Hollywood Sign Hike Griffith Park Los Angeles California hiking trail Mount Lee

Want to hike to the Hollywood Sign? One way to get there is a 6.4-mile hike through Griffith Park that summits Mount Lee directly behind the iconic lettering. Beyond just gazing up at the sign, the hike offers the opposite perspective, a chance to look down at the city below. The moderate day hike gains 1,100 feet of elevation over wide fire roads, and the last mile is actually paved. As an alternative, you may shorten the ascent and take Hollyridge Trail to Mount Lee for a 3.5-mile hike with 750 feet of elevation gain, or reach the summit by hiking across the adjacent Cahuenga Peak for a steeper 3-mile round trip hike with 925 feet of elevation gain.

Begin this hike to the Hollywood Sign at the north end of Canyon Drive. After parking in the free lots along the road, hike around the gate up the center of a wide canyon on Brush Canyon Trail. The dirt road finds the east side of the canyon and climbs above the trees. Plan on being completely sun-exposed from this point on.

Brush Canyon Trail rounds the top of the canyon and comes to an overlook at 1.25 miles. The view down on Los Angeles is so satisfying that many hikers turn around right here.

Hollywood Sign Hike
A view of Hollywood from the overlook

Just above the overlook, Brush Canyon Trail merges with Mulholland Fire Road. Turn left and continue west toward Mount Lee. Intermittent side views of the Hollywood Sign will reassure you that you are heading in the correct direction.

Hollywood Sign Hike
Looking east on Mulholland Fire Road toward Mount Lee

The road levels out some as it winds around a few ridges. Bear right at a junction with Hollyridge Trail coming up from Beachwood Drive and the horse stables at Sunset Ranch. Hike past another overlook and continue along Mulholland until the trail hits Mount Lee Road, 2,25 miles from the start.

Hollywood Sign Hike
Looking up at Mount Lee and the Hollywood Sign

Turn right and follow the winding, paved road to the summit, gaining 450 feet in 0.95 miles. As you climb, look east for a nice view of the Griffith Observatory. The road eventually ascends to the north side of the mountain for a view over Burbank, the Verdugo Mountains, and the San Gabriel Mountains.

Hollywood Sign Hike
Looking through the fence at the Hollywood Sign

At the top of the mountain, the road makes a horseshoe bend to the left, passing a plaque and a junction with Aileen Getty Ridge Trail, which crosses a ridge to Cahuenga Peak. Around the bend in Mount Lee Road, you will find yourself right on top of the H in Hollywood. A tall chain-link fence keeps hikers from approaching the tall white letters and obscures the view.

Walk up along the fence to the a closed-off area full of radio towers and take the dirt path to the left up to the true summit, twenty feet above the road. The 1,700-foot mountain offers sweeping views of the eastern ridges and peaks of the Santa Monica Mountains and the city below. Picture everywhere you can see the Hollywood Sign from and that’s what’s in sight.

Hollywood Sign Hike
Looking out over the top of the top of the Hollywood Sign

If you came this far (3.2 miles) and have the energy for a bit more, extending the hike out to Cahuenga Peak is highly recommended. Two tenths of a mile from the top, at the outside of the big bend in the road, find Aileen Getty Ridge Trail and follow this narrow, rugged path west over the ridge to Caheunga Peak. The mountainside drops off steeply on both sides of the ridge, delivering dramatic views that include Lake Hollywood to the southwest. Follow Aileen Getty Ridge Trail for a third of a mile to the 1,820-foot summit of Cahuenga Peak, which was spared from developed by citizens who blocked a housing project and contributed to the Save the Sign campaign. The land was purchased in April or 2010 and donated to the city to become part of Griffith Park. The single-track trail to the less-visited summit is a nice change from the wide fire roads leading up to the Hollywood Sign.

Hollywood Sign Hike
Aileen Getty Ridge Trail to Cahuenga Peak

After enjoying one or both peaks, simply return the way you came. It is 6.4 miles to Mount Lee and back, or 7.1 miles if you include Cahuenga Peak. This is a dog-friendly trail and there is a seasonal drinking hole for dogs about half a mile from the trailhead. No fee or permit is required to visit Griffith Park, so get out and enjoy.

