How to get to the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles: routes and tips - ForumDaily
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How to Get to the Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles: Directions and Useful Tips

The Hollywood Sign, which sits atop Mount Lee, is perhaps one of the most famous images of Los Angeles (if not California), and you'll want to capture it on camera. And for this you need to know which areas of the city you need to go to get the best view. Filippo Nardelli created something like a tourist guide and published it in the publication Travel In USA. Next - from the first person.

Photo: IStock

In this article, we're going to explore the best places to spot the Hollywood Sign so you can take the perfect keepsake photos. Many of these places will allow you to discover unusual parts of Los Angeles, where you can admire the city and its surroundings in all its beauty.

Best Points to See the Hollywood Sign Without Hiking

Let's start with this roundup of the best places in Los Angeles to photograph the world famous sign. If you do not plan to walk much or the time you have to visit the city is limited, this choice is for you.

Griffith Observatory

This is an incredible observatory that rises above the hills near Los Angeles. Considering its location, the Hollywood sign is still quite far away, but since the observatory is one of the recommended attractions in Los Angeles, it can certainly be taken into account for all the interesting entertainment it offers to visitors.

Fans of the great classics of Hollywood cinema will have another reason to visit the Griffith Observatory. You will find yourself in a place made famous by the movie "Rebel Without a Cause", filmed in 1955. The scene from the film featuring James Dean is iconic. In memory of this, you will find a monument with the face of a young actor and you can photograph him against the backdrop of the iconic sign.

The observatory is one of the starting points for those looking to hike the Mount Hollywood hiking trail.

Photo: IStock

Lake Hollywood Park

Lake Hollywood Park, in my opinion, is the best point for photographing the coveted sign. This is a large park nestled between hills and narrow winding streets, surrounded by some of the city's most luxurious houses. It's also a great place to take two trails that will take you to the top of Mount Lee for views of Los Angeles.

Mulholland Drive

Mulholland Drive is one of the scenic roads that runs along the hills of Los Angeles. This location has the added benefit of being immortalized in countless Hollywood films. This alone is reason enough to visit, and if you are particularly fond of the work of David Lynch, you will certainly have a special reason to take this excursion.

Go east on Mulholland Drive off the 101 Freeway and you'll come to a lookout called the Hollywood Bowl Overlook. From here you can clearly see the panorama of the city below, as well as the Hollywood sign.

Hollywood and Highland Center

Hollywood and Highland Center is a large shopping center located at the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue - right where part of the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame is located. If you go out to the terrace of the shopping center, you can enjoy a beautiful view of Mount Li and the well-known sign.

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Another incentive to visit this major shopping center is that if you park your car here and then validate your parking pass at a bar, restaurant or store, you will only pay $2 for parking while you shop for 2 hours. Compared to the prices of other parking lots in Los Angeles, this is a pretty good deal.

Hollywood Reservoir

Hollywood Reservoir is a man-made lake known as one of the locals' favorite natural spots for running and exercising on a quiet, relaxing trail with interesting views. You'll find the perfect spot to photograph the Hollywood Sign at Mulholland Dam. After taking a few pictures, why not take a walk along the shore of the lake.

Hollywood Reservoir has three separate entrances. If you decide to use your car (or rent one), here are some tips on where to park depending on the entrance you decide to use. Of course, you should always pay attention to any signs prohibiting parking.

Photo: IStock

Lake Hollywood Drive: this is the recommended entrance if you want to use the North Gate.

Widlake Drive: if you follow this road, you will reach the entrance to the Hollywood Reservoir and, after passing through the residential area, you will find a small parking lot to the left of the entrance. This is especially recommended if you don't want to walk too far to get to Mulholland Dam.

In addition, there is another entrance, but I advise you not to use it, because there are very few parking spaces near it. This is about Eastern gate at the entrance to the Lake Hollywood estate, which are distinguished by a beautiful barrier with the Hollywood sign.

