freeway is ever-present. Rudolf Valentino's former home was located in this neighborhood and razed to make room for the Hollywood Freeway.

This one was locked - it leads to Highland Blvd and the Hollywood Bowl.

Can you see the buildings of Downtown LA?

Charles and me rockin' our custom Secret Stairs t-shirts.

More Mediterranean-inspired mansions and palm trees.

Watsonia Terrace is a short block housing homes once owned or occupied by a famous costume designer with one name - Adrian. He did Dorothy's ruby red slippers.. Pictured above is another famous costume designer who has two names- Mark Bridges!
After roaming the hills we were back on Highland and walked throught the parking lot of the Hollywood Bowl and Hollywood Heritage Museum. I have to say that I've never visited but I hope to soon. We walked through the parking lot and up the stairs pictured below before going under the 101 freeway for a brief walk on that side of the hill.

The Hollywood Bowl - site of so many memorable Southern California summer nights.

This part was not as charming as the other side but it was still a pleasant walk.

An easy 27 painted steps took us to Iris Circle.

As I was taking this picture a resident opened the door and it made for a good laugh! He closed it so that I could take this picture.

Back under the freeway and to the craziness of Highland Blvd we were soon back to our starting point.

Feel free to join me as I discover hidden parts of Los Angeles and tackle the remaining 6 stair walks.
Steps walked to date: 18,134

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  1. Such great pictures in this one! And such a great neighborhood. These walks have truly been amazing and I'll miss them.

  2. LOVE This !! I used to live on Grace AVe and walk in Whitley Heights everyday ! I miss it, such a cool neighborhood . When I lived there 1992 at the top of Grace ave/ Whitley there was an abandoned old property that was huge and gated and had foundations, must have been a grand home there at one time. The view was basically 360, the Hollywood sign, Hollywood below, it was high up and so beautiful, I am trying to who once owned the home that was on that property , I am sure it was someone of Old Hollywood Royalty.If you find out let me know, at
    THanks I totally enjoyed your photos and comments took me back .
    Canandaigua NY

  3. Rudolphs house was moved to Huntington Beach, ijust found it! Was owned by jean Harlow