(This post was updated May 2017) Before moving to LA I had always dreamed of hiking up 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 realizing how totally illegal it was to do this, unless you’re on The Bachelor(ette) of course! I decided to settle for hiking as close as we could possibly get without being arrested. A good compromise I think.
Originally this post explained how to hike via the Hollyridge Trail at the end of Beachwood, but on April 18, 2017, to comply with a court order, the city didn’t just lock the gate to this trail, they welded it shut 🙁 This was probably the most popular and well-known way to get to the Hollywood Sign before the closure. Not only did it offer stunning views of the sign the entire way, but it was also the shortest and by far the easiest way to get there. Now some residents are trying to have ALL the trails to the Hollywood Sign closed off, so be sure to hike one of these 4 alternate routes while you still can!1.Canyon Drive (park here). This is now the best hiking option. 6.5 miles round trip (7.5 miles total if you add a side trip to the Bronson Caves, the famous entrance to the Batcave). Elevation gain is just over 1,000 feet. Total hike time: 3-4 hours.
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.
2.Wisdom Tree + Cahuenga Peak + The Hollywood Sign (park here and the trailhead starts here). This option is half as long as the hike via Canyon Drive, with about the same amount of elevation, making it a bit more strenuous. 3.2 miles roundtrip. Total Hike Time: 2-3 hours.
3.Griffith Observatory. Park here if you want to avoid the 1-hour hike up to Griffith (beware of traffic – COME EARLY) or park here and enjoy a much easier parking experience + hike along the enchanted Ferndell Trail + get a bit more miles and cardio in. Distance and elevation will depend on where you park, but count on this experience taking 4-5 hours. You can start by hiking up to or parking at Griffith Observatory, then follow the trail that juts straight across to the sign. You’ll want to bring plenty of water and maybe some snacks. You can also grab a bite to eat at The Trails Cafe or The Cafe at the End of the Universe.
4. Lake Hollywood Dog Park. Park anywhere along Canyon Lake Drive here and enjoy the view!
Fun Idea: Bring a costume/ dress up! It was the perfect spot for Mr and Mrs Adventure to get their superhero on and have that perfect Hollywood moment.
WARNING: 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 on this guy on our hike back down from the sign! Please wear your hiking boots and take necessary precautions, after all we are in THEIR Hollywood home.
This jaunt adds an extra 1-1.5 hours to the total hike time, but man oh man is it WORTH IT. Just continue by hiking up the steep trail that ascends towards the right hand side of the Hollywood Sign (when you are facing it). If you can make it to the top for sunset, you’ll be in for a view worthy of an Oscar.
I don’t know what it is about that sign (minus the rattlesnakes), but we always find ourselves feeling more grateful and inspired every time we go. It’s as if our dreams seem more tangible, more possible, more REAL, after being in its powerfully iconic presence.