When we were coming to Los Angeles, we were so excited to finally hike to the Hollywood Sign. But we were looking forward even more to the gorgeous views on the city of angels. And what is more impressive than seeing the view of Los Angeles at sunset? The place of hopes and dreams, flashing lights, Los Angeles is such a cool city and we enjoyed our time here.
ALL THE THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOUR HOLLYWOOD SIGN HIKE
When I was little, I watched many Hollywood movies, and I have always wanted to see the sign with my own eyes. In this post, we will show you how you can easily hike to the Hollywood Sign in 1 hour without getting lost (as we did). And on top of everything, you will take gorgeous photos with sunset and views on LA.
LENGHT: 2.2 miles (3.5km)
DURATION: 1 HOUR WALK
START: LAKE HOLLYWOOD PARK
DOG – FRIENDLY (with a leash)
A BRIEF HISTORY ABOUT HOLLYWOODLAND
Did you know that the sign was built in 1923 and actually said Hollywoodland? It cost $21.000. The idea of Hollywoodland had nothing to do with the film industry. It was built as advertising for new housing real estate development and to promote a new neighborhood in Hollywood Canyon.
But the sign was getting pretty much run down. In 1978 finally, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce with the help of private donors started the restoration and gave it the final look also taking down the letters for ‘LAND’.
AN ACTRESS WHO JUMPED FROM THE LETTER ‘H’
Sadly in 1932, an actress named Peg Entwistle jumped from the letter H; she was only 24 years old. Since then, the sign started to be connected to the film industry. Pegs’ story is so sad that when I read it for the first, it made me really cry. Her lives’ struggle with the death of both parents, not getting roles in movies, a failed marriage, overwhelming depressions led her to commit suicide. Many years later some people reported seeing a ghost around the Hollywood Sign. A woman dressed in the clothes from 1920-30s and even smelling the scent of gardenias. She is the only person who committed suicide at the Hollywood sign.
HOW CAN I GET TO THE HOLLYWOOD SIGN?
The only way for you to get to the Hollywood Sign is to hike it. We heard from other travelers that the hike to the Hollywood Sign can be hard, especially finding the right way. It is not possible to hike straight up as there are many Trespassing signs around. If you want to get to the sign closest possible, you can see the sign from behind with an incredible view of Los Angeles.
There are many possible routes from different places, but we will show you the easiest way how to get behind the Hollywood sign.
DO NOT IGNORE THE TRESPASSING SIGNS. Stay on the track if you do not want to end up in jail, so obey the signs.
WHERE TO PARK?
Make sure to drive to Lake Hollywood Park. It’s a very beautiful park and from there you can already see the Hollywood sign. It’s a great place to have a picnic as well and enjoy the view. The park is dog-friendly and has also a kids play area. However, the best thing about Lake Hollywood Park is that the parking is absolutely FOR FREE from sunrise to sunset hours. As you can imagine, this is a popular spot and officers are checking regularly. We even saw a parking officer giving a ticket to a car, which parked the wrong way. Thus, make sure to park properly, i.e. your car should face in the direction of the road. In our opinion, this is a better starting point for your hike than parking somewhere on Canyon Drive.
MAKE SURE TO PARK AT LAKE HOLLYWOOD PARK
WHERE DOES THE HOLLYWOOD SIGN HIKE START?
Once you park at Lake Hollywood Park you are almost ready to start your walk. Before you do, make sure to start Google Maps. You will have no network the further you get into the hills, so make sure to have it running as the GPS will still work.
It is quite an ascend, but pretty manageable for everyone. After a short period of time, you will end up on a dusty road. Soon you will reach the main area, where people take photos. It is only 8 to 10 minutes from the parking lot. However, for better and closer photo opportunities with the Hollywood Sign, you need to keep going further. Just follow the winding road, trust us, you can’t get lost here.
SAFETY TIP: There is not a real pathway, so be aware of oncoming traffic. The road is not busy, but there are few cars passing by, so be careful.
HOW LONG DOES THE HIKE TO HOLLYWOOD SIGN TAKE?
The duration of the hike really depends on you, but with normal walking speed, you can easily get from the parking lot to the Hollywood sign in 1 hour. We definitely recommend to come in the afternoon and spend some time taking photos during daylight as well. This way you won’t be rushing to catch the sunset either. We totally forgot to check the exact time for the sunset and we were racing like crazy. We made it up within 45 minutes but it wasn’t 100% fun. Don’t make the same mistake and plan enough time for your sunset hike.
THE EXACT ROUTE WE TOOK
Once you pass the viewing platform, where people are taking photos, just keep following the road.
You will be passing a few houses and after 10-15 minutes, you will get to the gate, which will say: ROAD CLOSED. That means you (and your Uber driver) are not allowed to drive behind this point. Good that you are here for a hike.