North Beachwood Drive

North Beachwood Drive is a 2-mile (3,2 km) road, at the end of which you will find the entrance to the Sunset Ranch (we will talk about it in more detail later). In fact, you'll see some pretty views with the sign at the intersection with Sinic Avenue and then heading towards the Hollywood Hills.

How to get to the Hollywood sign

This section is for those who just want to see the sign from afar, but want to get as close as possible. First of all, I want to make it clear that you cannot touch or get close to the Hollywood sign. The area is fenced, guarded by cameras and security personnel to avoid accidents and vandalism that have occurred over the years.

If you want to get as close as possible, the only solution is to climb to the top of Mount Lee and take in the view of Los Angeles from behind the Hollywood Sign. In other words, you can only get to the point where the radio antennas stand out.

Before seeing the routes leading up to the summit, there is some basic information that I must lay out, not only for your safety, but also to help you understand that you will not get as close to the sign as you might expect. I advise you to read carefully so as not to encounter unpleasant surprises.


If you're going to climb Mount Lee to see the view beyond the Hollywood sign, the first thing you should know is that Beechwood Canyon residents are fed up with the crowds of tourists who flock to the summit of Mount Lee on foot or by car through the winding, narrow streets. climbing up the Hollywood hills.

The first consequence of this is that they have installed intimidating and misleading official road signs throughout this area that are designed to discourage people from taking risks. A little earlier there was even a petition to remove the Hollywood sign from Google Maps.

The second consequence is that law enforcement agencies (both private and local) are present everywhere and ready to report any minor parking violations. Therefore, I advise you to try to avoid using your car and instead rely on Uber or similar services, or if you do drive, you should pay attention to no parking signs.

If you use GPS, be aware that Google Maps or other services are not entirely reliable.

If you do manage to find numerous trails to the top of Mount Li, don't forget to equip yourself with clothes and shoes suitable for walking. Another factor to consider is the climate. In summer, temperatures will rise significantly and you won't find many shady spots on the trail. Also, take plenty of water with you.

Finally, remember that even if you're near Los Angeles, you'll still be walking trails in the middle of nature, so keep an eye out for snakes and other dangerous animals in the area.

How to get to the Hollywood sign

Option #1 is from Lake Hollywood Park. Walk along Mulholland Dr or Deronda Dr.

One of the best ways to photograph the Hollywood sign up close and get to the top of Mount Lee is to head to Lake Hollywood Park and then walk along the two residential streets that rise up into the hills.

But let's get it right. First, get to Lake Hollywood Park, where you can already start taking beautiful pictures. Don't use your car because parking in the area is very scarce and the police are constantly issuing tickets to those who don't follow the rules.

An alternative to driving could be taxis or Uber, which are very successful and reliable. If you really have to drive, Canyon Lake Dr. may be the best place to park, but watch out for parking signs (especially in the evening) and be very patient because, as you can guess, it's a very busy place. If you want to continue your journey to the top of Mount Li, then the real adventure begins here (on foot only).

Your goal will be to get to the point at the end of Deronda Dr. To get there, you will have two options. The first route (which I recommend) is the easiest and consists of walking along Mulholland Dr. But don't be alarmed when it turns into a dirt road that seems to lead to nowhere. Eventually you will reach the gate. To the left of the gate you will find a path that will lead you to a clearing, and from there you can turn onto Mount Lee - it will lead you to the Hollywood sign. The video below describes the route.

Another way is to walk down Deronda Dr until you reach a dead end road with two closed gates. However, next to the gate on your left, you will see a small door that, if opened, will lead to the same clearing we talked about earlier. Personally, I do not recommend this solution because there is no guarantee that you will find the door open, so you will have to return "empty-handed", although it should be open from dawn to dusk and controlled by an automatic system. You can also watch the video below to get familiar with this route.

You will have to spend 50 minutes to an hour walking to get to the top of Mount Li (plus time to take photos and catch your breath) in addition to the return journey.

Option #2 – Walk the Wonder View Trail

I recommend parking along Lake Hollywood Drive because Wonder View Drive is a dead end street with very little room to turn around. So avoid driving on Wonder View Drive and plan your route carefully. It is better to walk a little longer than to make difficult maneuvers to turn around.

