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"Experience is a hard teacher. She gives the test first and the lessons afterwards." - Anonymous

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Hollywood Sign Hike

Hollywood 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.

hollywood sign
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!

Some caution: 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

Hollywood sign hike

Now the 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.

If you 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 hike:

  • Time 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.
  • The 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.
  • The 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.
  • The 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.
  • The 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!

Planning Hollywood Sign Hiking:

  • Pick 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.
  • Carry sufficient water. In summer and during day time, carry at least half a gallon water per person!
  • Print 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 the batteries).
  • Don't forget to bring your camera.
  • Bring some luck! Sometimes, it can be very difficult to get parking close to the trailhead.
  •  

Hiking Hollywood Sign Hike:

The hike route in a nut-shell:
hollywood sign trail map

  1. 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 below.
    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.


  2. This is how the trail starts. Do not go straight. Start climbling as shown in Right Arrows in the picture below:
    hollywood sign parking

    Hollywood Sign Hike#2

  3. 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:

    Hollywood Sign Hike#3

    Photo #2. Bird eye view from the opposite side so the turn is clearly visible:

    Hollywood Sign Hike#4

  4. 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.)

    Hollywood Sign Hike#5

    Hollywood Sign Hike#6


  5. 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.


    Hollywood Sign Hike#7

 

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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