Last Updated on August 6, 2022
The Hollywood Sign, located in the Hollywood Hills of LA, USA…you see it in so many films and TV shows yet it’s always so far away. However, there are a couple of trails that you can hike that get you behind the Hollywood sign. In this post I’ll answer some of the questions you may have about this hike, such as: how long is the Hollywood Sign hike and how close can you get to the Hollywood Sign!
Hollywood Sign Hike
My goal – to touch it…to see how big it really is close-up. After lots of Google researching, you discover that getting in touching distance of the Hollywood Sign is totally off limits and the only way you’re ever going to be able to do that, is if you dress up as a shrub and SAS crawl on your belly under the fence that guards it. However I don’t recommend this AT ALL. It’s illegal. Don’t do it.
The hike up to the Hollywood Sign is still worth it. It gives you a completely different perspective of this iconic signs and you are treated to views high up above Los Angeles!
Hollywood Sign Hiking Trail
As mentioned above, there are several different trails within the Hollywood Hills. We chose a trail that starts at the end of Canyon Drive because it has a large parking area, it even had a porta-potty (which was handy) and a couple of playgrounds for children! Don’t let the rattle snake warning signs put you off, apparently they only come out at dawn…we decided to believe this piece of information and thought that as long as we kept to the trails then our chances of seeing one ‘later in the day’ would be slim!
This is the beginning of the Brush Canyon Trail. This trail then comes to a T with the Mulholland Trail, turn left at this junction. After lots of switchbacks, the Mulholland Trail T’s with Mt Lee Drive, turn right here and that’ll take you up behind the Hollywood Sign.
How Long Is The Hollywood Sign Hike?
Total time it took to complete the hike to the Hollywood Sign: 3 hours 30 minutes
The Hollywood Sign hike isn’t that challenging or steep, just pretty long, it took around 2 hours to get to the top. We passed a couple of other tourists, a few people on horses, but mainly locals walking dogs who got pleasure in telling us just how long was left to go, yet overtook us, reached the top and then passed us on their way back down before we had even progressed a little bit further.
Hollywood Sign Hiking Trail
You can’t actually see the sign very often while walking up to it. Just when you think you’re getting nearer, you turn a corner and the path switches back, going off in the opposite direction again! Nearing the top, the path splits into 2, one leads to the front, the other, up behind it (Mt Lee Drive). Other than this part, it’s obvious which direction you should be going.
Once at the top, you can finally get a feel for just how big the sign really is. It actually curves around the hill though, so it’s hard to get a photo of it all in one shot.
How Close Can You Get To The Hollywood Sign?
The fence, is as close as you can get to the Hollywood Sign (The featured image at the top of the post was taken through a gap between the links). Hiking TO the sign is forbidden and carries fines. It is protected by various security systems to stop vandals from reaching it.
The trail does continue on a little further from the fenced area, taking you to the very top of the hill.
The fence is as close as you can get to the Hollywood Sign
Taking the other path to the front, this is as far as you can get…
…and even then I don’t think you’re technically allowed to get this close. A family of tourists carried on along the path (part of Mt Lee Drive), heading closer to it and a loud speaker came out of no where and told them to turn around and go back…the sign really doesn’t lie, they watch you like hawks.
The trip down is of course a lot quicker, taking us around 1 hour 30 minutes to get back to the parking area on Canyon Drive.
A couple of the other Hollywood Sign hiking trails are apparently shorter, but they don’t come with huge car parks like the one at the end of Canyon Drive. Please bear in mind that the Hollywood Hills are also a residential area of Los Angeles, the residents aren’t going to want a whole bunch of tourist cars parked at the bottom of their driveways, so use the trails with proper parking areas. One had even taken the time to paint GO AWAY TOURISTS in big letters on the roof of their house…
View from behind the Hollywood Sign
My Tips for the hike up to the Hollywood Sign
- Start the hike up to the Hollywood Sign early in the morning! Although it can be foggy, by the time you get to the top, it clears so you can see the views over the city and you avoid doing the hardest part during the hottest part of the day!
- Take plenty of water! There is no where to buy water along the trail, not even in the Canyon Drive park area at the beginning of the trail. Back when I did the hike, there was a porta potty toilet in the parking area at the start, but other than this there’s no where else to go to the toilet along the route either.
The Hollywood Sign hike was one of my highlights from my time in Los Angeles! It was nice to get away from the craziness of the city for a morning! (Although it did nearly kill off my Dad and Sister but then they aren’t really walkers!)
More of my favourite hikes:
Indiana Dunes: Things To Do – The 3 Dune Challenge!
Hiking The ‘Devil’s Staircase’ Segment of the Ice Age Trail in Janesville, WI
Things You Should Know: Climbing The Kotor City Walls, Montenegro