The hiking route is not easy, but not too difficult either. The walk to the Hollywood Sign will take you 30 to 40 minutes, depending on your fitness level. You have to add time to make stops, admire the view, fill the camera memory with pictures, catch your breath and, of course, return on foot.

Therefore, consider spending at least three hours on this walk. The ground on the trail is dry and dusty, so I advise you to wear appropriate footwear. In addition to this, keep in mind that the trail will be completely exposed to the sun and, especially in summer, you will need to wear a hat and bring enough water with you.

The views you will see along the way will be very impressive and perhaps even more beautiful than on other trails. You will reach the very famous lookout where the lone Tree of Wisdom stands out, which, besides being one of the few trees that survived the 2007 fire, will be the only place where you will find shade.

Therefore, it is highly recommended to take a break not only to admire the view, but also to allow yourself a respite from the sun. If it's a beautiful day with no smog or clouds, you can see Universal Studios, Burbank, and much of the San Fernando Valley.

After the Tree of Wisdom, the route continues along the mountain range. On the positive side, this section no longer has excessive ascents and descents, but it will coincide with the most difficult part of the route, because you will have to be extra careful when you get to a place where the path becomes much narrower.

The last lookout before you continue down the paved road that takes you to the top of Mount Lee is Hugh Hefner Overlook. Donations from the founder of Playboy have made it possible for this piece of land to become public property again and thus eventually allow you to walk this trail.

Option #3: Follow the trail up the mountain from the parking lot at Griffith Observatory

If the view of the Hollywood Sign from the Griffith Observatory rooftop terrace isn't enough and you want to take a walk, head to the parking lot and take the trail known as the Charlie Turner Trail. It will take you to Captain's Roost, an observation deck with one of the best views of the Greater Los Angeles area. The view of the Hollywood sign is mesmerizing.

The route is very easy and it will take you just over 20 minutes to get to Captain's Roost. For this reason, there will also be a lot of tourists here who, especially in high season, will decide to follow this route in order to take a unique photo as a keepsake.

Once you arrive at Captain's Roost, you can decide to return or start your journey towards the Hollywood sign. However, the path to the top of Mount Li is very long (at least an hour and a half one way plus stops).

Option #4: Go to Sunset Ranch from Beechwood Drive

Sunset Ranch is a popular destination for those who want to visit the Hollywood Hills in a different way. It offers many types of hikes in the Hollywood Hills, some of them on horseback with an evening barbecue, which can certainly make your trip extra special.

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Getting to this place is very easy - walk to the end of Beachwood Drive. From there you will be on a trail leading to Sunset Ranch and the Hollyridge Trail. This easy trail will take you to the paved Lee Dr Mountain, which will take you to your destination.

Photo: IStock

Option number 5 - Bronson caves

In addition to being one of the most convenient ways to get to the top of Mount Li, this route will allow you to discover an interesting place used in the TV series.

But let's get this straight and start by saying that if you're planning on driving, it's best to park along Canyon Drive, but be aware of any no-parking signs. The trail to the top of Mount Lee starts right at the end of Canyon Drive.

Following signs for Bronson Canyon/Caverns, you will come to the rock-cut tunnels that were used as the entrance to the Batcave in the 1960s Batman TV series, in which Alan West played the famous character. It won't take long and you will have the opportunity to take some interesting photos of the iconic sign.

To get to the top of Mt. Lee, you just need to drive all the way down Canyon Drive until the paved road turns dirt and continue to the intersection with the Mulholland Trail, which will take you to the famous Mt. The route is not too difficult, although it will take you at least three hours to get there and back.

How about taking a photo of the Hollywood sign from a helicopter

All of the options we've talked about so far require good organization and exercise (in case you're in the mood to go hiking), but why not take part in an already planned tour?

Among the many sightseeing tours in Los Angeles, I highly recommend the helicopter tour. This will give you a fantastic view of not only the Hollywood sign, but the entire city and its major landmarks.

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