Hiking To The Iconic Hollywood Sign! Getting My Tinseltown Close-Up!

Hanging Out At The Iconic Hollywood Sign!

What a way to celebrate my birthday!

When the Omicron surge erased our trip to Paris at the end of the year, my wife Alex did a “pandemic pivot” and planned a “staycation” all week in Los Angeles.

One day, it took us to the top of the entertainment business!

The Hollywood Sign is more than just nine white letters spelling out a city’s name. It’s one of the world’s most famous monuments and a universal metaphor for ambition, success, glamour…

Or this…I’m pretty sure they imagined that Alex and I would get an “upside down selfie” before we took the long walk to the top…

We hiked to it from the Lake Hollywood neighborhood…there was street parking, but you need to carefully read all of the signs!

While the sign is tantalizingly close on the left, you have to hike all the way around to the right…which take a full hour or more…and it’s more than 1,000 feet elevation, and while the path is wide, it’s steep as well…

At the top sits a large flat lot, and some electronic towers – as well as an epic view to the San Fernando Valley on the other side…oh, and you will come across many photo shoots on the hike up…

As the official website for the sign notes:

“The western frontier of Griffith Park offers hikers amazingly close encounters with the Sign, which is off-limits to human hands, just below the ridgeline at the 1,708-foot summit of Mt. Lee.”

On the longest hike that we took, you wind around on a large dirt road, gaining altitude and at times, incredible views of Los Angeles…

We headed up the Mt. Lee Summit, which also gives you an incredible view of the famous Griffith Park Observatory and downtown Los Angeles in the distance…

If you want a different sort of adventure, try traveling to the observatory this way:

We passed some horses taking riders to the Observatory, with the Hollywood sign to their left…what a view!

After a minute or two they went south, we went north and rounded a corner to find ourselves at Cahuenga Peak!

That’s the road up to the sign on the right – we curved past Cahuenga Peak, and that’s the San Fernando Valley in the middle…Alex is on the left on the last remaining turn before you walk into this – here is the video:

Selfie time from the top of the sign!

You literally round a corner and there it is, with Lake Hollywood, near where we parked, way down below…and here is the “money shot”:

The official Hollywood Sign Trust has the in-depth history of the sign. As their website points out:

By 1920, 40 million Americans were going to the movies each week. Hollywood, which had became a lifestyle and, increasingly, an aspiration, was officially crowned when the “Hollywoodland” Sign was erected in 1923.

This immediately icon $21,000 billboard was originally put up to promote the upscale “Hollywoodland” real estate development!

A 1949 restoration revitalized the sign, but the “LAND” was removed – and you can take picture after picture after picture from all angles – an exhilarating hike to the top of Hollywood!

As this shot shows, you pass behind it and the flat pad on top give you a chance to capture all of the letters and the west side of Los Angeles in the distance…spectacular!

If you plan to make the hike, here’s the official website with all the info you need to know:

Since you are looking for all “cool things Hollywood”, why not try this:

The legendary “Hollywood Hightower” is nearby – it’s a real place where people live, and it’s been used in movies too!

Click here for the story:

And this makes you hungry, make a reservation to eat at Hollywood’s oldest and most famous restaurant!

Musso & Frank is over a hundred years old, and even has its own star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame!

Click here to see why they have the best Martini is the city!

So many of Hollywood’s iconic locations are closed or forever altered, and people in town were excited to see that the legendary Formosa Cafe was saved:

The Formosa Cafe was closed for a time, and its future was uncertain – but it has been saved and is now open again!

Here’s the story of this classic Hollywood haunt:

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Here’s to exploring classic Hollywood – if you enjoyed this, please share on social media – thanks!

Categories: Art, Books / Media, Exotic Travel, Film Fight Club, Food, Hollywood, Los Angeles, Memoirs, nature, Pop Culture, Real Estate, Restaurants, Sports, Travel, Travel Adventures, Travel Memoir

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

18 replies

  1. Super hike and stunning photos! I love your upside down pics!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great idea from Alex. It’s fun to capture an iconic piece from a rare location. I have an unusual side photo of Mt. Rushmore which focuses exclusively on George Washington. Thanks for the idea—I’m doing this the next time I’m in your neighborhood.


  3. What a great staycation and birthday week celebration! Terrific views!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love how Alex always looks so delighted with life in your pictures, John. What a fabulous hike and view from the top. The video is marvelous.


  5. Looks like it was a fun day!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That sign is recognised in every country around the world. Great that you had the chance to actually stand behind it, John.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person


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