Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Hiking to the Hollywood Sign

The back of the HOLLYWOOD sign as seen from the summit of Mt. Lee.
Wonder View Trail
I know hiking isn't the first activity that comes to mind when you think of Los Angeles, but as a hiking junky, I've discovered that almost every area in the country has hiking nearby.  Los Angeles, as it turns out, had AWESOME hiking!  And what better way to celebrate L.A., than a hike to the iconic Hollywood Sign?

There are multiple ascents to the famous landmark.  The sign sits on the side of Mt. Lee, one of multiple
peaks in the expansive Griffith Park.  The most well known and traveled is to take the paved Mt. Lee Drive (no cars).  Here, you can trudge up hill on a graded and wide paved road. This wasn't "natury" enough for this Granite Stater - so we chose to take the more challenging trail that is a narrow and steep hike through dusty red chaparral.  It was perfection.

Here is how to recreate this adventure...

Lone Pine Peak
Adventure:  Hiking to the HOLLYWOOD sign via the Wonder View Trail

Getting there:  The hike starts in the middle of a Hollywood hills neighborhood at the corner of Lake Hollywood Drive and Wonder View Drive.  We got there by taking Highway 101 to the Barham Blvd exit and traveling north on Bartham Blvd for 0.3 miles before turning right on Lake Hollywood Drive.  After about a half mile, you will reach Wonder View Drive.  There is plenty of parking along the road leading down to the reservoir.  There was no charge for parking.

Trail:  The hike starts by walking up the neighborhood road of Wonder View Drive.  This will turn into a
Leanne hikes the ridgeline to Mt. Lee
trail that branches off to the right.  From here, you have a steep (but moderately challenging) climb to the ridge.  When you read the fork at the ridge, you have a choice.  A quick scurry to the left and you'll be at Burbank Peak (also called Lone Pine for obvious reasons) gives you clear views of the San Gabriels and Los Angeles County.  If you go to the right, you'll first summit Cahuenga peak - the tallest peak in the Hollywood Hills. Continue on and you'll drop down, before joining the paved Mt. Lee Drive trail to the summit of Mt. Lee and views of the HOLLYWOOD sign, the Griffith observatory, and the city of Los Angeles.

Difficulty:  Moderate (some steep parts but no difficult scrambles)

Distance:  3 miles round trip.  925 foot elevation gain.

Yucca Plant and Los Angeles in the distance
Recommendations: 

- It's hot!  Get there early in the day and bring 2 L of water.  Although short, the hike is completely exposed and the steep climb will get you dripping sweat. Don't forget sunscreen, hiking shoes (no sandals), and a snack.

- Try for a clear day - Sometimes L.A. smog or a marine layer can get in the way of a fantastic view.  We were able to see the ocean, the city, the surrounding mountains and the Griffith Observatory.


Approaching the back of the Hollywood Sign
- Go before you go - there are no bathrooms at the trail head or on the trail...and nowhere to duck away!  Make sure you use the restroom before hitting the trail.

I can't wait to go back and explore some more hiking in Los Angeles!




Check out more about our 2014 Girls Trip at  Girls Trip 2013 - LA to Colorado

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