Starting from the end of Beachwood Drive, this trail through Griffith Park offered a unique combination of Los Angeles' urban backdrop and its wilder side.
Griffith Park: A Los Angeles Gem
Interesting fact: The park is named after Griffith J. Griffith, who donated the land to the city in 1896.
The park's diverse landscape includes rugged hills, verdant canyons, and a mix of native California flora.
Before or after your hike, consider visiting the Griffith Observatory for more stunning views. Read more about this observatory later.
The park is also home to the LA Zoo home to more than 1,400 animals representing over 270 different species, many of which are rare or endangered.
The Starting Point: Beachwood Drive
Tip: Griffith Park's trails can be complex, so carrying a map or using a GPS app is recommended. I recommend using an app like All-Trails with excellent turn by turn navigation and a lot of useful information.
This starting point is less crowded compared to other access points, allowing for a more tranquil ascent. It is also inside the park, so you don’t need to park on residential streets.
You can park at the small parking lot at the end of Beachwood or at a bigger dirt parking lot earlier along this street. The bigger lot has porta-potties.
As I embarked on the Brush Canyon trail, the bustling city life was quickly replaced by the tranquility of nature.
Ascending Brush Canyon Trail
The Brush Canyon trail, a part of Griffith Park's extensive trail system, offered a moderate challenge. As I hiked, I was surrounded by typical Californian chaparral and occasional wildlife sightings.
Interesting fact: Griffith Park has been used as a filming location for numerous Hollywood movies and TV shows.
The trail, about 6.4 miles round trip with an elevation gain of approximately 1,175 feet, was both exhilarating and serene.
Tip: Even in cooler months, this hike can be dehydrating. Carry at least 2 liters of water per person.
The trail is mostly a continuous climb, with the last mile the steepest.
The Fork: A Moment of Choice
Opting for this path, I found myself up close to the famous letters, a surreal experience contrasting with the distant views of downtown LA.
Interesting fact: The sign originally read "Hollywoodland" and was erected in 1923 as an advertisement for a local real estate development.
Reaching the Summit
Here, the panoramic 360-degree view encompassed the entire city, from downtown skyscrapers to the distant ocean, a testament to Griffith Park's unique location within Los Angeles.
In conclusion, my hike to the Hollywood Sign via Brush Canyon Drive in Griffith Park was a memorable experience.
This hike took around 3 hours round trip, including several stops along the way to admire the views.
The Samuel Oschin Planetarium inside offers captivating shows that are both educational and entertaining. Additionally, the Observatory provides some of the best views of the Hollywood Sign from a different perspective.
Trailhead address: 3200 Canyon Dr, Los Angeles, CA, 90068, USA.
Other trails leading to the Hollywood Sign
Wonder View Trail
Description: A steep and challenging route, this trail takes you to Cahuenga Peak and then to the back of the Hollywood Sign. It's a rugged path less traveled for those seeking a workout with their views.
Trailhead Address: 3051 Wonder View Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90068
Description: An easier alternative, providing excellent front-facing views of the Hollywood Sign. It's popular for its accessibility and less strenuous path.
Trailhead Address: 3400 N Beachwood Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90068
Burbank Peak Trail
Description: Starting at the Wisdom Tree, this hike is on the shorter side but offers a steep climb to the peak, where you can see the sign from above.
Trailhead Address: 3052 Lake Hollywood Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90068
Innsdale Drive Trail
Description: A less-known starting point, this trail offers a quiet hike to the sign with excellent views of Los Angeles.
Trailhead Address: 6451 Innsdale Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90068
Each trail offers a unique hiking experience to the Hollywood Sign, ranging from easy to challenging.