Welcome, aspiring adventurers and Hollywood enthusiasts! Today, we embark on a quest that has captured the hearts of countless dreamers and movie buffs alike. Our destination? None other than the iconic symbol of Tinseltown’s glamor and allure—the Hollywood Sign! Before we begin our guide on how to get to the Hollywood sign, you need to understand the location first.
Where is the Hollywood Sign Located?
At the near top of Mount Lee, you’ll find the world-famous Hollywood Sign, a symbol of glamour and excitement in California. If you enter the coordinates 34.134226, -118.321387 into a GPS receiver, it will guide you to this iconic landmark. The Hollywood Sign is an impressive sight with its bright white, fifty-foot-tall letters visible from many spots in Los Angeles.
The Hollywood sign is a beacon of hope for people who come to California to make their dreams come true.
– Randy Newman
What is the history of the Hollywood Sign?
Originally built in 1923, the sign spelled “Hollywoodland” and served as a giant outdoor advertisement for the Beachwood Canyon community below. Over time, the American dream has evolved shifting from owning a house to seeking fame and fortune. However, the Hollywood Sign still carries the same hopeful message: “It’s the place where dreams can come true”.
In 1949, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce took over ownership of the sign and removed the last four letters, so that it would simply read Hollywood. The sign was also rebuilt with steel and concrete to make it more durable.
Over the years, the Hollywood Sign has become an iconic symbol of Los Angeles and the entertainment industry. It has been featured in countless movies, TV shows, and photographs, and it is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.
The Best Time to Visit the Hollywood Sign
The best times of day to visit the Hollywood Sign are early morning and late afternoon. During these times, the temperature is cooler, and the lighting is better for photography. Additionally, there are fewer crowds, which means you can enjoy the hike and the view without feeling rushed or crowded.
It’s important to check the weather forecast before you visit the Hollywood Sign. While early morning and late afternoon tend to be the best times to visit, if it’s going to be extremely hot or rainy, it may be best to postpone your visit. Safety should always be your top priority when hiking, so make sure you’re prepared for any weather conditions you may encounter.
How to Get to The Hollywood Sign?
Getting to the Hollywood Sign is a top priority for many visitors to Los Angeles. We all want that perfect photo of the iconic landmark! So, here are the fastest and easiest ways to reach the Hollywood Sign, whether you want to take a picture in front of it, see it from a different angle, or simply enjoy the breathtaking views from above. Let’s get started on this exciting adventure!
Note: Griffith Park offers several popular trails that lead to the iconic Hollywood Sign, including the Hollywood Trail, Brush Canyon Trail, Wonder View Trail, and the Cahuenga Peak Trail. Each of these trails offers a different level of difficulty, so you can choose the one that matches your hiking skills and preferences.
1. Via Hollywood Trail
This is one of the most popular routes to the Hollywood Sign, starting from Griffith Park. The trail is around 6 miles long, and it offers a moderate level of difficulty, suitable for most hikers. Along the way, you’ll get various viewpoints of the sign and the city.
Keep in mind that it might take you around 2-3 hours to complete the hike, so bring some water and wear comfortable shoes. With the Hollywood Trail, you’re in for an unforgettable journey that culminates in one of the best views of the iconic Hollywood Sign. Happy hiking and don’t forget your camera!
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2. Brush Canyon Trail
Another option from Griffith Park, this trail is about 6.5 miles long and offers a more challenging experience compared to the Hollywood Trail. The highlight of the Brush Canyon Trail is the unique perspective it offers of the Hollywood Sign.
Along the way, you’ll get fantastic glimpses of the iconic landmark from different angles, making for some incredible photo opportunities. The trail’s winding path takes you through lush landscapes and provides a true sense of adventure.
3. Wonder View Trail
Starting from Lake Hollywood Drive, the Wonder View Trail takes you on a journey through nature, providing an opportunity to connect with the wilderness while still being close to the city. As you ascend along the trail, you’ll pass by the Wisdom Tree, a solitary pine tree that became a symbol of hope after surviving a devastating wildfire in 2007.
However, this section also coincides with the route’s most challenging part, as there are a few steps along the ridge and the path narrows considerably at this point. The good news is that there are no more steep ascents or descents in this section.
Hugh Hefner Overlook is the last stop before resuming your ascent up Mount Lee over a paved road. The area you are walking on was donated by the creator of Playboy, making it feasible for the public to use it again as a route.
- The trail is approximately 3 miles long, making it shorter than some of the other options in Griffith Park. The trail has a moderate level of difficulty, with some uphill sections, but it is generally manageable for most hikers.
- Plan for approximately 1.5 to 2 hours to complete the hike, including time for breaks and taking photos. It’s a great choice for those looking for a picturesque hike without spending the entire day.
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4. Cahuenga Peak Trail
Starting from Lake Hollywood Drive, the trail can be accessed via a yellow gate at the top of Wonder View Drive. It’s essential to note that the Cahuenga Peak Trail is considered to be more challenging than some other trails in Griffith Park due to its rocky and less defined terrain.
