What is inarguably one of the most necessary things to do in L.A. is to go on a hike to the Hollywood Sign. The views were absolutely breathtaking, and it’s not even a difficult hike.
In an effort to see the view though the lens of a beautiful early morning (and it was a great, cloudless day) and also to beat the nasty L.A. traffic, we decided to leave the house at 6am. Equipped with a backpack full of bottles of water and a printed out packet of step-by-step directions to the sign (there are no direct markings on the trail for how exactly to reach the sign), we were on our way.
I was excited, but also nervous. I knew that there have been sightings of rattlesnakes along the trail, and there is also who-knows-what-else lurking in the California mountains. Also, I had no idea how easy it would be to get lost – I am not a hiker in any way, shape, or form. Despite all of my anxious tendencies, we trekked on.
I knew from research beforehand that we would be allowed to park right on the streets of Beachwood Drive, which is a residential area and as close as you can possibly drive to the sign. It was through this website. We got there at roughly around 7am. There was nobody around us, which was a little unsettling – but then again, it was 7am. Note that this isn’t a strikingly obvious path – we technically entered through a horse trail farm (completely legal!) and the only dignifier that we weren’t lost was a little hike sign that said “Hollywood Trail”. Beyond that, it’s all self-navigation until you get to the top. Nevertheless, we started on the dirt trail. It only took about 5 minutes to reach an amazing view of the city. We started slow because we kept wanting to stop and take in the view, but we were only at the beginning.
Fast forward to 10 minutes of walking, and we reach quite the obstacle: a very protective coyote mother standing on the trail about 50 feet from us. I stopped dead in my tracks and looked back at my friend/travel partner Arielle,
very slightly terrified. We both exchanged glances and knew there was no way around it. Glumly, we turned right back around and headed back to the car. We decided to leave and come back later, so we went back down the street and had breakfast at a place called the Beachwood Cafe. It was a charming diner that looked untouched since the 50’s and had great food!
After our breakfast, we returned later on Coyote-Free Time and started back up the trail again. The climb was a little steep, but so, so worth it for the stunning views. Just a few sharp turns (and about 40 minutes) later, we finally reached the Hollywood Sign!
Hopefully these pictures will convince even the most casual L.A. visitor to take on this hike.