The Shortest Hike to the Hollywood Sign (Locals Use This Route)

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Many people descend upon Hollywood to view the iconic sign.

But when exploring this amazing area, you want a short route that’s going to get you there quickly, without compromising on sightseeing!

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Let’s take a look at the shortest hike to the Hollywood sign.

The Wonder View Trail

Formally known as the Burbank Peak Trail, The Wonder View Trail is widely regarded as the shortest trail to the Hollywood Sign. It is moderately challenging but offers fantastic views of Hollywood.

It is located in Griffith Park, which is in the Eastern Santa Monica Mountains, very close to Hollywood. The trail starts from the Griffith Observatory parking lot.

In terms of difficulty, if you are in bad health, this trail may not be for you; there are some steep sections and a mix of paved and dirt tracks.

It is approximately a 3-mile round trip, which takes around 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on your level of fitness, pace, and how long you take to stop to admire the stunning views!

Here is a rough guide to following the trail:

  • Start at the Griffith Observatory parking lot and follow the signs for the Charlie Turner Trailhead. This takes you uphill through a mix of paved and dirt paths.
  • Follow signs along the way for the Wonder View Trail, you will go over many junctions but just stick to the Wonder View Trail.
  • This path will bring you out to a ridge that presents a panoramic view of Los Angeles and the famous Hollywood Sign.

It’s important to note that although you can see the Hollywood Sign from the trail you cannot hike directly to the sign itself.

 

This is annoying for many people, but it’s important to respect the area and to keep the sign well preserved and protect it from damage. There are still plenty of opportunities for photos with the sign, so don’t worry.

Fines are heavy for trespassing and the area is very carefully guarded with in-person security and hidden cameras, so do not be tempted to try and squeeze through any barriers or you could end up with a hefty fine and a very red face!

It is illegal to trespass and to climb on the sign structure.

Hike Etiquette

The trails around the Hollywood sign get very busy.

Everyone there wants to see the sign and get photos, just like you do. Being respectful of others makes the experience better for everyone.

Griffith Park can get pretty crowded, especially on weekends and holidays.

If you prefer it a bit quieter, head there mid-week or early in the morning. The parking lot can fill up quickly, so arriving early is best, or consider public transport.

Remember to come prepared for the weather, there can be extreme heat in the summer and rain in the winter.

Layers are best. Check the weather forecast before you head out and remember to bring plenty of water with you.

Alternative Routes

Many people try to bend the rules surrounding the Hollywood Sign, it is notoriously difficult to get close to.

But some savvy people have discovered a good place to start the trail, which cuts out the need to park at the Griffith Observatory:

  • From the Hollywood Freeway, take Barnham Boulevard, then turn right onto Lake Hollywood Drive.
  • Wonder View Drive should be in front of you. Turn right here and park along this street, it is called Lake Hollywood Drive. Be careful to check any parking restrictions, but there is usually plenty of parallel parking.
  • Walk up the beautiful Wonder View Drive to the end, and you will see a sign saying, “No access to Hollywood Sign”. This is true for vehicles, but not if you are on foot!
  • You will see the ‘H’ from the sign from the very start of the trail.
  • The trail leads to the Wonder View trail, which you will then follow. Enjoy the stunning views of the San Fernando Valley and Burbank.
  • You will come across an old tree, nicknamed the “Wisdom Tree”, many people leave notes underneath the tree, and build cairns with the rocks surrounding it. It is an incredibly popular photo stop.
  • As you continue on after the Wisdom Tree, you will head along the crest of a mountain, from here the route can get quite challenging, but thankfully, this level of challenge does not last too long.
  • Shortly after the climb, you will be able to see the “Holly” portion of the sign, this part of the hike is named the Hugh Heffner Overlook. Hugh was one of the big donors who helped to buy this area, Cahuenga Park, when it was at risk of being sold to developers some years ago.
  • The trail drops down to a paved road, which serves as part of other hiking trails, this will take you to behind the Hollywood sign (get ready for your next photo!).

There are many trails around the Hollywood Sign, and most share paths with each other at some point.

It is worth researching where to start your hike from and where to park, as this can cut time off on the hike.

It’s important to obey all parking rules, as many of the areas around the Hollywood Sign are residential areas.

Spend Some Time Here

There are other interesting things to see in the area when you are finished with the trail, including:

  • Hollywood and Highland Center: A popular shopping and entertainment complex located on Hollywood Boulevard.
  • Runyon Canyon Park: Situated to the East of the Hollywood Sign, Runyon Canyon Park is a great place for hiking and picnics.
  • Lake Hollywood Park: From here you can join many of the trails that surround the area, have picnics, enjoy the beautiful scenery, and see the Hollywood sign.

Read Next10 Things to Know When Visiting the Hollywood Sign

Final Thoughts

Wonder View Trail is widely regarded as the shortest hike to the Hollywood Sign.

To try and shave even more time off the hike, you could explore some of the residential areas around the sign to park closer to the sign.

Just be careful to adhere to any parking rules on residential roads and park only where permitted.

Hello, I’m Emma! I’ve been exploring the world since 2015. People always ask me lots of questions when I travel and come back. So, I started a blog to answer them all and share with the world. If you are curious about something, use the search bar on my site or send me an email emma@timetositback.com