The Shortest Hike To The Hollywood Sign – Complete Guide

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Initially created in 1923 as an advertisement for real estate development, the Hollywood Sign has become an emblem of Hollywood and the entertainment industry.

One of the best ways to experience the sign is to hike to the top of the Hollywood Hills. There are several routes to the top, but if you’re like us and have your days in Los Angeles filled with attractions, you’ll want the quickest and easiest option.

The shortest hike to the Hollywood Sign is on the Hollyridge Trail which is 5.0 miles (round trip). However, this hike does not take you as close to the Hollywood Sign, nor does it take you around the back of the Hollywood Sign as some of the other trails on this list.

However, there are some alternative hikes that you might want to consider depending on the things you want to see or the difficulty you want to experience.

Shortest Hike To The Hollywood Sign: Hollyridge Trail

🚢Hike Distance: 5.0 miles (round trip)
πŸ₯Ύ Difficulty: Easy
🐢 Dog Friendly: Yes
πŸ—ΊοΈ Start Point: end of Canyon Drive at Bronson Canyon

The Hollyridge Trail is the easiest hike to the Hollywood Sign. However, it only provides you with a view of the front of the Hollywood Sign.

If you want to hike closer to the Hollywood Sign as possible or go around the back of the sign then you’ll need to add on going up the steep incline of Mount Lee Drive (more notes on this here).

This route roughly takes between 2-3 hours depending on your fitness level and how much time you spend photographing various locations throughout the hike.

πŸ“Pro Tip: Visitors are not permitted to go up to or touch The Hollywood Sign. The Hollywood Sign Trust has established barriers and warnings to protect the landmark and prevent vandalism.

The hike begins at end of Canyon Drive in Brush Canyon, more commonly known as Bronson Canyon (note that other trails to the Hollywood Sign also start here so you may find more cars and people in this area).

From here you’ll head north onto the Brush Canyon Trail. This beginning part of the trail is paved, however, you quickly move onto a dirt road and begin a moderate incline.

Like many hikes to the Hollywood Sign, the available shade on this route is minimal. As such, we’d highly recommend taking this hike early morning, (especially in the height of summer) and bringing plenty of water.

πŸ“Pro Tip: Rangers close gates for both cars and padestrians at Bronson Canyon at sunset. Cars inside the park at this time will be ticketed and unable to be removed until the following day. As such we do not reccomend doing this hike to watch the sunset.

At around the 1.2-mile mark, you’ll come to the junction for the Mulholland Trail at this point you want to keep left and follow the trail.

It’s then roughly a further 0.4 miles until you keep left at the junction and begin a slight decline onto the Hollyridge Trail. You’ll descend on this road for roughly 0.2 miles until you reach Hollyridge Trail Viewpoint which is situated just above Sunset Ranch.

This viewpoint is often neglected in favour of backside views of the Hollywood Sign, down into LA. As such if you time it right, you’ll likely be one of the only people here.

This is a dead end, so if you’re happy at this point you can head back out of the trail the way you came.

Alternatively, you can go back to the last junction and take a short detour onto Mt Lee Drive to the top of Mount Lee. Here you’ll get the backside view of the Hollywood Sign and views from the Hugh Hefner overlook.

Other Hollywood Sign Hike

If you’re wanting a different perspective of the Hollywood Sign or a different hike intensity, then there are many other trails available in this area.

Some of the other most popular, yet still relatively easy options include;

Hollywood Reservoir

🚢Hike Distance: 6.2 miles
πŸ₯Ύ Difficulty: Moderate
🐢 Dog Friendly: No
πŸ—ΊοΈ Start Point: End of Weidlake Drive

Hiking to the Hollywood Sign through Lake Hollywood Park makes for a less crowded and more scenic route than some of the other popular trails.

The trail starts at the end of Weidlake Drive, located in a residential neighbourhood in Hollywood Hills. However, despite this, there’s still a small free parking area.

The beginning of the trail takes you along a dirt path to the right of the main reservoir loop, from here you’ll follow the Mulholland Highway along a number of residential streets.

This portion of the hiking trail is perhaps most hated by pedestrians and drivers alike since there is no sidewalk.

While there are a handful of signs saying ‘no pedestrians’ it’s just important to be smart and stick to the side of the road to allow traffic to pass by.

Thankfully, this portion of the route is relatively short, and before long the road widens and you reach The Last House on Mulholland and the Tyrolean Tank Hollywood Sign Viewpoint which provides a view of the front of the sign.

From here you’ll continue along The Last House Trail, keeping left before joining Mount Lee Drive for your final steep elevation gain to the top of Mt Lee. Here you’ll benefit from beautiful panoramic views of the LA area, and the back of the famous Hollywood Sign.

Brush Canyon Trail

🚢Hike Distance: 6.0 miles
πŸ₯Ύ Difficulty: Moderate
🐢 Dog Friendly: Yes
πŸ—ΊοΈ Start Point: end of Canyon Drive at Bronson Canyon

The Brush Canyon Trail is another incredibly popular route for hiking to the Hollywood Sign. This trail begins at the end of Canyon Drive, two blocks east of Beachwood Drive off Franklin, or Griffith Observatory.

