in Griffith Park
Mount Hollywood is a prominent peak in Griffith Park, located above and behind Griffith Observatory. While it isn’t the park’s tallest peak at 1,625 feet, the summit offers excellent 360-degree views. The trails on Mount Hollywood have postcard perspectives of the Hollywood Sign and Griffith Observatory, plus views of downtown Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Mountains.
Set out from the parking lot at Griffith Observatory for a short hike to Mount Hollywood or begin down in Western Canyon for something a little longer. Intersecting trails going up the mountain offer routes of different lengths and gradients. Starting from Western Canyon, the hike to Mount Hollywood is 3 to 4.8 miles round trip with 925 feet of elevation change (including a 4.2-mile looping route recommended here). Beginning from the trailhead by Griffith Observatory, the hike to Mount Hollywood is 1.4 to 3.2 miles round trip with 500 feet of elevation change (including a 2.65-mile looping route recommended here).
Where should you start? The nearest trailhead to Mount Hollywood is Charlie Turner Trailhead at the back of the parking area by Griffith Observatory. This lot gets very congested and often has no spaces available. Roadside parking leading up to the observatory fills up too. It now costs $4 per hour to park in the Observatory Parking Lot and along West Observatory Road and Western Canyon Road near Griffith Observatory. For a more economical option, take the DASH Observatory Bus operated by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) from the Vermont/Sunset Metro Red Line station to the Griffith Observatory, which from noon to 10 p.m. on Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday (visit the Griffith Observatory’s Getting There page for more information).
The parking headache by Griffith Observatory can be avoided by starting from an easy-to-access lot on Western Canyon Road below the observatory. Even if parking is available by Griffith Observatory, you may prefer getting more out of this hike by beginning in Western Canyon.
Starting from Griffith Observatory
Charlie Turner Trailhead is on the opposite side of the parking area for Griffith Observatory. A tree dedicated to George Harrison is located at the trailhead, along with a sign for Mount Hollywood Hiking Trail. This trailhead can also be used to hike from Griffith Observatory to the Hollywood on a lengthy route that crosses Mount Hollywood on the way to Mount Lee. Head up Mount Hollywood Hiking Trail along a ridge through a pine forest. After turning downhill, the wide dirt trail comes to a junction, 0.2 miles from the start where it meets West Trail, which ascends from Western Canyon.
Starting from Western Canyon
Park in a convenient spot inside a horseshoe bend on Western Canyon Road, 0.7 miles from Los Feliz Boulevard (you could also start lower in the canyon to hike up Ferndell Trail too). Set out for Mount Hollywood from the outside (north side) of the bend in the road where Western Canyon Trail begins. Pass through a picnic area and venture up the floor of Western Canyon. Look for Griffith Observatory atop the ridge to your right and find the top of Mount Hollywood to the northeast. The trail curves to the right and comes to a junction, 0.3 miles from the start. Turn left onto West Trail to ascend out of the canyon toward Mount Hollywood.
West Trail goes up the east side of a ridge pushing into the canyon. The top of Western Canyon Road can be seen farther up the mountainside and you’ll probably see cars parked on West Observatory Road, which connects Western Canyon Road to Griffith Observatory.
West Trail goes around the back of the canyon and offers views south over the city (a perspective that expands farther up the mountain).
Come to another junction 3/4 of a mile from the start. Venture to the right to walk a short distance to a picnic area overlooking Western Canyon. Backtrack and continue to the left up West Trail, which ascends a short distance farther and meets West Observatory Road. Cross this paved road and continue up West Trail. A short distance farther, you will meet Mount Hollywood Hiking Trail. Turn left to join hikers coming from Griffith Observatory and proceed up Mount Hollywood.
Mount Hollywood Hiking Trail
Reach the junction of West Trail and Mount Hollywood Hiking Trail by hiking one mile with 465 feet of elevation change from Western Canyon or 0.2 miles with 65 feet of elevation change from Griffith Observatory.
Cross a saddle to meet the south face of Mount Hollywood. Below the saddle, Mount Hollywood Tunnel cuts through the earth, connecting Vermont Canyon Road with Western Canyon Road. Across the saddle, Mount Hollywood Hiking Trail (Charlie Turner Trail) curves to the left and begins a gradual, scenic ascent. A trail parting to the right, which begins with a few rocky steps, can be employed for a more arduous hike to the summit. This steep single track ascends 465 feet in 0.47 miles, heading almost straight up the side of Mount Hollywood. This route intersects Mount Hollywood Hiking Trail after 0.32 miles at a multi-point junction and can be used as a challenging way up or down the mountain. The lower section of this steeper route (which is less steep than the top) offers a nice descending route.
For something scenic and leisurely, stick with Mount Hollywood Hiking Trail. The wide dirt trail angles northwest and heads gradually up the mountainside. The trail offers a fantastic perspective of Griffith Observatory backed by the city of Los Angeles.
Go around a horseshoe bend to the right and appreciate another landmark, the Hollywood Sign, mounted on the top of Mount Lee just to the west. Mount Hollywood Hiking Trail leads east now, pointing toward the summit again.
At 0.8 miles above the saddle, come to a junction that has five other spokes. On your right is the steeper route up from the junction below, hugging the west side of a ridge. Just past that, a path goes out to a landing on the ridge above a steeper descent. Straight ahead, the wide dirt trail switches to the southeast side of Mount Hollywood and swings past Dante’s View on the way to the summit. On the left, a rough, steep path cuts up the mountain to the summit. Another option on the left, representing a sharp left turn, is a wide dirt trail that wraps up the west side of the mountain, passing a vista point with palm trees and benches. Taking this far left trail gets you to the summit in 0.5 miles. The steep trail reaches the summit in 0.15 miles. Continuing through the junction toward Dante’s View gets you to the summit in 0.6 miles. Each route ascends another 195 feet.
To plot a nice figure-8 loop on Mount Hollywood, continue through this junction toward Dante’s View. Hike to the summit and then come down the trail on the west side of the mountain – getting those nice views of the Hollywood Sign head-on. Return to this junction, cross the wide trail, and take the steeper single track down to the saddle where the trails initially split. Following this route creates a 2.65-mile hike from Griffith Observatory and a 4.2-mile hike from Western Canyon. Directions for combining the trails in this order proceed below.
Cross through the multi-point junction on the wide trail, gradually ascending the southeast side of Mount Hollywood. Look down Vermont Canyon below toward the Greek Theater and farther south toward downtown Los Angeles. The trail approaches a garden of trees on the east side of Mount Hollywood. This area is called Dante’s View and has benches and picnic tables surrounded by a variety of plants. Dante’s View looks toward the skyline of downtown with additional views to the northeast over Glendale and the San Gabriel Mountains. Water is available for dogs to get a drink and Dante’s View is a nice spot to linger. On the far side of the gardens, reach a junction with East Ridge Trail and turn left to continue the ascent.
You will quickly hit another junction. Straight ahead, 3 Mile Trail descends to Mount Hollywood Drive. To the right, another wide trail ventures north toward Mount Bell. Turn left to push on for the top of Mount Hollywood. As you pass a picnic area on the left above Dante’s View, the trail curves to the right and splits. The summit is near and both routes will get you there. It’s a little simpler to stay to the left though.
Reach the summit of Mount Hollywood, 1.6 miles from Griffith Observatory and 2.4 miles from Western Canyon. Pass hitching posts for horses and walk into a viewing area on the summit where you can take in the sights. Look down the ridge to the south over Griffith Observatory toward the city of Los Angeles. On a clear day, you’ll see the coast to the west, along with rows of ridges in the Santa Monica Mountains. The big letters on Mount Lee are easy to read to the west. The Verdugo Mountains are to the north, backed by the San Gabriel Mountains, which rise even higher. Look for towers and observatory domes on Mount Wilson to the northeast. The San Gabriel Valley extends to the east beyond the San Rafael Hills. Mount Hollywood has a fine 360-degree panorama over the Southland and it’s easy to see why the summit is a popular hiking destination in Griffith Park.
When you are ready to leave the summit, walk north and bear left at a split where the trails come together near the summit. You will quickly reach another junction. Make a sharp left turn to begin descending around the west side of the mountain. As this trail starts, you’ll be facing west over Mount Hollywood Drive toward the Hollywood Sign. Stay to the left past a spur out to a holding tank and continue around the mountain. As the trail curves to the southwest side of the summit, you’ll pass a picturesque little vista point with benches spread out near a cluster of palm trees.
Proceed down the trail to return to the multi-point junction. You could turn right to take the gradual trail back down. Otherwise, cross the wide trail and take the narrower track hugging the west side of the ridge to the south. Descend toward Griffith Observatory, passing through chaparral. You will come to another junction. Turn right to continue down to Mount Hollywood Hiking Trail, avoiding a trail to the left that descends toward Vermont Canyon Road. The single track drops to Mount Hollywood Hiking Trail on the north side of the saddle.
Cross the saddle and use the next junction to return to the trailhead where you started. Turn right down West Trail to descend to Western Canyon. Stay to the left to hike a short distance back to the parking area by Griffith Observatory. If you are heading back to Western Canyon and want to get a closer look at Griffith Observatory, you can also create another loop. Hike to Charlie Turner Trailhead, cross the parking lot to Griffith Observatory, take Observatory Trail down the ridge south of the observatory, and bear right on West Observatory trail to descend to Western Canyon Road a bit south of your starting point. This will increase the hike’s distance from 4.2 miles to about 5.2 miles.
The basic directions for the figure-8 loop starting from Western Canyon are:
- Begin up Western Canyon Trail from the first bend on Western Canyon Road (0 miles)
- Turn left up West Trail (0.3 miles)
- Check out a spur to the right to a picnic area and then continue up West Trail (0.75 miles)
- Cross West Observatory Road (0.85 miles)
- Turn left on Mount Hollywood Hiking Trail (1 mile)
- Cross the saddle and stay left on Mount Hollywood Hiking Trail (1.03 miles)
- Reach the multi-point junction and continue straight (1.8 miles)
- Pass Dante’s View and turn left up East Ridge Trail (2.1 miles)
- Turn left at a 4-way junction (2.2 miles)
- Bear left at a split (2.25 miles)
- Reach the summit of Mount Hollywood (2.4 miles)
- Stay to the left leaving the summit (2.45 miles)
- Turn left down Mount Hollywood Hiking Trail on the west side of the peak (2.55 miles)
- Stay left past a spur to a holding tank (2.65 miles)
- Cross the multi-point junction and descend the narrower trail on the west side of the ridge (2.9 miles)
- Turn right at a split (3.07 miles)
- Rejoin Mount Hollywood Hiking Trail and cross the saddle (3.22 miles)
- Turn right down West Trail (3.25 miles)
- Cross West Observatory Road and make the next right (3.4 miles)
- Turn right on Western Canyon Trail (3.9 miles)
- Return to Western Canyon Road (4.2 miles)
The basic directions for the figure-8 loop starting from Griffith Observatory are:
- Begin up Mount Hollywood Hiking Trail from Charlie Turner Trailhead (0 miles)
- Go straight through a junction with West Trail (0.2 miles)
- Cross the saddle and stay left on Mount Hollywood Hiking Trail (0.23 miles)
- Reach the multi-point junction and continue straight (1 mile)
- Pass Dante’s View and turn left up East Ridge Trail (1.3 miles)
- Turn left at a 4-way junction (1.4 miles)
- Bear left at a split (1.45 miles)
- Reach the summit of Mount Hollywood (1.6 miles)
- Stay to the left leaving the summit (1.65 miles)
- Turn left down Mount Hollywood Hiking Trail on the west side of the peak (1.75 miles)
- Stay left past a spur to a holding tank (1.85 miles)
- Cross the multi-point junction and descend the narrower trail on the west side of the ridge (2.1 miles)
- Turn right at a split (2.27 miles)
- Rejoin Mount Hollywood Hiking Trail and cross the saddle (2.42 miles)
- Stay to the left past West Trail (2.45 miles)
- Return to Charlie Turner Trailhead (2.65 miles)
There are many rewarding ways to hike to Mount Hollywood. For something more elaborate, consider a three-peak route to Mount Chapel, Mount Bell and Mount Hollywood. Mount Hollywood can also be visited with Glendale Peak on Glendale Peak – Mount Hollywood Loop. Dogs are welcome, but bikes are not permitted. Parking is costly near Griffith Observatory, but not from the lower trailhead. No fee is required to visit Griffith Park or hike to Mount Hollywood, so get out and enjoy!
To get to the Griffith Observatory Trailhead: From Interstate 5, take exit 141 for Los Feliz Boulevard. Go west on Los Feliz Boulevard for 2.4 miles. Turn right up Fern Dell Drive and drive 0.4 miles into Griffith Park where Fern Dell Drive becomes Western Canyon Road. Drive another 1.6 miles to the top of Western Canyon Road. Turn right and drive 0.3 miles up West Observatory Trail to reach the parking area where Mount Hollywood Hiking Trail begins.
From the 101 Freeway, take exit 8 for Hollywood Boulevard. Drive east for five blocks on Hollywood Boulevard and turn left up Western Avenue. After crossing Franklin Avenue, Western Avenue goes up a steep hill, turns to the right, and becomes Los Feliz Boulevard. Make the first left up Fern Dell Drive, drive 0.4 miles into Griffith Park where Fern Dell Drive becomes Western Canyon Road. Drive another 1.6 miles to the top of Western Canyon Road. Turn right and drive 0.3 miles up West Observatory Trail to reach the parking area where Mount Hollywood Hiking Trail begins.
Trailhead address: 2800 East Observatory Road, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Trailhead coordinates: 34.12093, -118.30042 (34° 07′ 15.34″N 118° 18′ 01.51″W)
To get to the Western Canyon Trailhead: From Interstate 5, take exit 141 for Los Feliz Boulevard. Go west on Los Feliz Boulevard for 2.4 miles. Turn right up Fern Dell Drive and drive 0.4 miles into Griffith Park where Fern Dell Drive becomes Western Canyon Road. Go another 0.2 miles (to the second stop sign) and turn left into a parking area just before a horseshoe bend in the road.
From the 101 Freeway, take exit 8 for Hollywood Boulevard. Drive east for five blocks on Hollywood Boulevard and turn left up Western Avenue. After crossing Franklin Avenue, Western Avenue goes up a steep hill, turns to the right, and becomes Los Feliz Boulevard. Make the first left up Fern Dell Drive, drive 0.4 miles into Griffith Park where Fern Dell Drive becomes Western Canyon Road. Go another 0.2 miles (to the second stop sign) and turn left into a parking area just before a horseshoe bend in the road.
Trailhead address: Western Canyon Road, Los Angeles, CA 90068
Trailhead coordinates: 34.1176, -118.30712 (34° 07′ 03.36″N 118° 18′ 25.63″W)
View Griffith Park in a larger map
Or view a regional map of surrounding Los Angeles trails and campgrounds.
Western Canyon Trail & West Trail
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
A San Diego Reader article about Mount Hollywood by Jerry Schad
Mount Hollywood on socalhiker.net
Mount Hollywood on thetrailmaster.com
Mount Hollywood on Dan's Hiking pages
Mount Hollywood on thehikeguy.com
Griffith Observatory on wikipedia.org
The official website for Griffith Observatory
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I wouldn’t recommend to anyone to go this side of Hiking Trail. I got lost for 2 hrs with my 2 kids and 3 of my nephews. The trail has poor and confused signs. The Trail to go down where we park our car the road Splits and i got confused with the kids which way to go . i had very bad experience and i still Have nightmare about it.i didnt want to go back at all. I thank God a nice lady help us to get to the ground.very easily to get lost.
Its not like you were lost in the desert or mountains.
[…] After exploring in and around the Observatory, head to the back of the parking lot to tackle the hike up to the top of Mount Hollywood. The views looking down on the Observatory are spectacular, especially at […]