Hollywood Sign Hike
Millions of people travel to Southern California each year. They come to see Disneyland, the beaches, and to walk among the stars of Hollywood along the walk of fame. Also, they come to take a selfie with the Hollywood sign. For the adventurous visitors, hiking to the sign is on their itinerary. Many of the locals also hike these trails so I suggest getting to the trailheads early. There are multiple routes to the sign and the most famous one is from Griffith Observatory. This trail is 8.8 miles, up and back, and can feel a lot further with the harsh sun beating down on you.
The route I chose is the Brush Canyon Trail. This route is just over 5 miles to the front of the sign. There is also a dirt parking lot at the trailhead which is a large bonus since many of the other trails don’t have designated parking and you’re forced to park on residential streets. With the popularity of the hike, I do recommend getting there early to assure a parking spot. The parking lot is at the end of Canyon Drive in Hollywood. Starting the hike early also helps to avoid the desert heat of Southern California. I decided to do the hike the day after Independence Day.
I got there early and I started my hike at 6:30 a.m. The temperature was still cool as I made my way up Brush Canyon Trail. The first mile is all uphill before it flattens out and between the hills you could see a view of the city, on a normal day. Today, we had a thick offshore layer that clinged to the coast and the heavy use of illegal fireworks the night before hampered my visibility as well. I pressed on as the temperature started to rise. I made quick time through the flat portion of the trail and I could see a side portion of the sign so I knew it was close.
I came to a portion of the trail where it ran along some homes. There was a sharp bend to it and as I made the turn, I started to see the sign. I went a little further and found an opening with a better view of the sign. This would be my spot. This is another positive point on doing an early hike, there weren’t that many people here yet. I took my time and got the photos I wanted.
My itinerary wasn’t finished. I, also, planned on hiking to the top of the Hollywood sign. This would add some miles to the hike and it would now equal to 7.5 miles. I hiked back the way I came as I passed the trail to the top earlier on my way to the front of the sign. The trails are well marked so when I reached the fork in the trail, I started my ascent to the top. This would be the hardest portion of the hike. Then, there it was, the back of the sign.
The trail and the sign are separated by a fence so you can’t truly be behind it. I followed the trail, in this portion is a paved road, and it eventually took me to the top. I could see the sign beneath and the city in the distance, what I could see of it. The marine layer was still hanging around. From here, you could also see the Griffith Observatory in the distance.
The haze had made the skyscrapers seem like they were floating in the clouds. I took in the view and rested a bit before I made my descent. The pinnacle had a little more people on it than the trail so I dawned my face covering. It’s the sign of the times as Covid-19 had not released California from its grip just yet. On my way down the trail and back to the trailhead, the number of hikers had increased dramatically so I kept my mask on most of the way. At 9:30 a.m. I was back to the parking lot so the hike took about 3 hours and the lot was almost completely filled. I think the unoccupied spots were just recently vacated by returning hikers that arrived before I did.
I would like to do this hike again and hopefully the haze will not stick around for so long. I’d like to get a better panoramic view of the city. The drive from my home in Orange County only took 45 minutes so it wasn’t that bad. I had avoided the usual traffic by leaving early.