Hikers have several ways to reach the Hollywood Sign atop Mount Lee in Griffith Park. For a short steep hike, you could cross Cahuenga Peak for a tough 3-miler. For a lengthier 6.4-mile trek, you could hike from Brush Canyon Trail to Mount Lee. For something just right, consider setting out on Hollyridge Trail for a 3.5-mile round trip hike that climbs 750 feet to the Hollywood Sign.
The journey begins from a trailhead at the top of Beachwood Drive (just before the Sunset Ranch horse stables. Start up a wide dirt trail, which quickly comes to a T with Hollyridge Trail. Turn left and head north up the ridge.
After a tenth of a mile on Hollyridge Trail, reach a viewpoint of the Hollywood Sign. It is an angled view of the sign, but all nine letters are visible and this is one of the hike’s best perspectives of the Hollywood Sign.
Just past the viewpoint, stay straight past a horse trail coming up from Sunset Ranch and continue another quarter mile up to a junction with Mulholland Fire Road. Make a sharp left turn (joining hikers coming up from Brush Canyon Trail) and proceed a quarter mile to a junction with Mount Lee Road.
Turn right on Mount Lee Road 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.
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 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 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 and have the energy for a bit more, it is highly recommended that you extend the outing and hike over to Cahuenga Peak. Follow the narrow and rugged Aileen Getty Ridge Trail west over the ridge to the 1,820-foot summit. 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 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 seeing the Hollywood Sign and enjoying the view from Mount Lee, you may return the way you came for a 3.5-mile hike (or a 4.2-mile hike if you include Cahuenga Peak). No fee or permit is required to hike in Griffith Park and this trail is dog friendly 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.
Update: After a 10-month long construction project, a gate has been added on Beachwood Drive below the trailhead (photo below). The door is open for hikers to pass through. On the other side, walk up the steep paved road to the start of the trail on the right. A small parking area next to the trailhead can only be reached if access is granted at the gate. Otherwise, hikers must rely on the limited and restricted street parking. To minimize the impact on the surrounding neighborhood, it would be great if the city’s DASH bus line was extended to the top of Beachwood Canyon (at least on weekends) in order to provide another way to reach the trail. A Griffith Park Shuttle could also serve this purpose
Second Update: As of Mid-March, 2017, Beachwood Drive access to Hollyridge Trail may be closed off again. The park is rerouting visitors to take Brush Canyon Trail to the Hollywood Sign for legal (and NIMBY) reasons. Read more at dailynews.com.
The basic directions for this hike are:
- Begin up Hollyridge Trail from the top of Beachwood Drive
- Reach the top of Hollyridge Trail and turn left onto Mulholland Fire Road (0.45 miles)
- Turn right up Mount Lee Road (0.7 miles)
- Round the bend just below the summit, passing Aileen Getty Ridge Trail to Cahuenga Peak (1.6 miles)
- Reach the top of Mount Lee above the Hollywood Sign (1.75 miles)
To get to the trailhead: Take the 101 Freeway to the Gower Street Exit (8C). From the southbound off ramp, turn left on Gower Street, make the first right on Franklin Avenue, and an immediate left on Beachwood Drive. From the northbound off ramp, turn right at the bottom of the ramp onto Beachwood Drive and cross Franklin Avenue. Proceed north on Beachwood Drive for 2 miles to the gate at the top of Beachwood Drive outside Sunset Ranch. The trailhead is on the right up an ascent beyond this gate. However, because of the gate, the limited parking at the trailhead may be unreachable. Instead, hikers are forced to park on the street south of the gate. Parking on Beachwood Drive and the surrounding streets in by permit only from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, making it harder to visit the trail on those days. The parking restrictions start at the intersection of Beachwood Drive and Westshire Drive, over half a mile from the trailhead.
Trailhead address: 3400 N. Beachwood Drive, Griffith Park, Los Angeles, CA 90068
Trailhead coordinates: 34.12935, -118.31474 (34° 07′ 45.66″N 118° 18′ 53.06″W)
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|Griffith Observatory via West Observatory Trail|
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|Glendale Peak – Mount Hollywood Loop|
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|Cahuenga Peak from Wonder View Trail|
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|Lake Hollywood Reservoir Walking Trail|
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|Cedar Grove & Vista View Point Loop|
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