February 25, 2013

A Hike to the Hollywood Sign

The Hollywood sign via Flickr (link to source)

The iconic Hollywood sign looms over Los Angeles and hiking up to it is the best way to see the sign up-close and enjoy beautiful views of LA all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

Originally spelled out "Hollywoodland", it was put up in 1923 to promote the new housing development in Beachwood Canyon. The area was very rural at that time and the new development of fanciful French Norman and Spanish-style homes with views of the LA basin drew people looking for a more melancholic, idyllic lifestyle. I live in the neighborhood and the community is very much the same today.

Recently re-painted bright white, the Hollywood sign is looking better than ever. You could drive up to the official overlook point above the Hollywood Reservoir, but it's more fun to enjoy the LA weather and partake in the Angeleno love of hiking by spending an hour or so scrambling up to the sign. Wouldn't you like a view like below??
View from behind the Hollywood sign

This Hollyridge Trail is an easy to moderate 1.5 hours +/- hike total up and back.  The trail is either dirt or paved roads and anyone can do it- you'll see seniors, strollers, locals, and tourists from all over the world. On the way up - starting from the drive along Beachwood Drive and throughout the hike up - you'll get many great views and photos ops of the front of the sign.

Detail of the Hollyridge trail to the Hollywood sign
Hollyridge trail - where to park

It's also easy to get to the trailhead: Just drive up to the end of Beachwood Drive and park. You'll see a sign that says "Hollyridge Trail". On the way up Mt. Lee you will admire Griffith Observatory perched on the hill to your right (which you could also hike to if you are feeling ambitious). Then take the hard left hairpin turn and continue up. It'll take about 45 minutes to get to the top if you are leisurely about it. See detailed directions at this link.

When you arrive at the top of Mt. Lee the view of Los Angeles is laid out before you and you are directly behind the sign. Don't even think about scaling the fence :).

View from Griffith Observatory towards the Hollywood sign


  1. Did the hike on Sunday September 15th. Very rewarding. Although there is a caution sign warning of rattlesnakes, I didn't see any. A really unique hike due to the celebrity of the Hollywood Sign and the beautiful views, panoramic and well beyond. It took us 35 minutes to climb to the top of Mt. Lee.

  2. Hi Sam! I'll be in LA and I want to get to the back of the sign, but I've read that the Beachwood has been closed indefinitely? Is that true? I've also read that you can take Linforth to Deondra and then hike up Mt. Lee road from there. How long would it be to take that route? I don't think I'll have time to take the Bronson Canyon route.

  3. Hi!!
    I just wanted to double check--is the Hollyridge Trail (from N Beachwood Drive) open again? I've been looking it up and apparently it was closed for ages--is it open now, though?
    Thank you!

  4. Hi, do you know whether there is a bus that can take you to the beginning of the trail and pick you up at the end so you can hike there and get a lift back? I am planning a trip there but we aren't staying in LA long and have a lot to cram in!! Thanks!!

  5. Hi Sam, wherected is the best place to get a close as you can to take a photo IN FRONT of the sign?
    Thank you

  6. I believe it is no longer possible to do the Hollyridge Trail, could anyone please confirm?