How to Hike to the Hollywood Sign

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Hollywood Sign in Griffith Park
Hollywood Sign in Griffith Park (Image: pdphoto.org)

The Hollywood Sign is Los Angeles' most iconic symbol, not to mention the most famous sign in the world. Originally erected in 1923 and then rebuilt in 1979, each letter is 50-feet high and 30-feet wide and the full sign spans 450-feet across the 1,675-foot summit of Mount Lee, overlooking the entire LA basin. Located within Griffith Park, an urban wilderness right in the heart of Hollywood, this strenuous, 5-mile hike will lead you to an overlook just above and behind the sign.

Things You'll Need

  • Comfortable walking shoes.
  • A bottle of water.
  • Sunscreen.

To reach the trailhead, use the Bronson Canyon entrance to Griffith Park, at 2800 Canyon Drive in Hollywood. Follow Canyon Drive into the park all the way to where it dead-ends. Park for free in the last parking lot on your left.

For a pop-culture blast before embarking on this strenuous, 5-mile round-trip hike, cross the road and follow the short trail up to the Bronson Caves. The largest of these caves is better known as the "Bat Cave", which the Batmobile whooshed out of in the campy sixties TV series.

To reach the Hollywood Sign, take the Brush Canyon Trail that begins where Canyon Drive becomes unpaved just beyond the lot where you parked your car. The wide, steep trail rises from the canyon floor, hugging the canyon wall. A stream feeds a thicket of sage, oak and manzanita that recedes as you continue upward.

At the top of the hill, you can admire a jetliner view of the city on one side and the valley on the other. Follow the gently winding road to your left which dead-ends in about a mile just above and behind the Hollywood Sign. A fence keeps you at a distance of about twenty feet. Unfortunately you are not allowed to approach any closer nor climb on the letters and you may be cited if you do.

Hike back down the way you came or for a more adventurous descent, take one of the rough ridge trails back to the Brush Canyon Trail. Be sure to bring a picnic to enjoy at one of the tables at the bottom of the canyon.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wear comfortable walking shoes.
  • Bring a bottle of water.
  • Use sunscreen.
  • Be fit. This is a strenuous hike with a steep ascent.
  • Don't do the hike in the middle of a summer day. There is little or no shade and temperatures can soar into the nineties.

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