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Mount Lee to the Hollywood Sign
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mini location map2014-12-25
30 by photographer avatarwinotron
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Mount Lee to the Hollywood SignLos Angeles, CA
Los Angeles, CA
Hiking avatar Dec 25 2014
Hiking8.42 Miles 1,688 AEG
Hiking8.42 Miles   4 Hrs   15 Mns   2.41 mph
1,688 ft AEG      45 Mns Break5 LBS Pack
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
My girlfriend and I spent our Christmas vacation in the LA area with her family, so I wanted to get a couple hikes in while we were there. This seemed like a quintessential LA city hike, going up to the iconic Hollywood Sign. I'd been to the Griffith Park Observatory but had never hiked here. We got started fairly early on Christmas morning, so the crowds weren't out yet and we easily found parking. The weather was just perfect. Slightly chilly but sunny and breezy.

The hike is basically a series of wide fire roads that go right up to behind the sign. None of the trails/roads are marked so I made sure I knew which way we were going beforehand. It's just over 3 miles to the top of Mount Lee where the Hollywood Sign is. It's a steady climb, but nothing too steep. It gets a little steep in the last mile before the sign, but it's very manageable as it's on a paved road. It was an exceptionally clear day, so we took our time and really enjoyed the views of the LA area, the San Fernando Valley to the north, and the Pacific Ocean. It was even clear enough for us to see Catalina Island off in the distance.

We made it to the top and even though the trails weren't too busy on the way up here, there were at least 2 dozen people hanging around at the summit. We didn't stay long because of that. On the way down we decided to extend our hike by taking the connecting trail over to Cahuenga Peak, which is the highest point in Griffith Park. It's only about half a mile to Cahuenga Peak, but it's a good 500 ft climb, and it's a surprisingly steep and rugged single track trail. Nothing like the fire roads we hiked to get up here, so it was a nice change of pace. The 360 degree views from the peak were awesome...much better than the views from the Hollywood Sign.

We made it to the peak and saw the Wisdom Tree another half mile away to the west and decided to keep going. It was a nice hike along the ridge to the tree, with great views on both sides and further into the Santa Monica Mountains to the west. There was a summit register under the tree full of all kinds of odd things. We hung out for a bit, enjoyed the breeze and the beautiful weather, and headed back the way we came. There were a LOT more people coming up as we were going down. Good thing we made it out here early. I can only imagine how crowded these trails get on the weekend.

And to cap off a great hike, we crossed paths with Vince Vaughn just before we got back to the trailhead! He said hello to us as we passed. Only in LA! We got back to the trailhead and took the little detour to Bronson Caves, aka the "Batcave" from the original Batman TV series. Pretty cool to see.

Don't expect even an inkling of solitude, but this is a great urban hike. If you're in the area it's definitely worth doing at least once. We'll be checking out more of the Griffith Park trails the next time we're here.
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