Not surprisingly, the first thing I did when I arrived in Hollywood is looked up the hillside to the infamous sign and said, “I can hike that.” I checked into my hotel room, put my running clothes on and pulled out Google Maps. While a taxi or Uber would have dropped me off at the trailhead, the adventure was more fun getting there by foot from my hotel. Heading up Beachwood Drive and going through the neighborhood to reach Canyon Drive, gave me a chance to see some amazing homes in Hollywood Hills. No, I didn’t spot any famous stars but I’m not really into that and wouldn’t have taken a second look, let alone a photo, even if I had.
The Canyon Trail Via Brush Canyon begins in Griffith Park at the entrance from Canyon Drive. Park inside the park and NOT on the residential streets. Be respectful of the residents in the neighborhood as this trail is popular amongst tourists.
The nice thing about all of the trails to the Hollywood sign is that they are well traveled so I had no worries hiking by myself while traveling.
Make sure to bring plenty of water. Once the trail begins climbing from the park, it is exposed the rest of the way.
The trail is a well marked road with a combination of dirt and pavement. The last mile is paved. A good pair of regular running shoes will suffice. At 6.5 miles round trip, I definitely wouldn’t recommend sandals or flip flops though I saw a few tourists hiking in them. I’m also glad I left my trail running shoes at home as they weren’t necessary for the packed trail.
Once the trail goes under the Greek Theater, it’s easy to catch a glimpse of the tower with the Hollywood sign underneath.
The last part of the trail passes behind Mt. Lee, the mountain the Hollywood sign calls home. Past the last curve is a fence protecting the sign. The road ends at the tower but hikers can’t pass into the restricted area. Instead, a short but steep climb marks the end of the trail, just above the sign.
For the extra adventurous, the Cahuenga Peak Hike along the Aileen Getty Ridge Trail is worth the side trip. I did it on the way back. It’s only .3 miles each way. I couldn’t stand the idea of being that close to a peak and not bagging it.
Look for the sitting bench around the last bend before the Hollywood Sign. There is a single track trail that follows the ridge and climbs to the peak.
While this part of the trail is rated as difficult, I only found a few challenging sections as I approached the peak. It’s nothing an experienced hiker can’t handle and it was moderate compared to what I’m use to.
For the true peak bagger, there is a survey peak marker on the top and is easy to find. Adding the side trail makes the round trip close to 7 miles. I put in over 10 miles making the trip from my hotel.
As a side note: Near the beginning of this trail is a side trail to Bronson Caves which was home to Adam West’s Bat Cave and the Batmobile from the 1960’s Batman series. I didn’t do the side trail but I passed by it.