For a bit more fun, head southeast from the trailhead on a dirt fire road to Bronson Cave. After 1/4 mile, turn left into a quarry with a cinematic tunnel made famous for its portrayal of the Batcave in the TV version of Batman from the 1960s. To the right of the tunnel, bold hikers may take very steep path that climbs up the ridge toward Mulholland Fire Road.

To get to the trailhead: From Franklin Avenue, north of the 101 Freeway and Hollywood Boulevard, turn north on Canyon Drive (between Bronson Avenue and Van Ness Avenue) and drive 1.4 miles to the trailhead. There is a small parking area on the left past a larger lot on the right.

Trailhead address: 3200 Canyon Drive, Griffith Park, Los Angeles, CA 90068
Trailhead coordinates: 34.124879, -118.313517

Use the map below to create your own directions:


View Brush Canyon Trail to Mount Lee (in orange) in a larger map
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Photos

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These photos were taken in May of 2010 and August of 2012. Click to enlarge.
Nearby Trails
Hollywood Sign Hollyridge TrailMount Lee and the Hollywood Sign via Hollyridge Trail
This 3.5-mile hike ascends 750 feet to reach the summit of Mount Lee behind the Hollywood Sign.
Bronson Cave hikeBronson Cave
This short easy hike visits a man-made cave recognizable as the Batcave from the 1960s Batman TV series and hundreds of other locations on TV and film.
Griffith Park Mount Hollywood HikeMount Chapel, Mount Bell, and Mount Hollywood
This 5.7-mile loop tops three prominent summits on a panoramic tour of Griffith Park.
Cahuenga Peak hikeCahuenga Peak from Wonder View Trail
This 3-mile hike ascends 925 feet to Cahuenga Peak and the adjacent Mount Lee, home of the Hollywood Sign.
Bee Rock hikeBee Rock
This hive-shaped point on the east side of Griffith Park is reached via a 1.7 to 4-mile round trip hike.
Old Zoo hikeOld Zoo Picnic Area
This half-mile hike explores the abandoned exhibits and animal cages in the ruins of the old LA Zoo in Griffith Park.
Beacon Hill hikeBeacon Hill
This 2.75 to 3.9-mile hike in Griffith Park climbs 500 feet to the easternmost summit in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Amirs GardenAmir’s Garden
This one-mile hike reaches a relaxing garden on the east side of Griffith Park that is a pleasant retreat for hikers.
Hollywood Reservoir TrailLake Hollywood Reservoir Walking Trail
This 3.5-mile loop circles a peaceful fence-enclosed reservoir in the hills below the Hollywood Sign.
Hollywood hikesMore trails in the Santa Monica Mountains
Explore other destinations in the range.
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Mandeville Canyon hikeMandeville Canyon to San Vicente Mountain Loop
This 5-mile hike incorporating a few trails, taking a DWP road up to Westridge to visit San Vicente Mountain, before crossing Mulholland Drive and Canyonback Ridge to return to Mandeville Canyon via Hollyhock Fire Road.
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7 Comments on Brush Canyon Trail to Mount Lee and the Hollywood Sign in Griffith Park

  1. kshoufer says:

    I hiked this trail with the L.A. Meetup group and loved every minute of it.
    Thanks for the detailed post.

  2. Lennie Ross says:

    I’ve done this hike a few times from Canyon Drive. It’s great. Excellent directions and photos. Thank you.

  3. Harper says:

    I hiked this last May. It is a fun “intro to LA” hike. It was less of a slip hazard than a lot of other trails. I was wearing loafers because I didn’t have any sneakers with me at the time and it wasn’t too bad (although I would recommend good sneakers instead!). Views are great. It is popular, but was not excessively crowded or loud. A great half-day activity for active out-of-town guests any time except the hottest part of summer (take plenty of water and go slow and enjoy).

  4. Novice Hiker says:

    What would you say the difficulty of this hike, via Brush Canyon trail, would be? Thanks!

  5. […] More information about this hike: Trail information from hikespeak.com […]

  6. kbernal says:

    This is a general question about trail lengths on this site. When it says 6.4 miles, does that mean out and back, or just one way?

    • hikespeak says:

      Hi- Thanks for the question. For almost all of the hikes on this site, the overall distance given is for the round trip for the whole hike, either an out-and-back return hike or a loop. There are a few hikes that are listed as one-way shuttle hikes, but those will be obviously described that way. For this hike, 6.4 miles is how far you will hike from start to finish (up to the summit and back down). Enjoy!

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