On Sunday I hiked with a buddy to the Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles. I always wanted to hike to the sign, but never really made it. There are a couple of trails leading to the Hollywood Sign, but the one we took is for sure the shortest one, which makes it also the hardest trail to reach the sign. The trail starts at Wonder View Trail Head and follows the Tree of Life Trail and then continues onto Aileen Getty Ridge Trail.
Now be warned that this trail is very challenging. The first half of the way is very steep and not easy to walk. Wear comfortable hiking boots and bring a lot of water.
Most people take the trail from Griffith Observatory over to the sign. This trail is very long but not as challenging as the one we took from the Wonder View Trail Head.
View the map below how to get to the trailhead and where to park. You only can park on Lake Hollywood Dr near the intersection with Wonder View Drive.
Do not park on Wonder View Drive! Parking is strictly enforced here and I guess you want to have your car waiting for you after coming back from your hike.
Right at the trailhead, there was supposed to be a plague, but somebody removed it and only the mounting stone remains. From here on you will have to climb a steep and rugged trail all the way up to the peak of the mountain. At the top, I recommend you to walk over to the Tree of Life. From there you get spectacular views of Downtown Los Angeles, Griffith Park, and the San Fernando Valley. The tree is also referred to as “Wisdom Tree”. This is the only tree in the area that survived the Hollywood Hills Fire in 2007. At the roots of the tree, you will find a box with books full of wishes who have visited this tree. Facing to the south, towards Downtown, people started building little stone towers with their wishes and notes put in.
This tree is a perfect place for a break of the challenging hike up and it is the only spot which provides real shade. Hang out here for a while and enjoy the views. Once you are rested you can continue east on the trail towards the Hollywood sign at the top of Mount Lee. This trail, the Aileen Getty Ridge Trail, is fairly easy to walk. There is a small challenging part, where you have to climb down a bigger step to continue on. As you get closer to the sign and near the road leading up to the radio towers, you will see two plagues. This two are the biggest sponsors in keeping this trail from being developed to multi-million dollar homes.
Now you are almost at the top. Follow the road up and make a left near the gate of the radio towers. This path leads up to the highest point of Mount Lee and you stand now right behind the Hollywood Sign. Enjoy the spectacular views of Downtown and the Hollywood Reservoir. Did you know that the sign was earlier reading “Hollywoodland” and was changed after restoration to “Hollywood”?
As mentioned earlier, really make sure to bring enough water for the hike. It will get very hot, if the sun is out, and there is no real shade. Be prepared!
It’s about a 3.1 mile roundtrip from the parking spot up to the sign and back down. You will gain about 1000 feet, mostly in the first third of the trail going up to the Tree of Life.