The Hollywood Sign Hike: Everything you need to know
One of the Top 3 Hikes in LA
The Hollywood Sign is an internationally recognizable symbol. Everyone's seen it in photos or while driving in LA, but for those who have done the hike to the signwalking up to and behind the sign is an entirely new experience. The Hollywood Sign Hike is a must do if you're in LA. The short hike takes you up close and personal with the Hollywood Sign. So close that you might be able to feel the history radiating off of it.
Everything you need to know about the Hollywood Sign Hike
History of the Hollywood Sign
The story of the name for Hollywood comes from when a man was carrying wood one day. When asked what he was doing, he replied, "I holly-wood", meaning he was "hauling wood". The name stuck.
In 1923, the Hollywood Sign was installed to advertise a new housing development. It originally read "HOLLYWOODLAND". The sign was quickly ignored and left to rot. In 1949, the Chamber of Commerce contracted with the City of LA to repair the sign. During the repair, "Land" was removed so that the sign only read "Hollywood"
Why do the Hollywood Sign Hike?
How many people can say they've gotten up close and personal with one of the most recognizable cultural icons of the world? Not too many. And having pictures to prove it is even better. Whether you are a local or a visitor, if you like exercise and the outdoors, then make sure to add this hike to your list.
Planning and preparing for the Hollywood Sign Hike
To start prepping for a hike to the Hollywood Sign, think about what day and time you can go. The park is open between sunrise and sunset. It'd be best to go on a weekday, at an off-time, because there's less people and parking is not restricted. If you go on the weekend, the earlier in the morning you go, the more you'll enjoy the experience. The worst times to go is on the weekend, in the middle of the day, during good weather and tourist season.
The best weather for the Hollywood Sign Hike is during Spring and Fall. We do not recommend the hike during hot weather. You can become dehydrated. Also, don’t go when it’s too cold either. Just kidding, it never gets cold in California.
The Hollywood Sign hike will take you about 2-3 hours round trip, including parking and walking to the trailhead. Hiking one way from the trailhead to the sign is about one hour. Bring plenty of water, at least 1-2 liters, and comfortable exercise clothes.
How to get to the Hollywood Sign - Trail Guide, Directions, and Parking
The Hollywood Sign sits atop the Hollywood Hills, on Mount Lee, in Griffith Park of the Santa Monica Mountains. Complicated, I know!
Is the Hollywood Sign open for hiking?
Yes! The Hollywood Sign is not closed. It's just that one of the ways to get there was closed. But there's still a lot of other ways to get there.
To start your hike to the Hollywood Sign, you first need to choose and get to your trailhead.
Tip: instead of driving and looking for parking at your trailhead, consider one of these options:
- You could park in town and use a ride-share app to get to your trailhead
- The city of Los Angeles offers a 50¢ shuttle to the trailhead: http://hollywoodsign.org/shuttle-frequently-asked-questions/
- Have a friend or family drop you off and pick you up
There's multiple ways to get to the sign, there's multiple trails and multiple trailheads. Here's a few of the trailheads:
Hollywood Sign Hike Trailhead Options:
1.) N. Beachwood Dr. (Sunset Ranch) Trail to Hollywood Sign (Closed)
Currently Closed: The N. Beachwood Dr. Trailhead/Hollyridge Trail is no longer accessible as of April 2017 due to a court ordered permanent closure of the Beachwood Gate. Instead, use Canyon Drive (Bronson Canyon/Brush Canyon Trail), which is 2 blocks east of Beachwood Drive (off Franklin). Or use the Griffith Observatory trail. Sign the petition to re-open this trailhead.
2.) Canyon Drive Trail to Hollywood Sign (Easiest)
The Canyon Drive Trail to the Hollywood Sign has become the go-to trailhead for people looking to do the Hollywood Sign Hike. For this reason, parking can be most difficult here and the trail is the most crowded. The Canyon Drive trailhead has sidewalks, trash cans, a parking lot, and facilities for visitors. This trail is about 6 miles roundtrip and takes about 3-4 hours to complete.
3.) Griffith Observatory Trail to Hollywood Sign (More Difficult)
We recommend starting your hike from the Griffith Observatory. Parking is free at Griffith Observatory. The hike form the observatory is about 6 miles round trip. Not one of the easiest trails but perfect for those looking for more of a challenge. The trail from Griffith Observatory is called the Mt. Hollywood Trail. This trail is about 6 miles roundtrip and takes about 3-4 hours to complete.
Griffith Observatory Trail to Hollywood Sign Walking Directions:
- Park at Griffith Observatory
- From the parking lot, follow W. Observatory Rd.
- Turn left on Western Canyon Rd.
- Turn right on Mt. Hollywood Dr.
- From Mt. Hollywood Dr., turn left on the small and narrow nameless dirt path that connects you to Mt. Lee Dr.
- Follow Mt. Lee Dr. to the Hollywood Sign
Tips for the Hollywood Sign Hike
- The Hollywood Sign Hike is fabulous for a group of family, friends, or co-workers
- Don't get too close! The sign is monitored by security cameras and motion detectors; penalties for trespassing can be severe
- After your hike, stop by Beachwood Cafe for some yummy food
Fun fact: Each letter is 45 feet tall and the sign is 350 feet long in total
Fun Fact from our friend Dani:
Why hike to the Hollywood Sign? Is it worth it?
Yes! Hiking the Hollywood Sign is a hell of an accomplishment! An awesome item to check off your bucket list. It's a really great feeling seeing the sign in person. And who knew the Hollywood Hills are such a surprisingly beautiful place for hiking. The view of the city is incredible, even if it's a little hazy from the smog.
If you enjoyed the Hollywood Sign Hike, consider giving yourself more of a challenge next time by starting at a farther starting point or going on a similar hike around the area.
Our top three recommended hikes in Los Angeles are:
Hollywood Sign Hike Q&A
Question: Is the Hollywood Sign Hike dog-friendly?
Answer: Yes! Bring your furry friends because dogs are allowed on all trails in Griffith Park. The Hollywood Sign Hike is located within Griffith Park!
Question: Is the Hollywood Sign Hike stroller friendly?
Answer: Yup, you should have no problems rolling a stroller, as long as you can push it uphill! The hike goes along paved roads and dirt fire roads.
Question: How close can you get to the Hollywood Sign?
Answer: You can't get very close to it, there's either a chain link fence stopping you or No Trespassing signs telling you you're going to go to jail.
Question: Is the Hollywood Sign haunted?
Answer: Maybe a little...a young actress jumped to her suicide from the sign in 1932.
Question: Is the Hollywood Sign open? When is it closed?
Answer: The Hollywood Sign hours are open for hiking from sunrise to sunset.