The Hollywood Sign is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world, yet many people don't realize you can actually hike very close to the sign. Legally. It's a surreal hike you'll remember the rest of your life, and the upper section offers amazing views of the San Fernando Valley to the north, the skyscrapers of Los Angeles to the south, and on a clear day you can see the ocean as well.
The main trailhead is the gate at the end of Mullholland Hwy. There are places to park just a little ways down the road near Ledgewood Drive. The dirt road goes to a house. Stay left, taking the narrow cement path, then turn left onto the paved road. This is legal, but the house owners may let their dog run loose at night. At the next junction, go up (left). It's very steep at first, then gradually gets easier as you approach the radio tower.
Alternatively, you can take the Cahuenga Peak Trail, which starts at the end of Wonder View Drive. Parking is lower down by the lightposts, almost to the reservoir. Very few people use the Cahuenga Peak Trail, but it has incredible views. The trail is a steep ascent to the top of Cahuenga Peak, going through the burn area, then it rolls along the ridge over to Mt. Lee.
There is a difference between what is illegal and what is legal-but-discouraged. On the streets, there are numerous signs saying "no access to hollywood sign." Near the ends of the roads, some signs say "no hiking to the sign." However, it is completely legal to follow the road that goes above the sign. Touching the sign could possibly result in a fine. Helicopters patrol the area regularly, and they have infrared sensors set up to alert the helicopter pilots and police. This is mainly to prevent repeats of vandalism that has occurred in the past. The official Hollywood Sign web site is not completely honest about the legality of hiking near the sign.
External LinksLA Trails
Includes trail map of Griffith Park.