Griffith Park is full of Los Angeles landmarks like the Hollywood Sign, the Griffith Observatory, and the Greek Theater. The park includes other less-known prizes like an abandoned zoo and tropical gardens along Ferndell Trail. For those who want to hike up to the Hollywood Sign, there are four obvious routes to choose from:
Hiking to the Hollywood Sign from…
- Burbank Peak Trail – 3 miles round trip with 875 feet of elevation change
- Hollyridge Trail – 3.5 miles round trip with 750 feet of elevation change
- Innsdale Drive – 4.6 miles round trip with 750 feet of elevation change
- Brush Canyon Trail – 6.4 miles round trip with 1,050 feet of elevation change
- Griffith Observatory – 8.8 miles round trip with 575 feet of elevation change
Each route to the Hollywood Sign offers a satisfying hike into Griffith Park.
What is each trail to the Hollywood Sign like?
The shortest, most challenging route takes Burbank Peak Trail (formerly known as Wonder View Trail) and Aileen Getty Ridge Trail to the top of Cahuenga Peak and then crosses a ridge to the Hollywood Sign on Mount Lee. This can be least crowded route, but the trail is rough and packs a good workout on the way to Mount Lee.
The next shortest option, and the easiest way to the Hollywood Sign, is to start on Hollyridge Trail, which departs from the top of Beachwood Drive. Unfortunately, parking restrictions can make this outing longer than the trail length would suggest, particularly on weekends – and a recent closure has made the trailhead for Hollyridge Trail inaccessible.
While slightly longer than the Hollyridge Trail route, the hike up Innsdale Drive, Mulholland Highway, and Mount Lee Drive delivers the greatest head-on views of the Hollywood Sign.
For a good day hike, take the longest route, beginning up Brush Canyon Trail from the end of Canyon Drive. Parking here is fairly ample and adding a side trip to Bronson Cave (a.k.a the Batcave) is easy to do.
Both Hollyridge Trail and Brush Canyon Trail link up with Mulholland Fire Road, taking that trail to Mount Lee Drive to ascend to the the viewing area behind the Hollywood Sign at the top of Mount Lee. Stand at the summit and look down on the Hollywood Sign and out over the cityscape of Los Angeles.
Prefer not to hike? The Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks sometimes offers a shuttle through the park to views of the Hollywood Sign. Griffith Observatory also offers views of the Hollywood Sign.
Looking for another route?
It is also possible to hike from Griffith Observatory to the Hollywood Sign. This route is long at 8.8 miles round trip and crosses over Mount Hollywood along the way for extra climbing. By starting at the bottom of Mount Hollywood Drive from the intersection below the Griffith Observatory, the distance can be shortened to 7 miles round trip, bypassing Mount Hollywood.
The route starting from Innsdale Drive can also be expanded to cross Cahuenga Peak and Burbank Peak, and wrap along the shore of Lake Hollywood Reservoir for an all inclusive 7.4-mile outing on Hollywood Sign – Hollywood Reservoir Loop.
The Hollywood sign isn’t the only hiking destination in Griffith Park, so check out more great Griffith Park Hikes.
What is the history of the Hollywood Sign?
The iconic letters on Mount Lee, which number 9 today, where four letters longer when the sign was erected in 1923. Spelling Hollywoodland, the large white letters advertised a neighborhood developing below the sign along Beachwood Drive and surrounding ridges. The original letters were fifty feet tall and lit by thousands of bulbs. When the letters went up, they were intended to be temporary. However, the Hollywood Sign has endured for nearly 100 years later.
Inevitably, the letters on the sign deteriorated over the years and became an eyesore. The sign was restored in 1949, when ‘land’ was dropped from the lettering to better represent all of Hollywood. The sign needed to be revitalized again by 1979, when the current 45-foot tall letters were installed. What started as a souped-up billboard advertisement is now one of the world’s most iconic landmarks (but lacks national landmark designation).
Trail Map for Griffith Park and the Hollywood Sign
Explore trails to the Hollywood Sign and other hikes in Griffith Park on this map: