Can you hike to the Hollywood sign?
The Hollywood sign is one of the most recognizable places on Earth, it has appeared on uncountable movies, magazines and TV shows. We all saw at some point a scene of a cute couple sitting on the letters, staring down at the immense city of Los Angeles before sharing a kiss but… Is it really possible to go there as a civilian? Can you hike to the Hollywood sign?
Well, of course you can! But sorry if I got your hopes up before, as you can not touch the sign, and much less sit on it. Hollywood itself lied to us! In fact, this is the first question that appears on the Frequently Asked Questions of the HollywoodSign.org site, I bet you did not know it even existed.
Visiting the sign itself is free, but parking there is not, the parking is set at 4USD per hour. But more than just the parking, you should really be careful about the sun. LA is one of the cities that receive the most and harshest sunlight on the United States, and it’s highly recommended to pack plenty of water before attempting the near three-hour hike to the sign. But I will get to that in a moment. Before that let’s see:
How do I get to the sign?
As I said before, you can go there by car. Easy enough.
In addition, you can take the DASH Observatory bus that goes to the nearby Griffith Observatory any day of the week, for a price of 50USD roundtrip, or 35 USD if you have a pass.
You can also take your bike there and leave it on the security lockers they have, for free.
If you want something even more memorable you can take a ride on a horseback to the sign for between 50 and 95 dollars. But I think the story is quite worth it. In fact! In that same link you can have a virtual tour of the Ranch where you can pick up your horse before riding to the sign.
But hiking seems to be the preferred choice by the visitors, and the management of the park divided the allowed paths into three categories:
- Easy path: Called the Mt. Hollywood Trail, it has two starting points, one of 6.5 miles (10.5km) and the other, shorter, at 3 miles (5km). They are the most crowded, as plenty of elderly people and children take it as well as families just looking to spend an afternoon there.
The long one surrounds the so-called “Lungs of L.A.”, while the short one starts from the Griffith Observatory and shortly after gets to the end of the loop that the big one has through the little forest, they combine and go together to the top afterward.
- Moderate path: Called the Brush Canyon Trail, being also 6.5 miles and featuring a little detour to the famous Batman cave of the early 60s show, has a spectacular view and you can even expect to see you some deer, bobcats, coyotes, and rattlesnakes.But if you are looking for a physical challenge, I recommend you to take the
- Hard path: Called the Cahuenga Peak Hike, this path is very less defined than the others, that much so that there are if not an official “length” of it, and runs through the 138 acres of land recently donated to the park. While hiking through it, there’s the possibility to see the mountain lion of the park, P-22, that made of the land its home. There are no reported cases of the lion being angry at any visitor yet, but we will not encourage you to get too close if you see him, just in case.
Things to keep in mind when visiting the sign:
If you are a visitor, then there’s absolutely no problem with taking selfies or filming a little Instagram story, but, if you intend to go there for a marketing campaign or to do a news report or something like that you should contact the Hollywoodsign.org site beforehand.
If you intend to do an epic drone-sight of LA, you also can not fly your drone nearby the sign nor the Griffith Park itself.
As California was struck by countless forest fires in the last years, its completely banned to smoke nearby the Sign. Not because of the sign itself, but as a general caution for the landscape nearby.
Take plenty of water with you.
And it’s really not recommended to go there in crocs or sandals. Take a good pair of shoes with you.
Why is the sign so important?:
Why visit something that you know nothing of? This is a brief summary of important things that had happened to or near the Hollywoodland sign since it was created back in 1923 as a way to advertise the land to real state investors:
- In 1932, a struggling actress climbed and jumped to her death from the top of the H letter.
- Close to the year 1940, the sign started to show signs of deterioration and the nearby inhabitants wanted it removed. The owners of the land decide to sell the remaining of the land, sign included, to the LA’s government.
- In 1949 the “land” part of the name is removed and the sign renewed at the expense of the City.
- In 1973, for its 50 anniversary, Gloria Swanson sponsored the renovation of the sign once again. At the same time, it was now declared a Historical Landmark.
- Just five years after its renovation, the “O” fell and an arsonist burned one of the “L”s.
- In 1978 the founder of Playboy starts a founding campaign with more celebrities to help rebuild the sign. In August, it was completely demolished and by November a new one was shown to an audience of more than 60 million people worldwide.
- In 1992 a Trust is signed, promoting Hollywood into the center of Entertainment we know today. And, to take care of the sign.
- In the countdown towards the year 2000, the sign was lit for the first time since the 1940s. Yes, if you see the sign shining is not because of an extravagant lightning system, but thanks to our good old friend the Sun.
- In April of 2012, Hugh Hefner and other contributors raised enough money to purchase the 138 acres behind the Sign, in an effort to continue protecting the now iconic site of the city.
Have you visited the sign? How was it? Let us know below!