From here, you’ll pass a gate (locked to prevent cars but small enough for pedestrians) and mount a dirt-path continuation of Canyon Drive.

πŸ“Pro Tip: There is a small parking lot at the start of the trail and then a larger one further down Canyon Drive. While the smaller parking lot is usually full between the hours of 9am and 4pm, it's rare for the larger one to reach capacity.

This area of the trail begins by winding through a lush, shaded canyon, past babbling brooks and towering trees. However, make the most of it, as it doesn’t last long and is the last piece of shade you’ll see until you return.

Given this trail’s close proximity to Sunset Ranch you’ll likely see a number of people horseback riding and subsequently a lot of horse poop, so be sure to keep your eyes on the trail as well as the views.

At roughly the 1.7-mile mark you’ll reach a three-way intersection at this point you want to keep left and join the Mulholland Highway Trail.

As you begin heading west along the Mulholland Highway Trail you’ll notice an increasing number of switchbacks before reaching the junction with Mt Lee Drive.

Here you want to keep right which may seem confusing as it will actually take you further away from the Hollywood Sign on the final elevation before a steep switchback to the top of Mt. Lee and the back of the Hollywood Sign.

πŸ“Pro Tip: If you want to reach the summit of Mount Lee you'll find the pathway to do so to the left of the locked gate at the Mount Lee radio towers. 

Things To Pack for Your Hike to the Hollywood Sign

Hiking to the Hollywood Sign is an exciting adventure that requires preparation to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Before you set out on your hike, it’s essential to pack some necessary items that will make your journey comfortable and hassle-free.Β 

Here are some things you should consider packing for your trek to the Hollywood Sign:

  • Comfortable hiking shoes: You’ll be walking on rocky and steep terrain, so it’s crucial to have a pair of comfortable and sturdy hiking shoes that provide good traction.

  • Sunscreen: The sun can be intense in Southern California, so it’s crucial to protect your skin with high-quality sunscreen.

  • Water: Staying hydrated is essential, especially on a hot day. Pack enough water for your hike, or bring a reusable water bottle that you can refill at one of the water fountains in Griffith Park.

  • Snacks: Pack snacks to keep your energy levels up during the hike. Some good options include granola bars, trail mix, or fresh fruit.

  • Hat: A hat can provide additional protection from the sun and help keep you cool.

  • Sunglasses: Protect your eyes from the sun’s rays and the glare of the Hollywood Sign.

  • Layers of clothing: Even on a warm day, it can get chilly in the morning and evening, so it’s best to pack layers of clothing that you can add or remove as needed.

  • First aid kit: It’s always a good idea to bring a small bag with essentials like bandages, antiseptic wipes, and pain relief medication.

  • Map or GPS device: Although the trails are well-marked, bringing a map or GPS device is still a good idea to ensure you stay aware of the location.

  • Phone and portable charger: Bring your phone in case of an emergency and to take pictures of the stunning views. A portable charger can ensure you don’t run out of charge during your hike.

Hiking To The Hollywood Sign With Kids

You can take your kids on a Hollywood Sign hike, but you should consider their age and physical ability before choosing a specific trail. Some trails can be steep, so you should prepare your children for the hike.

Several trails are suitable for children, such as the Griffith Observatory hike, a short, easy hike that offers excellent views of the Hollywood Sign. 

Another good option is the Canyon Drive Trail, a paved trail suitable for strollers that offers lovely views of the Hollywood Reservoir and the Hollywood Sign.

If you plan to take your children on a longer hike, ensure they have proper footwear, plenty of water, snacks, and sunscreen. You can also make the hike more enjoyable by packing a picnic lunch and taking breaks to enjoy the scenery.

It’s also important to note that there are some safety considerations when hiking with children. Keep an eye on them at all times, especially near the edges of the trail, and make sure they stay on the course. Be prepared for emergencies with a first-aid kit and a charged cell phone.

Overall, with the proper preparation, hiking to the Hollywood Sign can be a great adventure for the whole family.

Places To View the Hollywood Sign Without Hiking

If you’re not up for a hike but still want to see the iconic Hollywood Sign, five places around Los Angeles offer great views.

Here are some of the best areas to view the Hollywood Sign without hiking:

  • Griffith Observatory: One of the most popular places to view the Hollywood Sign from is the Griffith Observatory. This iconic landmark offers stunning panoramic views of the city, and you can easily see the Hollywood Sign from its expansive outdoor space.

  • Hollywood & Highland: This shopping and entertainment complex is located in the heart of Hollywood and offers excellent views of the Hollywood Sign from its outdoor observation deck.

  • Beachwood Canyon: This residential area is located at the base of the Hollywood Hills and offers several spots where you can see the Hollywood Sign. One of the best places to view the sign from here is at the end of Beachwood Drive.

  • Runyon Canyon Park: This popular hiking spot also has a paved walking path that offers excellent views of the Hollywood Sign from a distance.

  • Universal City Overlook: This overlook is located on the Cahuenga Pass and offers stunning views of the San Fernando Valley and the Hollywood Sign.

These are just a few of the best areas to view the Hollywood Sign without hiking. Remember that the views may vary depending on the time of day and weather conditions, so be sure to plan accordingly.

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