A Different View of the Hollywood Sign

Oct 15, 2009 by Lisa Newton

While researching my Mapping Swimming Pools in LA article, I discovered a new trail I wanted to hike–Bronson Canyon. The trail’s mount begins in Griffith Park, and twists and turns all the way up to the Hollywood Sign. What’s different about this hike than my previous treks to the Hollywood Sign is that I’m starting and ending up at two completely different points toward the Hollywood sign. In doing so I was interested in both having fun and exercising at the same time.

The Trailhead

Often times, when I find myself hiking, I’m not always so sure where the trail will go or what I’ll see. The only information I had on this trail, was what the Los Angeles Parks and Recreation site told me:

Special Features: HIKING TRAIL




As soon as I saw the words “HOLLYWOOD SIGN” and “TUNNEL/CAVE,”

Needless to say I was “All In!” Although I’ve hiked to the Hollywood Sign before, I never tire of seeing it, and as soon as I read the words tunnel and cave, the deal was sealed thrice over.

After grabbing my camera, my water bottle, and my determination, off I went.


Who knew I was going to find public art at the start of my hike. Judging by the looks of it, this patch of concrete is meant as some kind of water run-off system. Someone took their time in spray painting this big green guy.

Hiking the Trail

This shot gives you an idea of what the trail looks like. With wide walkways, many hikers brought their friendly dogs out to get a bit of exercise with their masters. As you can see, I was on the way up, which didn’t surprise me.

What did surprise me is that this trail connects to the same trail I had previously taken to view the Hollywood sign. This time, however, I didn’t turn left when I approached the fire road. I went the other way trending right; I was headed toward the direction which I hoped would take me to Shangri-La—the place where I could actually touch the Hollywood Sign. Little did I know that as the trail goes up, it keeps going up and up, and then some.

Forest Lawn Cemetery

Close to the top, the northern views were spectacular. Above is the world famous Forest Lawn Cemetery, where recently, Michael Jackson was buried.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect at the top of this mountain because I had never walked it before. Not armed with enough information to know what was at the top of this mountain hike, I did know that it had a steep inclined and was a long walk–it took 1.25 hours to reach my final destination.

If you haven’t guessed it already, at the top, I found myself at the Hollywood Sign, but in reverse. Yes, that’s the back of the Hollywood Sign’s letters. As I stood there, trying to snap a picture between the fence that prevent visitors from getting any closer, I thought about the people who have climbed the ladder only to jump to their deaths. What was going through their minds? We’ll never know.

Security and Cameras

If you’re thinking about trying to get around the fence, I’d think again. This gate with all of its camera security is the conclusion to this trail. I didn’t count the cameras, but just in this picture alone, you can see several pointing in all directions.

Hollywood Reservoir


In case you didn’t know, that’s the Hollywood Reservoir. I can hardly wait to go back on a clear day.

After over two hours of hiking and with the trail behind me, I felt tired but good. Even though I didn’t know where the trail would lead, I left happy knowing a question I’ve had was answered.

You made it  :)

To give you a photographic idea of the distance and elevation traversed, I took this shot less than half way up. I’m not sure why it says what it says, but you can clearly see the tower at the mountain’s top– which is the end– in the background.

As for the tunnel and cave mentioned above, I didn’t find it, which leads me to believe either I took a wrong turn, or I took the wrong trail, or both. This of course means that, in the pursuit of journalistic excellence, I’ll be going back. I’m sure that my staff won’t mind. J

This hike also allowed me to try out one of my new gadgets and toys. After searching long and hard for a GPS unit that did what I wanted it to do for Travelin’ Local’s mapping purposes, I finally found the right one to buy, after going through a few lemons:

Hollywood Sign and Bronson Canyon

This is a visual reproduction of my hike, and when you click a particular link, you’ll see a new photo. I’ll still be using Google maps, but I’ll also include some maps on this software as I keep on Travelin’ Local to bring you the best of what Los Angeles and environs has to offer.

For a true LA insider’s look at the Hollywood Hills, try the Hollywood/Highland Travelin’ Local Walking Tour. It’s 3 miles of total LA uniqueness.

[Update] Access for parking for this hike can be found at 3200 Canyon Dr, Los Angeles, California 90068. The lot is small, but if you get there early, you should have no trouble. Happy hiking.

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Griffith Park, Hiking/Walking, Hollywood, Recreation, SoCal

2 Responses to “A Different View of the Hollywood Sign”

  1. Kevin says:

    Looks like an excellent hike with all sorts of different perspectives. I love that dinosaur!

    Your map with the GPS images is something that I’ve been wanting to do but just never get to, maybe you have me motivated now.
    It’s an excellent tool and suits your walks perfectly.

    Give us a report on the tunnel cave when you find it
    Kevin´s last blog ..The Cowichan: Duncan, Chemainus, Ladysmith and Region – Book Launch My ComLuv Profile


    LisaNewton Reply:

    @Kevin, I was so surprised when I saw that dinosaur. Totally unexpected.

    I’ve long used the new GPS once, but right now it’s in my pocket getting ready for today.

    I’ll be sure to share the tunnel with you, and I look forward to seeing your walks as soon as you get your GPS. :)


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