Hometown Tourist: Hike to the Hollywood Sign

My first hike to the Hollywood sign was in stilettos.

When I was a high school junior, I grew so fast my lung collapsed, and I spent three days in the hospital recovering.  By the end of my growth spurt, my awkward long limbs became an asset to pursue a short-lived modeling career.

After signing a contract with an agency, I had my first test shoot to begin building my portfolio. Dressed in fishnet stockings, stilettos and a backless trench coat, I posed for the photographer in front of the Hollywood sign.  Being an awkward seventeen year old, I tried my hardest to look sexy.  I watched Pretty Woman enough times to fake it, but I was distracted by tourists trying to take photos of my backside.


As an adult, most of my hiking adventures take me outside the city, so I hadn’t considered hiking to the Hollywood sign again until my friend Caitlyn came to visit from the East Coast.  We began the 4 mile roundtrip hike from Sunset Ranch at the end of Beachwood Drive.  My limbs were still sore from the snowy hike to Mount Baden Powell summit the day before.

View from Beachwood Drive
View from Beachwood Drive
Caitlyn climbing to the first vista

The trail was quiet on an gloomy Monday afternoon, though Caitlyn still managed to spot a celebrity.  We followed the trail uphill for two miles to view Los Angeles from behind the Hollywood sign.

Los Angeles Skyline
Los Angeles Skyline
Creepy Lookout
Caitlyn behind the Hollywood Sign
We made it.

We couldn’t touch the Hollywood sign like in the movies, but we got pretty close. Whether you are visiting Los Angeles for the first time or you live here full-time, I highly recommend doing this hike at least once.  In sunny California, you can expect sunshine 362 days of the year, but you should probably bring your backless trench coat just in case.

Hollywood Sign Trail via Beachwood Drive

  • Trailhead Parking:  Free
  • Trail Distance: 4.3 miles round trip
  • Fitness Level: Moderate with a good hill climb
  • Source: Go to EveryTrail.com for trail directions.

Get Directions

[mappress mapid=”8″]


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9 replies on “Hometown Tourist: Hike to the Hollywood Sign”
  1. says: Astrid

    I saw your picture in search of good directions how to get up to the Hollywood sign with the amazing view that you posted. I google map beachwood dr to see how the actual place looks like and I see it ends at a dirt road.
    And then notice there might be 2 trails on that is straight up and one just before or next to that little parking area and it curves upwards. Witch trail is the one that you took? as well did you have a hard time looking for parking? is that little place up there where you can park? I am planning on going on a sunday morning.

    Thanks for your help

    1. says: Alyx

      Hi Astrid, Thanks for your comment! There is a small dirt parking lot at the trailhead. If you go too far, you will end up at Sunset Ranch. I went on a weekday, so I didn’t have trouble parking, but I’ve read several sources that say there is street parking available. From the parking lot, there is a sign that marks the trailhead. When you reach an old, paved section of the trail, you can go down to the left for a front view of the sign or up to the right to stand behind it. To be honest, I ended up asking other people on the trail which way to go when I felt unsure. If you go on a Sunday, there will be plenty of people to guide you. Good luck and happy adventuring!

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