Hence, you can walk further. After about 10 minutes you will be quite close to the Hollywood Sign. You will be looking at the hill with several signs: NO TRESPASSING. So don’t even think about hiking up that hill. Besides that, it doesn’t even look like fun, as the hill is covered in bushes and you probably don’t want to be bitten by a rattlesnake (which is deadly if not treated). You will see a big gate, which will also say “no trespassing.” It looks confusing, but the signs are there to confuse you. Not surprisingly, the locals are not big fans of all the tourists.
You are allowed to continue through the barrier, but you are only allowed to follow the road and not climb anywhere you shouldn’t. In this area, we took really nice photos with the sign very close in the background.
Are you visiting Los Angeles? Have a look at our guide on FUN THINGS TO DO IN DOWNTOWN LA.
WALK BEHIND THE WHITE WALL
Here things are getting a bit complicated. After another couple of minutes of walking, we tried to climb some steep hill for a “shortcut” as we saw people up there. However, it was harder than expected and ended up killing more of our time. It was totally useless and we ended up at that private property you see below. You should rather keep walking until you get to this spot (1.):
At first, this to us looked like private property and we really didn’t know where to go. Other people around were confused as well and asked where to go. We felt like in an Indiana Jones movie. However, just stay on the street and keep going straight towards the gate. Then, you can pass by the gate on the left (2.) without climbing any gates, walls or dusty slopes.
TAKE THE SECOND LEFT TURN
From there, you will need to stick to the road, which is on the left (or the second option). If you take the first option (first left) you will end up here:
You will have a nice view and you can take some great shots of the Hollywood Sign, but it’s a DEAD END. When you will see a big water tank in front of you are wrong and you need to head back down and turn to the left. We advise you not to take any shortcuts here. It is tempting to continue up here to get to the Hollywood Sign from the front. Don’t risk it or you might encounter LAPD (Los Angeles Police Department).
We considered it, but we (luckily) decided to stick to the paved street. From there, it should take you around 30 – 45 minutes at a moderate speed to get to the sign. If you feel adventurous and wish to get some sand in your shoes, go up the steep dirt path on the right.
From here onwards it was super easy. There is just one winding road to follow. Keep Google Maps open just in case. The road is quite steep, so make sure to take your time. It’s so nice to just stop and look at the view. Look at this!
THE FINAL VIEW
You made it! Isn’t this view just gorgeous? Your sunset hike to the Hollywood sign is now completed. To see LA from here during sunset is simply amazing. There weren’t many people and the view was absolutely incredible.
IS CLIMBING TO THE HOLLYWOOD SIGN ILLEGAL?
There are many signs stating NO TRESPASSING. If you’re caught, you will be prosecuted by the police and possibly pay a large fine.
But only climbing to the FRONT of the Hollywood sign is illegal. When we were there during sunset, there were seemingly some people in front of the sign. We only heard: “LAPD, you are trespassing!” That is why the nearest you can possibly get is behind the sign (which is pretty awesome).
Locals do not like tourists coming to this area and created many fake signs to confuse tourists. However, as mentioned before, if you stick to the main road, you will be just fine.
CAN I DRIVE UP TO THE HOLLYWOOD SIGN?
Unfortunately not, there used to be a gate open at the Beachwood Drive, but it got closed in 2017.
IS THE HOLLYWOOD SIGN LIT UP AT NIGHT?
Not anymore. When the sign was open in 1923 it used to be lit. But nowadays the sign is not lit anymore.
OTHER SPOTS TO TAKE PHOTOS WITH THE HOLLYWOOD SIGN
- Hollywood Walk of Fame
- Griffith Park Observatory
- Canyon Lake Drive, AKA the Hollywood Reservoir
- Beachwood Canyon Drive
- Driving on Mulholland Drive
WHAT TO BRING WITH YOU
- REEF SAFE SUN CREAM (Use GIGI10 for 10% off)
- LOT’S OF WATER
- COMFORTABLE SHOES
WHERE TO STAY IN LOS ANGELES
As you can imagine, Los Angeles has unlimited options with regards to accommodation. Everything depends on your budget, but in general, it is a very expensive city. However, we really loved to stay in Venice Beach, which is a great location in LA and we highly recommended it. You can have look at all the options for hotels exactly at Venice beach. If you are looking at Airbnb, don’t forget to use a $40 discount on your first booking.
Have a look at all hotels in LA.
Have a great time hiking to the Hollywood Sign, I am sure you will enjoy it as much as we did. Don’t get lost! And if you do, so what it happens to do the best! Just ask around and you will be fine. And don’t forget to take amazing photos along the way.
Would you also want to see the Hollywood Sign during sunset? Are there any new rules or changes along the Hollywood Sign Hike? Please let us know if you have any questions.
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