For someone who lived in San Diego for over 2 years, I rarely made it up to Los Angeles as often as I wanted. During my last month in California I decided to spend a few days in this amazing city and one of my “must do’s” was to hike behind the Hollywood Sign. For those of you who want to capture a view like below, keep on reading. The Hollywood Sign is located on one of the slopes of Mount Lee within Griffith Park. Although lengthy, I found the moderate 6.5-mile roundtrip hike through Brush Canyon Trail to be a great route.
NOTE: To prevent anyone from being disappointed, it is not actually possible to hike to the sign itself due to a chain link fence. There are also surveillance cameras and a hefty fine for anyone who trespasses.Just take my word for it, you don’t wanna try it.
What to Bring:
- Plenty of water! This is a must as there is little to no shading and on a hot sunny day you’ll need some refreshment.
- Comfortable shoes. Hiking boots are not necessary, just average tennis shoes or running shoes would be fine.
- Hat (again, that sun is strong)
- Sunscreen (you can’t escape that sun. As referenced above, there is little shading)
Where to Park
An added bonus to this route is that there is plenty of free parking within the gates of Griffith Park. This is a relief because you don’t have to worry about hourly limits, and can stay as long as you want. My only word of caution is that the gates do close shortly after sunset, and you will be trapped inside the park until a staff member can come and open them. I learned this the hard way and was stuck waiting for at least 45 minutes.
About the Brush Canyon Trail
Thanks to the beautiful SoCal weather, the Brush Canyon Trail is open all year long! It’s a moderate 6.5 miles round trip, and I would allow at least 3 hours to complete the hike. It is rarely steep, however you are steadily gaining 1050 feet in elevation. This largely unshaded route is dog-friendly and frequented by locals and tourists alike. This route leads you to the peak directly behind the Hollywood Sign for the most spectacular view over the city. If you come at sunset the sky really puts on a show and is one of the most beautiful sunsets I have witnessed.
NOTE: It is likely you will lose or have limited cell phone service during this route.
To start off the hike, from the parking area you’re going to head north through the gated trailhead. There is some shading during the early parts of the trail, but as you continue it is largely unshaded. From early on you will start to see spottings of the Hollywood Sign in the distance.
At around 1.5 miles you will come to a junction where you’re going to veer left on the Mulholland Trail towards the Hollywood Sign. If you turn right here, you’ll head towards the Griffith Observatory.
A you continue on this trail, the path flattens out and will wind its way around the canyon. Even from here you’ll begin to see spectacular views of the city.
Eventually you will come to another junction. Take a sharp right up Mount Lee Drive and note that this part of the hike is fairly steep.
In about a mile you will find yourself behind the Hollywood Sign taking in beautiful views like below.
If you also want frontal views of the Hollywood Sign, instead of turning right up Mount Lee Drive, continue straight on the path. In less than a mile you will begin to see views of the sign like below.
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Have you hiked the Brush Canyon Trail? If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below – I would love to answer!