Cahuenga Peak is the highest summit in Griffith Park with excellent views of Los Angeles, Burbank, and that iconic landmark, the Hollywood Sign. Burbank Peak Trail (formerly Wonder View Trail) climbs Cahuenga Peak from the west, passing a mini-summit viewpoint on the ridge of Cahuenga Peak known as Burbank Peak, home of the Wisdom Tree. Aileen Getty Ridge Trail goes from Burbank Peak up over the top of Cahuenga Peak and along a ridge to the Hollywood Sign at the top of Mount Lee. Combine Burbank Peak Trail and Aileen Getty Ridge Trail for a hike to three summits that is 3 miles round trip with 875 feet of elevation change.
Burbank Peak Trail and Aileen Getty Ridge Trail Peak are rugged single tracks that provide a good workout and more solitude that other routes to the Hollywood Sign. This route is a shorter alternative to the tradition 6.4-mile hike from Brush Canyon Trail to the Hollywood Sign or the 3.5-mile hike from Hollyridge Trail to the Hollywood Sign.
The first thing to note is that parking is not available at the trailhead or along the top of Wonder View Drive. Don’t be dissuaded. Instead, utilize the free street parking along Lake Hollywood Drive and hike a paved quarter mile up Wonder View Drive to the start of the trail.
Walk through the yellow gate at 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 Trail, which was previously called Wonder View Trail, heads east and rises quickly up the side of the mountain. Radio towers atop Mount Lee become visible view straight ahead, offering a marker for the ultimate destination. To the right, you can look out from the mountainside down a canyon toward Lake Hollywood Reservoir.
Less than half a mile from the end of the road (and 550 feet higher), the steep rocky trail comes to a marked junction on a ridge that runs east up Cahuenga Peak. To the right, Aileen Getty Ridge Trail pushes up Cahuenga Peak. To the left, Burbank Peak Trail extends a short distance farther to a point at the end of the ridge (Burbank Peak) with a well-positioned tree, named the Wisdom Tree.
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 beneath the Wisdom Tree is used by visitors leaving notes at the tree. An American Flag flies next to the peak that is part of a potentially unofficial September 11th Memorial. The 1,690-foot crest that the Wisdom Tree stands over is called Burbank Peak. If you turned around here, the round trip distance for the Wisdom Tree hike would be 1.6 miles, but why not hike even higher?
Follow Aileen Getty Ridge Trail east along the ridge toward Cahuenga Peak. The trail is more gradual now, climbing 145 feet over 1/3 mile to the summit. Looking over your shoulder, you’ll get nice views of Burbank Peak and more distant ridges in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Cahuenga Peak is the twelfth highest summit in the Santa Monica Mountains at 1,820 feet and offers excellent views over the east side of the range.
Cahuenga Peak is linked to Hollywood history because it was purchased in the 1930s by Howard Hughes. Hughes desired to build a home on Cahuenga Peak for Ginger Rogers. She refused and the peak remained undeveloped. Decades later a group of investors set out to build a housing development on the peak. This time it was the citizens of Los Angeles who refused. In April of 2010, Cahuenga Peak was rescued from impending development by the Save the Sign Campaign, which purchased the peak and donated it to Los Angeles to become part of Griffith Park.
Continuing east from the summit, Aileen Getty Ridge Trail drops across a saddle that connects Cahuenga Peak to Mount Lee. As you cross, enjoy a nice view of Lake Hollywood to the south. The main attraction is just ahead.
Go over a shorter undulation in the ridge for a clear view of the backside of the Hollywood Sign (at the newly named Hugh Hefner Overlook). For a closer look, follow the single-track to the end and step out on Mount Lee Drive. Hang a right and take the paved road up to the top of Mount Lee for a view of the back of the tall famous letters through the chain-link fence. Mount Lee is 120 feet shorter and less than 0.4 mile from Cahuenga Peak, making it easy to visit both summits.
After taking in the view from above this LA landmark, simple return the way you came for a three-mile round trip hike.
Burbank Peak Trail and Aileen Getty Ridge Trail provide a great outing for those who want to see the Hollywood Sign, but prefer to hike rugged single tracks instead of refined paved and dirt fire roads. This hike has a fair amount of elevation over a relatively short distance, making it a fulfilling hike that is great for entertaining out-of-town visitors.
No fee or permit is required to hike Cahuenga Peak, 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.
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)
|Burbank Peak |
This 1.6-mile round trip hike climbs to the Wisdom Tree perched at the west end of Griffith Park.
|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.