"Experience is a hard teacher. She gives the test first and the
lessons afterwards." - Anonymous
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Sign Hike is one of the most spectacular hikes in greater Los Angeles
area. This Hollywood Sign Hike can also be a wonderful idea for any
international tourist to spend around 4 hours. The Hollywood Sign, put
on the top of the Mt Lee, is famous all over the world. Probably it
is as famous as the Hollywood itself.
The Hollywood Sign which can seem tiny from distance is actually around
450 feet wide (Like, two 747 Jumbo-jets placed one after the other!)
and around 44 feet tall! Each letter is like as tall as a 4 storey building!
Let me make one thing clear- the Hollywood sign does not look that great
or gorgeous from the behind. Also, it is not that easy (and not that
difficult too) to get to the top of Mt Lee to have this view in person.
You will need to climb around 600 feet and walk on a climbing trail/road
for around 1.5 miles. Then add 1.5 miles to come back. Plus parking
at the trailhead on the Beachwood street can also be challenging. I
am not trying to scare anyone but wanted to warn everyone. Also, do
not try this after 9 am on any summer day, or in hot weather, unless
you are well prepared and have good amount of water.
If my caution made you feel, well, cautious and you decide not to go
on this hike, here is a free view of the sign- from the behind. I already
said,didn't I that it is not worth it? LOL
tempting part. For those of you who are excited to hike on this Hollywood
Sign Hike, you are not alone. You are in a very good company. Let
me tell you that this is one of the best
hikes available in Greater Los Angeles Area. Period.
are physically fit (I mean an individual in average health), you can
do this hike. Most of us can do it. My 5 year old son hiked with me
last time! He lost interest at one time but a candy did the trick and
completed the hike on his own! Here are the reasons why I love this
spent on this hike will be time very very well spent. Instead of spending
a weekend morning in bed, get out and enjoy the beautiful Hollywood
area of Los Angeles.
Hollywood Sign hike offers a very good workout for most. It is around
2.5 to 3 miles round-trip with elevation gain of around 600 feet.
views are gorgeous- from the top of the Mt Lee as well as on the way
when you are hiking. From the top, you can see beautiful LA landscape
on the South and on the North, you will have awesome views of the
San Fernando valley, Burbank area.
biggest benefit, mostly for the international travelers, and for people
who are just visiting Hollywood/Los Angeles is the bragging rights.
Billions have seen the sign in photos but very few people are lucky
enough to be close to this sign! So if you have a relative visiting
you from India, China, Europe or from any part of the world, take
her on the hike. It costs nothing (parking is free, no admission tickets
to buy!) but your relative will take great memories back home. For
many visitors, this could be the climax of their visit to LA.
last but not the least, you can see some Hollywood stars on the hike!
(Sorry, I have no proof. Just a common sense thing plus if you visit
any travel office or tour operator in Hollywood, they always talk
about the Hollywood stars! Star homes, shops and business they visit,
etc. Even a run-down place in Hollywood would boast of having some
actor X there on some day. So I am sure some Hollywood stars would
have hiked here sometimes!!). I think it is nothing wrong if I also
use Hollywood stars to tempt you to come out and get some workout
on this hike!
a good day/time for hiking. Day time during summer can be difficult
to hike. Mornings work most of the time. Evening will work great too.
The best time could be the evenings on a full moon day. Try to to
be on the top around 15 minutes before the sunset. Not only Hollywood
sign from the behind, you can also see the sun setting in the West
and the Moon popping out in the East. This can be a million dollar
view of LA when the sky has some clouds. The evening sunset colors
on LA Landscape can be memorable. If you are planning for the evening
hike, make sure you carry flash lights for your return journey. Grab
a nice camera and a tripod too if you are in photography.
sufficient water. In summer and during day time, carry at least half
a gallon water per person!
this page, or the trail-guide below and carry with it. There are two
important turns on this hike. If you are hiking for the first time
here, you are likely to miss them. (I did miss the first time I hiked
on this Hollywood Sign hike).
- If you
are hiking in the evening, carry flash light (make sure you have checked
forget to bring your camera.
some luck! Sometimes, it can be very difficult to get parking close
to the trailhead.
The hike route in a nut-shell:
- From 101 Freeway, get on Franklin Ave. Then turn North (Left) on
N Breachwood Ave. Keep driving on N Beachwood Dr until the road ends
and you see a dirt parking lot on your right as shown in second image
For your GPS, try "Sunset Ranch Hollywood" or "3400
N Beachwood Dr, Hollywood, CA 90068". Remember, the dirt parking
has no block number LOL so if you use the above address in your GPS,
stop when the road ends and the dirt parking lot is on your right.
Or if you are an advanced use of GPS, use 34.129413N, 118.314682W
in your GPS.
Be patient while driving on N Beachwood Dr. As long as you are on
N Beachwood Dr, you will not miss the trailhead/parking lot. I am
sure your spouse or friends will ask you muitiple time, "Are
you sure we are not lost?". Or you kids will start their favorite
"Are we there yet?". Just be patient and don't lose N Beachwood
Dr. It is not that difficult though.
This is how the Parking lot looks.
- This is how the trail starts. Do not go straight. Start climbling
as shown in Right Arrows in the picture below:
- Keep walking and you will see a tree on your left. After passing
this tree, look out for the sharp U TURN like turn on your left. (VERY
EASY TO MISS IT but don't miss it!)
Photo#1: Arial view- as you you are walking:
Photo #2. Bird eye view from the opposite side so the turn is clearly
- Once you have taken the FIRST IMPORTANT TURN correctly, look at
the image below. Follow the blue dotted trail until you reach the
SECON IMPORTANT TURN. This is when you hit a paved road. Turn RIGHT
On that road. (Mt Lee Dr.)
- Follow the Road, as shown below in Red. You will approach the top
from the other side of the Hollywood Sign..
If you want to finish the hike quickly (of course at the risk of taking
steep -tough- path, follow the YELLOW path below.
Enjoy the Hollywood sign from the back and great panoramic 360 degree
views of Greater LA, Hollywood, Burbank, San Fernando Valley.
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