Hollywood Sign Hike
I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! Ours was full of grey skies and rain, but we made the best of it. We decided to venture off the beaten path and try hiking to the legendary Hollywood sign. It was such a great hike and so much fun that I thought you guys might like to (vicariously) visit the much talked about and often filmed tourist attraction!
We started out by bearing the brunt of some typical weekend traffic, navigating our way down the 101 toward Hollywood. We took the Vine St. exit, found our way to Beachwood Dr. and carried on until we saw a promising sign in the distance…
Beachwood Dr. comes to an end right at the mouth of the Hollyridge trail-head on the west side of Griffith Park (another great stop if you find yourself touring around Los Angeles). There is a small parking lot, but to avoid any parking tickets or unnecessary road rage we snagged one of the many street-side parking spots. We followed the many signs marking the Hollyridge Trail and indicating the direction of the Hollywood sign. During the summertime you really have to be on the look-out for rattlesnakes- the warning signs aren’t just for show. My sister and I were hiking with the dogs over the summer and almost ran smack-dab into a big, coiled up rattlesnake. The sound of little maracas scared the living daylights out of us and taught us to pay much closer attention during future hikes!
I was busy taking pictures of all the various signs for you guys when my sister said “Turn around!”…
There it was! Sprawled out behind us were the unmistakable gigantic white letters. Interestingly enough this Hollywood icon was never meant to stick around for nearly a century. Upon it’s completion in 1923 the sign read “Hollywoodland”. The big, white, wooden letters were constructed to advertise a new housing development. It garnered increasing attention and quickly became a legendary landmark and cultural icon of Los Angeles… although after years or deterioration, the letters are now made of steel.
If you’re not up for a big hike, the first five minutes of the trail offer plenty of ideal opportunities to take some snapshots of the sign. If you’re up for an adventure and a plethora of panoramic views, then by all means give the trail a try! The Hollyridge trail isn’t just for pedestrians- dogs are welcome… and so are horses! There’s a large stable at the bottom of the hill where horseback tours of the trails depart. This looked like a fun and informative (if not super expensive) way to see the sign!
Unbeknownst to us, we were supposed to take a sharp left up the hill in order to (quickly) reach the Hollywood sign. We opted out of this option because, oddly enough, there was a large sign forbidding access due to dangerous conditions… hmmmm. Instead, we trail-blazed ahead, following the dirt path as it wound its way around the hilltops. We were enjoying the panoramic views of the city when we spotted what looked like the “D” of the Hollywood sign on a neighboring hilltop shrouded in mist.
Our trail came to a dead-end at the top of the hill, so we decided to follow a tiny and quite challenging path along a ridge that connected our hilltop with the mist-covered sign in the distance. We apparently looked so confident in our trail-blazing that we convinced a group behind us to follow suit. Luckily, after 20 minutes and a small, tree-covered pathway, we eventually found ourselves on a paved, white-picket-fence-lined road.
We followed the road as it led us into the mist. We rounded a corner and caught sight of the letters rising from the hillside before us. Just so you know, you end up behind the Hollywood sign… which is behind a security gate.
Luckily we enjoyed the scenic views and snapped some pictures just before a dense layer of fog engulfed the whole hilltop.
As we made our way back down the hill, we felt sorry for the tourists with fancy cameras who were destined to see nothing but fog. Doh! Speaking of tourists, for such a legendary location, the whole hike was relatively void of the mass crowds one might expect. I’m not sure if it was the weather, the time of year, or just dumb luck, but we enjoyed a very peaceful hike.
The way back down, by the way, went much faster since we took the correct path this time. That being said, if we were to do this hike again, I would still take the longer, more adventurous path on the way up! ;)
I hope you enjoyed our little hike to the Hollywood sign! If there’s anything else that you are dying to vicariously visit, let me know! I’ve already gotten one request to show some of the crazies California is so famous for! ;)
Have a great day, and I’ll see you tomorrow!