Burbank Peak is a summit-like perch at the end of a ridge extending west from Cahuenga Peak, the highest point in Griffith Park. Hikers have many reasons to reach the top of Burbank Peak. One popular motivation is delivering a message to the Wisdom Tree, a long pine on Burbank Peak that rises above the surrounding brush. The viewpoint also hosts an America Flag in honor of September Eleventh and views over Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley. Burbank Peak presents the opportunity to hike on to Cahuenga Peak and the summit of Mount Lee at the back of the Hollywood Sign.
Burbank Peak Trail is a down-to-business single track that climbs 570 feet in half a mile. Parking isn’t available at the start of the trail, so you’ll also need to walk up Wonder View Drive on this 1.6-mile round trip outing with 740 feet of elevation change.
Since parking is not available at the top of Wonder View Drive where Burbank Peak Trail begins, utilize the free street parking along adjacent Lake Hollywood Drive and hike a paved quarter mile up Wonder View Drive to the start of the trail. Cross a yellow gate near the top of Wonder View Drive and come to a large dirt landing next to a holding tank. Turn right off the dirt road up a single track marked with a sign for Burbank Peak Trail.
Burbank Peak is directly above the start of Burbank Peak Trail, which was previously called Wonder View Trail. Look up and you may see the America Flag at the top. The trail heads east and climbs steep slopes on the south side of Cahuenga Peak.
Burbank Peak Trail is a rugged single track, narrower than other Griffith Park trails, providing a fair bit of solitude. As you gain elevation, radio towers atop Mount Lee come into view to the east. To the right, look out from the mountainside down a canyon toward Lake Hollywood Reservoir and some of the taller buildings in Hollywood.
After 0.45 miles on Burbank Peak Trail (0.75 miles from the start), the ascent finally lets up as the trail comes to a marked junction on a ridge that runs east up Cahuenga Peak. To the right, Aileen Getty Ridge Trail proceeds up Cahuenga Peak. To the left, Burbank Peak Trail extends a short distance farther to Burbank Peak, a point at the west end of the ridge. A well-positioned tree on Burbank Peak named the Wisdom Tree makes the peak easy to identify.
The Wisdom Tree is a solitary pine and a survivor of a 2009 wildfire that burned the slopes to the north. The Wisdom Tree has a few other nicknames, like the Tree of Life, the Giving Tree, or the Magic Tree. The tree’s wisdom seems to have surpassed those other attributes, so Wisdom Tree is the best known title.
At an elevation of 1,690 feet, Burbank Peak has views into the Santa Monica Mountains west of Griffith Park. Rest beside the Wisdom Tree and take in broad views over Burbank and Hollywood. Universal Studios and Toluca Lake lie below the peak. A trail register by the Wisdom Tree is filled with notes addressed to the tree. An American Flag flies beside the peak that is part of a potentially unofficial September 11th Memorial.
If you head back the way you came from Burbank Peak, the outing is 1.6 miles round trip. The terrain ahead is less steep, so you can continue on with less effort. Cahuenga Peak is 1/3 of a mile up Aileen Getty Ridge Trail, which gains another 145 feet. Beyond that 1,820-foot summit, the single track continues across a ridge to Mount Lee just behind the Hollywood Sign.
Dogs are welcome on Burbank Peak Trail, but bikes are prohibited. Parking along Lake Hollywood Drive is free and no hiking permit is necessary. One fun benefit of Burbank Peak Trail comes after you’ve completed the hike and gain a greater awareness of how visible the Wisdom Tree is from different places in the cities below.
To get to the trailhead: Exit the 101 Freeway onto Barham Boulevard and drive north for 1/3 of a mile. Turn right at the light onto Lake Hollywood Drive. Take this winding road for half a mile up to an intersection with Wonder View Drive. Park along the street and begin hiking up Wonder View Drive. If you drive another quarter mile down Lake Hollywood Drive, you will reach the trailhead for Lake Hollywood Reservoir Walking Trail.
Trailhead address: Wonder View Drive & Lake Hollywood Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90068
Trailhead coordinates: 34.1331, -118.3364 (34° 07′ 59.15″N 118° 20′ 11.03″W)
|Cahuenga Peak |
This 3-mile hike on Burbank Peak Trail and Aileen Getty Ridge Trail ascends to Cahuenga Peak and the adjacent Mount Lee, home of the Hollywood Sign.
|Lake Hollywood Reservoir Walking Trail |
This 3.5-mile loop circles a peaceful fence-enclosed reservoir in the hills below the Hollywood Sign.
|Hollywood Sign via Innsdale Drive, Mulholland Highway, and Mount Lee Drive |
This 4.6-mile round trip hike combines trails and streets to deliver some of the very best views of the Hollywood Sign on the way to the summit of Mount Lee above the sign.
|Hollywood Sign - Hollywood Reservoir Loop |
This 5.4 to 7.4-mile loop combines trails and streets to visit the Hollywood Sign on Mount Lee, neighboring Cahuenga Peak and Burbank Peak, and Lake Hollywood Reservoir.
|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.
|Mount Lee and the Hollywood Sign via Brush Canyon Trail |
This 6.4-mile hike crosses Griffith Park from Canyon Drive to the top of Mount Lee directly behind the landmark Hollywood Sign.
|Mount Chapel, Mount Bell, and Mount Hollywood |
This 5.7-mile loop tops three prominent summits on a panoramic tour of Griffith Park.
|Bronson 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.
|Ferndell Trail |
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.
|Griffith Observatory via East Observatory Trail |
This 1.5-mile hike from Vermont Canyon Avenue up to Griffith Park's great observatory delivers excellent views over Los Angeles along the way.
|Griffith Observatory to the Hollywood Sign |
This 8.8-mile hike travels from one Griffith Park landmark to another, crossing Mount Hollywood along the way.
|Mount Hollywood |
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.
|Glendale Peak |
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.
|Cedar Grove & Vista View Point Loop |
This 2.3-mile loop on the southeast side of Griffith Park follows paved and unpaved trails to two park attractions, a quiet grove with a picnic area and a helipad with panoramic views.
|Bee 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 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 |
This 2.75 to 3.9-mile hike in Griffith Park climbs 500 feet to the easternmost summit in the Santa Monica Mountains.
|Amir's Garden |
This one-mile hike reaches a relaxing garden on the east side of Griffith Park that is a pleasant retreat for hikers.
|More trails in the Santa Monica Mountains |
Explore other destinations in the range.