How to Hike to the Hollywood Sign
Los Angeles is a city full of unique things to do; in the city you have museums, bars, shops, and all of the typical touristy places such as the Walk of Fame. With the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Hollywood Hills on the other side there is no shortage of outdoor adventures to take advantage of either!
On our last day in L.A. the girls and I hiked up to the back of the Hollywood sign to see the city from afar. Before getting to L.A. I researched all the hikes in Griffith Park that would take you to the Hollywood Sign.
- Tip: There are a few different trailheads; the one we took also takes you to the Wisdom Tree. Do your research to see what trail is right for you!
We knew we wanted to be up there as close to sunset as possible, but we didn’t want to be stranded hiking out in the dark. After a full day of sightseeing in Hollywood (check out our complete LA vacay here), we took an UBER to Wonder View Drive. Our UBER dropped us off at the intersection of Wonder View Drive and Lake Hollywood Drive, so we had to walk up the road to get to the trailhead. The paved road ends before the trailhead at a yellow gate and you have to walk around it and up the road a little ways before you get to the actual trailhead.
- Tip: Be respectful as you walk up the paved road to the trailhead. You’re walking behind people’s homes, they live here and if visitors aren’t respectful they have the right to complain and possibly get the public access taken away.
Once you get to the trailhead you have the option to take a trail to the right or the left. Take the trail to the left; they are both called the Tree of Life Trail. My roommate, Chesney, and my sister, Brook, hiked ahead fast, while Riley and I took it slow. The trail gets thin, rugged, and steep in some places. I wouldn’t recommend this trail for first time hikers or children, but I believe it is an easy/intermediate hike as long as you make sure you are prepared with the right gear! Water, tennis shoes or hiking boots, breathable clothing, and some snacks are important aspects of day hiking that should be taken and used on this trail.
- Tip: Bring enough water for everyone. We only had two large refillable water bottles and were out of water by the time we reached the summit. You should be drinking approximately 1 liter of water every two hours when hiking. Stay hydrated out there guys!
At the summit of this trail there is a singular pine tree, named the Wisdom Tree by locals. From the hilltop it sits on you can see the ocean, the city, and the surrounding mountains. The views are spectacular, and it’s a place to sit and allow your thoughts to consume you. There is a box filled to the brim with journals sitting underneath the branches, here you can release your reflections onto paper and leave for others to read. It’s a beautiful sight to see and I could have sat and read for hours. But at that point the sun was beginning to set and we had to continue our journey to the Hollywood Sign. Please though, if you do this hike, love the land, respect the tree, and leave only your pencil marks on a piece of journal paper.
We continued on our hike to the sign along the summit of the hill, only falling a few times. Once you leave the wisdom tree the trail to the sign is marked, follow it to Mt. Lee Drive. This road is paved and goes straight to the back of the Hollywood Sign. The sign is fenced in, but you can hike up and there is a bench because the view will knock you off your feet.
- Tip: Take lots of pictures! For all you know this could be the last time you ever set foot there. Laugh with your friends, or just sit and enjoy the moment.
By the time we got to the sign the day was almost to its end. We decided we didn’t want to hike back the way we came since it was dark, so we took Mt. Lee Drive, stopping for a few potty breaks, all the way down. This road winds around a lot, but don’t worry it ends eventually. If you are leaving after dark like we did the gate there is a gate separating Mt. Lee Drive and Deronda Drive, you are still able to exit the gate after dark. We couldn’t get an UBER to pick us up where we were so we continued walking down Deronda Drive admiring the multi-million dollar houses until we found an UBER to come get us.
We were so happy with our experience and I can’t wait to get out to L.A. again and try some new trails. Drop any questions you may have about this hike in the comments and tag us on Instagram on your favorite L.A. hiking trail.