I have been to Los Angeles twice and twice I intended to hike to the Hollywood sign. I failed once. I now know that the Hollywood Sign Trust has an agreement with Google maps and some GPS so that they won’t take you to the right park entrance and you will be way too far from the sign. That’s what happened the first time. I naively thought that following the directions given on the Hollywood sign website would lead me to it. No. It does not. So, how to get there?
First, a couple of things to bear in mind before going, anyone can do it, in the way that it is gentle slope but it is over 9km long there and back which could take you 2 to 3 hours. That’s why it’s better to go early to avoid the heat and take plenty water with you. Trainers are fine, it’s basically a dirt road the whole way and I recommend a hat as there is no shade on the way.
Once you are ready to go, here is the address you will need: 2927 Canyon Dr, Los Angeles CA 90068. When you arrive there, you will most likely see many other cars and basically park when you can. There are several very small parking lots along the way so you could always drive as far as you can and go back if there are no space but even early we had to park on the side of the road. All the way up that road there is a barrier and after that it turns into a wide dirt trail. Carry on that main path for a bit, it curves around but it’s very clear where to go. After a bend you will see a little bench and you will get a nice faraway view of the sign. Carry on and you will get to a sign at a junction, take the left following the Hollywood sign direction.
The trail will then split in two, stick to the right side going up. Always stay on the wide main path and you will start getting views of the sign. You will then arrive to another direction sign, take a left at Mt Lee Road for a little detour that will take you to the front of the sign. It is definitely worth it, it’s as close as you will get to the front of the Hollywood sign. Come back where you were and carry on right uphill onto the paved road. This will take you to the back of it and it is the closest you’ll physically get to the sign but you’re so close you can’t see it all. That’s why I think it’s worth going to see the front as well. You’ll see the radio tower in the distance, you are getting close! Stay on the paved road curving left and at the Junction sign follow Mt Lee summit. At the top, hike on the left of the fence and you’ll get to a steep dirt trail, from there you’ll get a good view of the back of the sign. And you’ve done it! Now you just need to do the way back….
So is it worth hiking 6 miles? I think it’s something you need to do at least once. It is such an iconic monument and the hike will give you views over Los Angeles. The old Hollywood fan in me can’t help thinking about those actresses who climbed up there in the 1920’s.