Hike to the Hollywood Sign
This is a popular hike to the top of Mount Lee in Griffith Park using a series of fire roads. The Hollywood Sign sits just below the peak on the southern slope, and that is your destination. Like most of the trails in Griffith Park, these are very wide and well-maintained fire roads. Some parts are paved, but it's mostly graded dirt. These are very busy trails, and you likely won't have any solitude at any point. None of the trails or junctions are signed, but it's usually fairly obvious where you need to go.
The main trail starts through the gate at the end of the road, but before you start on the main trail you have the option of taking a sharp right and passing through another gate, which in just a few minutes will get you to Bronson Caves. These are man-made caves that were used as the Batcave in the original Batman TV series from the 1960s. They're pretty cool to see and walk through. Definitely worth the short side trip. Head back to the trailhead to start the main hike.
You start out on a paved road that quickly turns to dirt. You start your slow descent up the canyon, gaining about 550 ft in the first mile. There are a lot of huge oaks and sycamores that continue all the way up the canyon, but once you start ascending out of the canyon there is pretty much no shade for the rest of the hike. At just over a mile you'll reach a 3 way junction where you'll want to go left. Going right will take you over to the Griffith Observatory, which you can see from here.
The next mile is fairly flat, and you'll get your best front-side views of the Hollywood Sign here. Hike out onto an obvious spur trail from one of the overlooks for a minute for the best view of the sign. On clear days you'll have great views of LA, the Pacific Ocean, and even Catalina Island in the distance.
Eventually you'll come to another 3 way junction, and you'll want to stay right and start heading up. You'll quickly come to another junction. Take a right again onto the paved road. This paved road will get you to the top in about another mile. This is the steepest climb of the hike, but it's all paved and manageable. Before getting to the top the trail hugs the north side of the mountain. You'll get some shade here, and some great views of the San Fernando Valley to the north and the Verdugo and San Gabriel Mountains. Once you turn the corner you'll be right behind the Hollywood Sign, with a chain link fence keeping you from getting too close. Keep heading up about another 50 ft to the peak. Take in the views and head back the way you came.
On the way down you have an option of extending your hike a bit by heading over to Cahuenga Peak and the "Wisdom Tree", which I highly recommend. Right before you start descending the north side of the mountain, on your left there's a large plaque. The trail to Cahuenga Peak starts here, and it's actually a pretty steep and rugged climb to the summit. Cahuenga Peak is the highest peak in Griffith Park at 1821 ft., and you'll have awesome 360 degree views. Keep going another quarter mile or so to the Wisdom Tree, a large pine tree that is supposedly the only survivor of a 2007 fire. This extended our hike to 8.5 miles and 1700 AEG. A great day hike.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.
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