Pacific Palisades Walk: Exploring Castellammare

Photo by jmrosenfeld

If you like your hikes to come with expansive ocean views, the sound of crashing waves and the sweet scent of salt air, then this walk is for you. A moderate to strenuous trek -- depending on fitness level -- it explores the stairways and dirt paths of Pacific Palisades' Castellammare neighborhood, set just northwest of Sunset Boulevard, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

The following walking tour of the neighborhood is adapted from my book Walking LA: 38 Walking Tours Exploring Stairways, Streets and Buildings You Never Knew Existed. Free street parking is available on Castellammare Drive.

Castellammare Walking Tour: (Approximate Distance: 1 1/2 miles; Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous):

Starting point: From the intersection of Sunset Blvd. and Castellammare Dr., drive northwest on Castellammare. Park on Castellammare between Stretto Way and the street's dead end.

-Continue on foot to where the paved road ends, and then go ahead on the dirt path. This pleasant, well worn trail dips down toward PCH before heading back uphill to reconnect with the continuation of the paved street.

-Continue ahead on what is still Castellammare Dr., passing a stairway on your right.

-Climb the next stairway on your right, near the intersection of Breve Way, enjoying the sounds of crashing surf behind you.

-Turn right on Revello Dr. at the top of the stairs. At the intersection of Posetano Rd., you'll see a staircase heading about two-thirds of the way up the hill before it dead ends in the brush. If you're looking for an extra workout, head up and down the steps a few times to get your heart pumping.

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-Otherwise, just turn right on Posetano Rd. Look for a staircase on your right just before the road ends and descend back down to Castellammare Dr.

-Turn left at the bottom of the stairs and retrace your steps along Castellammare, crossing the dirt path once again. When the paved road begins, follow it all the way to Stretto Way.

-Turn left on Stretto Way and follow the road as it winds up the hill.

-Turn right on Posetano Rd. At 17531 Posetano, you'll see a towering Italian-style villa named Castillo del Mar. The home's garage was the site of silent film star Thelma Todd's mysterious carbon monoxide poisoning death in 1935.

-Ascend the staircase on your left just before 17445 Posetano. The long stairway is pleasantly bordered by bougainvillea, succulents, cacti and wildflowers.

-Turn right on Revello Dr. at the top of the steps and follow the road as it curves around to the left.

-Bear left onto Tramonto Dr. at the intersection. Watch out for cars because this street is a little more heavily traveled and there are no sidewalks. A gorgeous view of the ocean will open up on your left as you continue up the road.

-Turn right on Quadro Vecchio Dr. In contrast to the dominance of Mediterranean homes in the lower portion of the neighborhood, this street is populated by mostly ranch-style houses, with the exception of a striking modern structure at 266 Quadro Vecchio.

-Turn left on Bellino Dr. and continue to the intersection of Tramonto Dr.

-Turn left on Tramonto and continue back to Revello Dr.

-Bear right to retrace your steps along Revello Dr. Disregard the "Private Road" sign as you continue all the way back to the last staircase you ascended, which you'll find on your left just past some towering bamboo.

-Head down the stairs and turn right on Posetano Rd., continuing to retrace your steps back to Revello Dr.

-Bear left to go back down Revello Dr.

-Turn right on Castellammare, heading back to your starting point near the road's end.

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