This past February, I spent a week with my friend Trish in Los Angeles ; Trish is pretty fit (the ultimate proof is that she ran the Boston Marathon 3 months after giving birth), and among other touristy things we wanted to do together like museums, walking by the beach, or simply hanging out, Trish wanted to hike to the Hollywood sign. I liked the idea.
Los Angeles is surrounded by hills and mountains, which is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think about LA. It seemed pretty cool to go check out this big symbol.
Funny coïncidence, I’ve recently came accross the video of 2 youtubeurs, Damon and Jo, who live in Los Angeles and just did this hike. I went back to their video, they linked a post with all the infos to do the same thing. We followed the instructions ; I didn’t take my camera with me that day, and used my Google Pixel phone to take pictures.
Let’s go for a hike to the Hollywood sign!
- Starting point: Wonderview Trailhead, we get there by parking on Wonderview Drive, for free. At 11am, there was still a lot of spots.
- Weather: sunny and warm, blue sky and not an inch of shadow. It was mid-February, and I bet it’s too hot to do it during summertime
- How long: it took us less than 2 hours 1/2 ; we spent 20 minutes up there
- Level: it’s not easy, I would not recommend flip flops to walk there; but it’s not that hard either, once you’ve pass the first tough portion.
- What do you see? Downtown Los Angeles, the Griffith Center, the “Wisdom Tree” and of course, the Hollywood sign, at least from behind
Let’s do this! The first portion going up is the toughest
We park on Lakeview Drive, from there we can’t see the sign nor where the trail starts. We are in the middle of a residential area, pretty chic. We walk along a cute little street, Wonderview Drive, where cacti and colorful plants have invaded the sidewalks – I’m amazed by the Californian wild plants! There are 50 signs that prevent cars or Ubers to drive by: it’s a private street. I guess it must be annoying all these tourists for the people who live here. Rich people problem, but still, there are problems.
After 5 minutes, we arrive to the trailhead. Jax, Trish’s baby is already fighting with the hat on his head. We start climbing up the hill. All the people that we pass (we are in a competitive mode) are amazed with Trish carying the baby on her back. Hello guys, I’m carrying the 2 bottles of water and the sunscreen. Thank you.
There’s no break up this hill, hello quad muscles. It slides a bit, we walk from rock to rock. It will be the most tiring part of the hike, except for Jax.
Once up there, there’s a first stop called the Wisdom Tree, my kind of place. It’s a lonely tree, facing the view ; it smells like weed, and there’s an American flag half torn. These 2 infos have no link. People have piled up cairns, and words of wisdom everywhere.
We keep walking along the ridge, following on the distance the radio tower.
We start to peak at the back of the sign, and it fills me with joy: I didn’t know they would make this effect on me. It’s crazy to get that close to this iconic sign, the symbol of the American movie industry, the city of Los Angeles, the United States.
On one side of the trail, the view over the city is endless. Los Angeles is huge, and we could appreciate its size each time we took our car this week: everything is one hour away from everything else.
The park where we walk is called the Hugh Hefner park, from the ex-boss of Playboy Magazine – he gave close to $1 million to preserve the area.
The sign is behind a fence, we can’t get closer. We walk up to a small mount, but without my wide-angle lense I can’t take the picture of all of the letters. There are a few people up there, and a few French people (I have a French radar), Jax is freed from the backpack and start picking up as many rocks as he can.
We stay there for 20 minutes, watching the view, having a snack, and following each step of Jax.
Along the road, the view of the front side
We don’t stop and snap a pic from the car
- You cannot get close to the Hollywood sign, you cannot drive up there either. The sign is behind a fence, and the police makes sure no one trespasses.
- They are many hiking trails up on the hills. Another option is to start from the Griffith Observatory, the trail will be longer though.
- If you don’t want to walk, there’s a nice point of view from Lake Hollywood Drive.
Matcha bar (it’s actually a cappuccino, I’m not a matcha fan)
And then we drive back
We get to the car and I look for a place to eat in Silver Lake. There’s a Mexican and French place that I find on Yelp, and this combo seems pretty interesting. The place, even if it’s located on a mall, is pretty hip (too hip for us in hiking gear). It’s delish tho!