Hiking The Hollywood Sign – What Not To Do and Mistakes To Avoid
One of the most popular things tourists want to do when visiting Los Angeles, is visiting the Hollywood sign. Everyone wants to get as close to it as they possibly can. And it’s possible to get pretty close too. But if there was one thing I took from doing this hike, it’s to be less of a tourist and do more research.
July this year saw the end of my Disney Cultural Representative Program. My last few days were hectic, trying to figure out what to do with my 7 suitcases of Disney merch.
The same day I moved out of my apartment I flew to Los Angeles to spend a week with my sister. They were having a heatwave, it was 45 degrees in Burbank. The power had cut out while we were at the grove one day. It was hot!
Two of my Disney co-workers and good friends, Sammy & Grace, were also in town and messaged me to see if I’d like to join them on a hike to the Hollywood sign. I’d always wanted to do it, yet despite visiting California so many times, I’d never made it.
We started off okay…
So on a very clear and sunny day, we met at the Griffith Observatory. I did zero research on this hike, I’d left it up to the other girls, assuming they knew what route to take. Or that there’d be a map of some sort at the trail head.
Well there was. But everything was so badly sign posted.
From Griffith Observatory we took the Mt Hollywood Hiking Trail from the Charlie Turner trail head. And it did take us to a view of the Hollywood sign, but honestly, that’s not the view we came for. We were no where near it.
From here there are no trail maps, whatsoever. We took a trail at random and were at the back of the hills looking towards Burbank. We ventured back here for quite some time, not really getting anywhere.
Eventually we find a road, hooray! And a sign that maps out the different trails. There was one trail that goes across the mountain to the sign, so we start walking the trail, only to find it turns into hardcore hiking across rocks and no real path in sight.
We head back. Again.
We spot the trail we are supposed to be taking, but no idea how to get to it. Plus there were bushes and foliage in the way.
Things went downhill from here
This is the point where we all ran out of water, trying to “hike down to that trail” through bushes and lots of other strange looking trees. It doesn’t look like we’re getting anywhere and I’m close to passing out. It was around 1pm and we’d been hiking since around 9:30am.
Wondering if I’ll ever see the sign, I turn back towards the main road and take a rest in the only patch of shade I can find.
I decided to try and work out this trail map one last time.
Finally! I figure it out and we take the wide Mulholland trail which pretty much takes us all the way to the sign.
Feeling accomplished we take some exhausting looking photos and try to figure out how we’re going to get back to civilisation.
Our hike back down was an Uber
A runner passed by us, he looks like a local so we ask where is best to get an uber from. I’m sure it’s not the first time he’s been asked this.
He tells us to go through the “blue door over there” and it’ll bring us out to a residential street. It did indeed. And a few houses down was a lovely man selling cold drinks.
Again, I’m sure he’s more than used to seeing tourists like us.
I’ve never been more thankful for that blue door. I drank three bottles of water and sat on this guys couch while we waited for an uber. Best uber ride of my life.
People aren’t messing around when they say be prepared for hiking. Bring a proper hiking backpack and more water than you think you need. There is little to no shade in these mountains, and it’s the desert so it gets very very hot.
There are many different hiking trails to get to the Hollywood Sign. If you’re doing it in the summer, I’d suggest going really early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Don’t get stuck in the mountains midday!
And do as much research as you can. Bring a map so you don’t spend 5 to 6 hours trying to find your way.
Have you ever hiked to the Hollywood Sign?
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