How to Hike Behind the Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles

I really despise Los Angeles. There’s just something about that city that makes my blood boil! I’ve always said it’s my least favorite place I’ve ever been. Feel free to change my mind in the comments!

The hiking in LA is probably the only thing I like about it. Although it will take you 45 minutes to find a parking spot at Runyon Canyon so I don’t like it THAT much!

But when I was back in LA in December, hiking behind the Hollywood sign was on my must do list.

Finding the starting point for this hike was not easy. When I got in my Uber early Saturday morning, my driver told me the trail started from the Griffith Observatory parking lot even though I had read online that wasn’t true.

Well, she dropped me off and guess what? It wasn’t true! The hike that leaves from the back of the Griffith Observatory parking lot has great view points OF the sign but the trail does not actually go up behind the sign.

The start to the Hollywood sign hike is Sunset Ranch. Use 3400 N Beachwood Drive as your destination in Google Maps or Uber.

Once you arrive at Sunset Ranch, walk through the gate door on the left, up a short road and follow the hiking signs. It’s very easy to find. You will notice that the first bit of the hike is shared with horses so watch out for horse poop!

You will have the best front view of the Hollywood Sign early on in your hike so be on the look out for it if you want to take photos.

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About 5 minutes into the hike

About 10 minutes into the hike, you’ll see a sign for the Hollywood Sign. Here you’ll make a 180 degree turn up the hill. Don’t miss this turn!

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Walking up to the 180 degree turn up to the Hollywood Sign

The next confusing spot on the trail is when the dirt trail ends and you meet a road. There will be a sign that says Hollywood Sign to the left but you actually want to go right. This makes no sense at first but if you follow this sign to the left, you will just see the Hollywood Sign from the front, you won’t actually be behind it. Going left makes you go down the hill so you need to go right so that you meander up and behind.

The hike itself is not long. I was definitely hiking not strolling so I got to the top, behind the Hollywood Sign in about 30 minutes.

At the top of the hike you get a really amazing 360 view of Los Angeles. There’s the Hollywood Sign and downtown LA on one side and the valley on the other. The best time to do this hike is right after it rains because that’s when the smog disappears for a short while and you get the clearest view of LA.

Note that you cannot get up very close to the Hollywood Sign. There is a giant fence as well as a security guard. So unless you’re as brave as this guy, don’t plan on touching the sign or getting up close in front of it.

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View of the Valley

I really enjoyed the Hollywood Sign hike more than Runyon Canyon. First of all, there were less people doing it so it made the hike more enjoyable. And second of all, it had better views from the top in my opinion. Although it’s a bit harder to find, I still recommend it over Runyon!

Oh! And when you’re done with the hike, you obviously need to refuel. Head to In N Out and get yourself a double double animal style with fries and a shake. You won’t regret it.

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Double double animal style with fries and a chocolate shake, please!

And for everyone who says Shake Shack is better than In N Out, you can’t compare them because Shake Shack is fast casual and In N Out is fast food. It’s like comparing Chipotle to Taco Bell. You can’t!

End rant 🙂

5 Comments Add yours

  1. notthedane56 says:

    You were lucky to have so many clear, blue skies, while in LA. The best time for those is in the Winter months and the Springtime. I lived there for over 20 years and still remember those greyish, skies, that everyone else said were blue!

    1. Yes! Even though I didn’t enjoy the rain, it brought a beautiful day for a hike. But yes those LA skies are far from blue 😉

  2. Always wondered about that! Cool

  3. Lyvly Bee says:

    I’m sorry to hear you aren’t a fan of Los Angeles, but I’m glad you enjoy the hike. If you love adventure, we have a few recommendations on our site. If you are ever back in the city, I recommend pairing the Hollywood Hike with Thai food in Thai Town. It is extremely close by and home to the best Thai restaurant I’ve ever had. I promise you won’t regret it.

    I also compiled my favorite hikes (particularly ones with ocean views in LA). You can check it out here for inspiration for the future 🙂
    https://blog.belyvly.com/2017/02/24/la-hiking-trails-with-ocean-views/

    1. Awesome thanks for sharing! I often land in LA often for work so I’ll definitely check some of these out.

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