21 Feb 2013
Before moving to LA I had always wanted to hike to the famed HOLLYWOOD sign and sit in the giant letter “O,” so I started researching the footsteps of others who had gone before me. Soon after starting my research I realized how illegal it was to do this, so I decided to settle for hiking as close as I could possibly get without being arrested, a good compromise I think.
Living in West Hollywood it takes us about 20 minutes to drive to the base of the Hollyridge Trail head. We absolutely love oohing and aahing at the beautiful homes along the way and staring at the HOLLYWOOD sign, which is right in front of you as you drive along Beechwood, so awesome! Here’s a map so you can plug in your address and figure out how to get there from your home too.
After we parked at Sunset Ranch, which is all the way at the very end of Beachwood Drive, we headed up the path on the right, took a left, and within 10 minutes the HOLLYWOOD sign was in sight! We did this at 8am, so we also had the soundtrack of roosters crowing in the background, so authentic. It’s also usually better to get there early because parking is scarce and the sun can be pretty brutal, but if you don’t you’ll be able to park along the road just before entering Sunset Ranch, no worries we’ve done this before too.
The hike is absolutely beautiful, not too steep, and about 1.5 miles long. There were 2 forks in the road along the way, we went left at both of them, and watch out for the horse poop! Sorry, there’s no glamorous way to say that one. Upon arriving at the raised area of land that sits right in front of the HOLLYWOOD sign, we took out our camera and started snapping shots of the beautiful thing. With the classic blue California sky as the backdrop, the sign never looked more magical!
And the sign isn’t the only site you’ll see up there; on a clear day you can see the entire city, from Santa Monica all the way East to Downtown LA, it’s breathtaking.
At first we thought that was as close to the sign as we could get, until we looked down below and discovered a little paved pathway winding behind a home and up around the corner. We followed it for about 10 more minutes and found ourselves STARING into the face of the HOLLYWOOD sign. It was totally worth the extra jaunt. There are also trees along this portion of the path, if you have a hammock, bring it along and throw it up for a little siesta, we certainly did
It was a leisurely hike back with sweeping views of the city and the HOLLYWOOD sign in the backdrop the entire way. I don’t know what it is about that sign, but I always feel more inspired and like I can see my dreams more clearly after being in it’s presence or something. I hope one day you’ll be able to have your moment in the sunlight with the HOLLYWOOD sign too.
PS- The rattle snake pictured below isn’t from the movies, and those rattle snake signs along the trail aren’t there just for fun, I actually almost stepped right onto this guy on our hike back down from the sign! So please take necessary precautions and remember we are in their Hollywood home.