So while driving around LA to check out different replacement vehicles (I’ve been looking into both RV’s and Subaru Outbacks), I’ve had the opportunity to see lots of different areas of town. Los Angeles is all over the place! One of the cars I went to go see was in Hollywood and since I had some extra time in the area, I drove through some of the Hollywood fanfare and made my way towards Griffith Park, home of the famous hollywood sign.
I figured that since the sign was a both popular tourist attraction and in a park, there would be pretty easy access to drive there. Well it turns out that’s not the case, oddly enough…
Getting there involves going up the curvy residential roads lined with multi-milliondollar properties. You’ll definitely want a GPS to get to the “parking area.”
Looking at the map below, you’ll see two points marked. The upper one is the actual sign and the lower one is the parking area you drive up to. You gotta go through that whole twisted maze of roads taking lots of sharp, blind turns. There is another road that comes in from the side, but that’s an access road that’s blocked off and reserved only for ppl who work there.
View Hollywood Sign in a larger map
The first time I tried to get up there, simply punching in the approximate region into my GPS and hoping it’d be close enough, I was able to get all the way to a dead end that wouldn’t take me any further. A couple other cars also came up this route and turned around. We looked at each other and laughed. Yeah.. this isn’t gonna work.
Close, but no cigar. Let’s punch “Hollywood sign” into the GPS and see what happens. Ah, another route taking us right to it. Let’s follow this new route.
It leads us here.
It was really confusing to arrive here. You see, it’s just another dead end’ish area at the end of a residential road. There’s not really even any parking here, as you can see by me parking my car up on the side of the hill.
Standing where this picture was taken, to the left is where we drove in from, to the right and slightly behind me is a blocked off road, and in front beyond the cars is just a short undriveable path maybe 30 feet long or so. There’s not really any parking here so all you can do is get out, snap a few shots, and that’s about it. However, the is a hiking trail that leads right up to the sign. Success!
When I was there, a really friendly guy who lives in this area also came by to bring his friends here. He offered to shoot a picture of me and then suggested that I stick my hand up as if I was holding the sign. Apparently that’s one of the funny images to shoot here, similar to the classic picture of holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Since the guy was from around the area and there was no parking allowed in this area, I asked where a good place to park would be if I wanted to hike up to the sign. There was a trail leading right up to it. He said you could simply park along the street in front of the houses like the other cars were doing. Alrighty then.
Parking the car, prepping my daypack, and changing into more warm weather hiking appropriate clothing, I set off to go hike up to the sign!
Hiking to the Sign
So the guy had suggested I take the route that goes left. It was the easiest route and would take about 20 min. If you look at the pic above with my car parked in front of the sign, you’ll see two main routes. The first is right up the center of the image through the bushes, the path I was gonna take at first, and the second path starts up the dirt hill on the left and runs up the left side of the mountain. It was definitely a good suggestion to take the left path because it was already a pretty tough route! The climb was very steep, even requiring me to go 4×4′ing by using my hands to help me climb up, and so on. Fortunately it was a blazed trail up a dirt path, but it was still pretty challenging.
Let’s get a self-portrait too. Why not?
Thank goodness I managed to get both my face and the sign in the picture without one covering with the other or chopping off either one! Not bad!
By the time you practically claw your way up to the sign, the trail finally brings you to the D at the end of Hollywood.
There’s a bunch of security cameras back behind the sign up on the hill, as well as a little trail that runs down along the front of the sign. So off we go, walking under the sign! As you approach the very first O in Hollywood (the second letter), there’s motion detectors warning you to not go any farther towards the H.
In this video, we’ll walk around underneath the sign for a few minutes, starting at that first O, and then follow the surprisingly dangerous trail back down.