Visitors to Los Angeles often find themselves overwhelmed with activity options and limited time. Additionally, there are a lot of tourist duds. Nearly everything on Hollywood Boulevard is a money and time suck, but somehow the attractions there continue to thrive. Regardless, there are a handful of famous Hollywood icons that are actually worth the trip. Images of Hollywood sign are well known internationally. The sign is located just above the Hollywood Hills in Griffith Park and there are numerous routes that take you to this historic spot.The hike from the Griffith Observatory to the Hollywood Sign is a long, but relatively easy hike that has great views of the city and shows off most of Griffith Park.
What Makes It Great
Believe it or not, but the Hollywood Sign originated like most other signs- as advertising. Initially the sign read ‘Hollywoodland’ and was a promotion for a new housing development in the neighborhood just below. When it was installed in 1923 the Hollywoodland development was intended to be a haven for sophisticated creative types. The neighborhood was successful – either the sign or a smart, European layout can be thanked for that. Over the years the sign has had its ups and downs. The ‘H’ was knocked down when the caretaker was driving drunk and went off the cliff, hitting the ‘H’. But today it is a glorious white and has been since the major restoration in 1978.
The hike begins at the Griffith Observatory. Drive into Griffith Park via Vermont Avenue. After driving up past the Greek Bowl you will encounter a tunnel, drive through and find parking. The first hiking section is along Mount Hollywood Drive. This takes you up along a road that is closed to traffic and has great views. Stay on this for 1.5 miles, then turn left onto, believe it or not, Mulholland Highway. This is the first large dirt road that you will encounter on the left. Stay on Mulholland for 1.2 miles. This will take you down to Mount Lee Drive, take a right on Mount Lee and stay on this until you hit the sign in another 0.8 miles. The return route is the same, but there is also a singletrack trail that traverses above Mulholland if you want to be a bit bold.
Who is Going to Love It
This hike can work for many people. It is not super strenuous, but an out and back totaling 7 miles can be a lot for some. If you have some energetic kids, this is totally doable. It is also a great spot to have a long conversation, as you’re not on technical trails and can think without having to be particularly mindful of your footing. Hikers have a view of the sign for a large majority of the time, so, much like a dog with a rabbit, it gives you great motivation.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From the 5 Freeway, exit at Los Feliz Boulevard and head west. After 1.5 miles turn right onto Vermont Boulevard. Take Vermont up and over the hill. After going through a small tunnel at the top, you will encounter Mt. Hollywood Boulevard on the right. Park here and begin the hike.