You guys. You’ve got to go do this hike.
I’ve hiked to the Hollywood sign several times, and have publicly declared it my favorite local trek. It’s such a great combination of urban and rustic — well, no, it’s actually totally urban, but it’s on a mountain in dirt, so. You can approach this hike from several different angles, with varying degrees of difficulty. LAist has a really comprehensive guide to the various options. And Modern Hiker, the best local hiking blog I can recommend, has a great step-by-step guide too.
Access the route by following Canyon Drive into Griffith Park. The 6.5-mile round-trip (not loop) trail is butt blasting but doable even by eager novices, with a 600-foot climb in the first mile. The route is very well groomed and wide, and riders on horseback often pass as you go. (I imagine all those people are Groupon-ers, for some reason, not that it matters.)
Anyway, the really special thing about this hike is that — although security fences prohibit you from coming close enough to touch the towering letters themselves — when you get to the top, you achieve a view that you cannot see from any movie or street below.
You climb the peak behind the sign, and look over it and through it. You see in the near view the Hollywood Reservoir, which I always find really breathtaking because it’s so surprising to see a shimmering body of water right there in the hills — it catches me off guard every time. And you see the Griffith Observatory immediately to the east, you see downtown and far beyond, and clear to the Pacific ocean.
After the summit, it’s all downhill, so relax and comfortably chat away. (Hiking is my favorite sport because it involves chatting with friends. Fellow chatters: holler.)
While out with a journalism school buddy yesterday, we took a short detour and for the first time ever, I checked out Bronson Canyon, a.k.a. the Bronson Caves, a.k.a. the Batcave as part of the hike to the sign.
(Union Rock Company founded a quarry a century ago, excavating rock for city streets that resulted in these caves, which later became the filming location most recognizable from its ’60s-era Batman appearances.)
This is well worth doing, and totally accessible even with a stroller. It’s five minutes off the trail to the Hollywood sign and, at least when we were there, it felt totally serene, quiet, almost meditative — and somehow very far away.
Several hours later, back down the hill, the Whole Foods parking lot would knock that serenity right out of me, but that all comes with the territory, and I’m not mad. #LAproblems #worthit