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 1,050 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 875 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.
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.
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.
Turn right and follow the winding, paved road to the summit, gaining 430 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.
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.
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.
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. Check out this breakdown of the trails to the Hollywood Sign to compare the routes to Mount Lee and find other hikes in Griffith Park.
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: 34.12485, -118.3136 (34° 07′ 29.46″N 118° 18′ 48.95″W)
|Mount 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.
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.
|Mount Chapel, Mount Bell, and Mount Hollywood|
This 5.7-mile loop tops three prominent summits on a panoramic tour of Griffith Park.
|Cahuenga Peak from Wonder View Trail|
This 3-mile hike ascends 875 feet to Cahuenga Peak and the adjacent Mount Lee, home of the Hollywood Sign.
This 1,625-foot peak is a star of Griffith Park with panoramic views that can be reached from Griffith Observatory on a steep 1.4-mile hike or a scenic 2.65-mile trek and from lower in the park in Western Canyon for a hike of around 4.2 miles.
This relaxing half-mile hike goes through a tropical garden in the lushest little canyon in Griffith Park. Explore farther on a 1.75-mile hike in Western Canyon or venture up to the Griffith Observatory to see more of the park.
|Griffith Observatory via West Observatory Trail|
This 2.1-mile hike ascends from Western Canyon up ridges to Griffith Observatory, getting sweeping views over Los Angeles and Griffith Park along the way.
This hike is around three miles long and visits a less known summit on the southeast side of Griffith Park with views that deserve more attention.
|Glendale Peak – Mount Hollywood Loop|
This 4.15-mile hike tops two summits in Griffith Park that both have awesome views.
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 Picnic Area|
This half-mile hike explores the abandoned exhibits and animal cages in the ruins of the old LA Zoo in Griffith Park.
This 2.75 to 3.9-mile hike in Griffith Park climbs 500 feet to the easternmost summit in the Santa Monica Mountains.
This one-mile hike reaches a relaxing garden on the east side of Griffith Park that is a pleasant retreat for hikers.
|Lake Hollywood Reservoir Walking Trail|
This 3.5-mile loop circles a peaceful fence-enclosed reservoir in the hills below the Hollywood Sign.
|More trails in the Santa Monica Mountains|
Explore other destinations in the range.
|Westridge Trail to San Vicente Mountain|
This 7.4-mile hike travels a scenic ridge between a Brentwood neighborhood and a summit that was once used as a Nike Missile site.
|Mandeville 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.
This 6.25-mile loop summits the tallest peak in the Santa Monica Mountains.
|Parker Mesa Overlook|
This steep out-and-back hike rewards the effort with excellent views of the Pacific Ocean.
|Stunt High Trail to Saddle Peak|
This 7.5-mile hike combines Stunt High Trail and a section of the Backbone Trail to visit the 6th tallest summit in the Santa Monica Mountains.