Week 262: Calabasas Hidden Stairs

March 20, 2022

 AllTrails Calabasas Hidden Stairs, 1.4 miles out-up-and-back, 750 stairs.

Charles Fleming's Secret Stairs hooked Barbara and me on hiking, so when we spotted this 375-step challenge in AllTrails we knew we'd tackle it someday. Someday was today, and as daunting as this staircase looks, it was pretty easy because it's so well-constructed. Unlike the Baldwin stairs or Santa Monica stairs, the Calabasas stairs are even, wide, only about 6"–8" tall per step, and made out of pure concrete with rest stops every 50–75 steps. Once we got the rhythm we were on a roll and made it to the top without gasping for air. The most curious feature of this staircase is its history. After a bit of semi-thorough research online, I found nothing that explained who, why, or when this staircase was constructed. The top of the staircase (with the last two flights locked behind a gate) ends at Prado De Los Gansos, a street in the ultra-exclusive gated community of The Oaks, so the staircase may have been built as some kind of fire escape or maintenance route by the contractor—but your guess is as good as mine. Regardless, the staircase heads straight up a dip in the Santa Monica Mountains in a SE direction. Today was a perfect day for this hike—it rained a bit last night, so the flora sparkled in the sun like glitter on this first day of Spring. We began at the northern trailhead off Calabasas Road, SW of the Calabasas Parkway exit from the 101. Following our map and the trailheads, we realized that we were only a few miles east of the Bark Park hike we did in February. The first park of the hike was probably the biggest non-stair uphill challenge, but we were only about a half-mile away from the staircase and the rest of the trail was simple to follow. A steep dip came with a rope-pulley tied to a tree for stability, and a makeshift plank-bridge at the bottom led us over a drainage channel and on to the sidewalk to the stairs. Going up the steps was a blast. Count steps in a flight (they differ), turn around and look at the view, take pix, or talk to the stream of other climbers on the steps. It was all fun. Disclaimer: AllTrails lists this hike at 2.2 miles, BUT, that's only if you do multiple trips up and down the steps, each adding 0.20 of a mile to the 1.4 mile total distance. When Barbara and I reached the top, we decided that once was enough. We took some photographs of the gorgeous view of the Simi Hills, Santa Susanas, and the SF Valley with a peek at the San Gabriels, and then made our way down the stairs to retrace the trail. If you're a stairway aficionado the Calabasas Stairs are a must-add to your repertoire—one of the men we met on the stairs had finished his fifth lap and started his sixth as we were leaving. 





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