The Hollywood Sign is one of the most recognizable and famous landmarks in California. The Sign was built in the 20’s in order to advertise the Hollywoodland real estate development. It was shortened from “Hollywoodland” to “Hollywood” in 1949. The sign has been defaced or “artistically enhanced” on a series of occasions. The sign was in pretty bad shape in the 70’s but was restored when a number of individuals, including Gene Autry, Hugh Hefner, and Alice Cooper, donated individual letters.
Anyone with a pulse would probably be interested in taking a hike and seeing the sign up close. I have a pulse, so I decided to use some “google-fu” to figure out exactly what that entails. I found a number of on-line resources and I sat through a series of youtube videos that documented the expedition. Some of the videos portrayed the hike as a pretty serious endeavor that will provide you with an abundance of opportunities to get stranded in the “Hollywood wilderness”. I will tone it down a bit here. Just print out and follow this street view map or this topographic map. There are a few important things to notice about the map. First, the batman sign indicates the location of the nearby Bronson Bat Cave (featured here)! Second, you should notice that there are three points along the hike where you will face a fork in the trail (or road). Head left on the first fork, right on the second one, and right on the third one. The first two are obvious, since they take you closer to the sign, the third one is less obvious, since it appears to take you away from the sign. You can also make a left on the third fork if you want to take a look at the sign from below. The hike finishes just above the top of the Hollywood Sign. There are plenty of fences that keep you from getting too close, so don’t expect to get a picture of yourself sitting on the H or anything like that.
Trailhead: 2800 Canyon Dr. It is basically at the end of Canyon Dr. within a small parking lot labeled “Camp Hollywood Land”. The parking lot fills up pretty quickly so try to get there around 10am or earlier. You can find more information here.
Note that the hike from the Canyon Dr. trailhead takes about 3 hours, and is 6.5 miles round trip. You can find directions for a shorter (~40 minute) hike here. But beware, the shorter hike won’t take you to the bat caves.