As such, it’s best suited for hikers with some prior experience or those looking for a more adventurous trek.
This trail is around 5.5 miles long and offers a challenging hike up to Griffith Park’s highest point. It provides stunning views of Los Angeles and the Hollywood Sign from the top. The terrain can be rocky and less defined, so make sure you’re comfortable with a bit of a rugged trail. Allow yourself around 3-4 hours for this hike including breaks.
There is also some fascinating Hollywood lore along the path. Howard Huges, intending to construct a home for Ginger Rogers, purchased the surrounding property in the 1930s. After breaking up with him, she no longer had any interest in his lavish present. Once again, residential construction was planned for the area in 2010.
Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy magazines, spearheaded fundraising efforts that allowed donors like Andy Williams and Alice Cooper to purchase the site on which the Hollywood Sign stands.
5. Mount Hollywood Trail
The Mount Hollywood Trail is a beautiful and rewarding hiking route that takes you up to the top of Mount Hollywood, the highest point in Griffith Park.
To start your hike, head to Griffith Observatory, which is itself a popular attraction in Los Angeles. The trailhead for Mount Hollywood is located north of the observatory parking lot. If you arrive early, you might find free parking; otherwise, consider taking the LADOT DASH Observatory Bus from the Vermont/Sunset stop to avoid parking hassles.
After approximately half a mile, you’ll reach Dante’s View. It is a great resting spot where you can catch your breath and enjoy sweeping views of the city below. From here, the Hollywood Sign is just a quarter of a mile farther up the trail.
The trail is approximately 3 miles long and offers excellent cityscape views from Dante’s View. It’s a moderate hike that takes around 1.5-2 hours to complete making it a great option for those who prefer a shorter and less strenuous hike.
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6. Innsdale Trail
The Innsdale Trail is an excellent option if you want to get a close and frontal view of the Hollywood Sign.
The total length of the Innsdale Trail is around 1.5 miles. Ideally, if you are coming with kids, this is one of the best ways to get to the Hollywood Sign. It might take you about 1-1.5 hours to complete the hike but that mainly depends on your pace and how much time you spend taking pictures.
Eventually, you’ll come across the last home on Mulholland Drive, which serves as an excellent spot for photos with the Hollywood Sign in the backdrop. You can easily find this location on Google Maps for reference.
Please keep in mind that the Innsdale Trail passes through a residential area, so it’s essential to be mindful of the residents’ properties and to follow the designated path. Also, ensure you wear comfortable shoes and carry some water to stay hydrated throughout the hike.
Things to Consider Before Going to Hollywood Sign
Keep the following considerations in mind before visiting the Hollywood Sign:
- There is minimal shade in the mountains above Los Angeles, so be sure to bring lots of water and plan your trip early in the day if you want to visit during the summer.
- Put on a good pair of walking shoes. These treks cover a lot of ground and might take a while.
- Photographing the Hollywood Sign at sunset or dawn is a must, but keep in mind that the trailheads are locked up for the night. Griffith Park’s resident mountain lion, P-22, is a nocturnal roamer.
- From 5 a.m. until 10:30 p.m., visitors can enjoy Griffith Park.
- You cannot reach out and touch the sign because of how far away it is. Security guards watch over the iconic letters around the clock to prevent destruction.
- It is challenging to get a parking spot in the Hollywood Hills due to the tight, curving lanes. Without at least a brief trek on a Hollywood Sign route, you cannot get there. You can take a tour, use public transportation, or order an Uber / Lyft instead of driving.
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Getting to the Hollywood Sign is not as easy as driving down the road because of a challenging hike. However, with the routes we mentioned above, you can easily visit the Hollywood sign without any major hurdles. Be sure to choose the right track given each one’s difficulty is varying.
How to Get to The Hollywood Sign? - FAQs
No, driving directly to the Hollywood Sign is not advised. The roads leading to the sign are steep and narrow, often congested with parked cars. It’s mainly a residential area, and you may face challenges finding parking spaces.
While you can photograph the Hollywood Sign at sunset or dawn for amazing views, the trailheads leading to the sign are closed at night. Plus, the sign is not lit up during the night, so it might not be visible in the dark.
While you can take pictures of the Hollywood Sign from various vantage points, there are restrictions on getting too close to the sign itself. To protect the landmark, there are security guards monitoring the area to prevent any potential damage or vandalism. Always respect the boundaries and follow the guidelines set for the preservation of this iconic symbol.
Yes, you can see the Hollywood Sign from Griffith Observatory. It offers a stunning view of the sign and the city. It’s a popular spot to take pictures, but the view is from a distance, unlike the close-up experience you get from the hiking trails.
Yes, pets are generally allowed on the hiking trails in Griffith Park. However, keep them on a leash and bring water for them.