Hiking to the Hollywood Sign

For the over 45 years that I have visited Los Angeles, I have told myself that one day I’ll be hiking up to the Hollywood sign. It was one of those things that just never happened, because it requires planning, preparation and then following through.

Well, yesterday was finally the day. A great help was that an associate from work I recently got to know lives in the neighborhood right below the sign, and he was gracious enough to give us the guided tour.

The photo below shows the sign from a neighborhood street were we walked up.

The entire hike round trip was about 4.5 miles with an elevation change of 900 feet. It’s all paved road, so no hiking poles are needed, and a quart of water should be plenty. It took us about an hour going up, and as much coming down.

About halfway up there is a good spot for a picture. Just above the W you can see a ridge and you can make out people on top of it. That’s where the next few shots are made from.

Finally at the top, the sign is all fenced in to protect it from vandalism, which was rampant in the early years. The sign was first put up in 1923 by a real estate company by the name of Hollywoodland. It was lit up at night and must have been a gaudy site. The intent was to keep it there for only a couple of years, but it “grew roots” and it’s become an iconic landmark recognized around the world, of course.

In the picture above you see the letters from behind. This is how close you can get. There are actually police up there that prevent any trespassing. Each letter is 46 feet tall. From right to left you see “LYWOOD.”

Looking down into the valley, the entire Los Angeles basin was shrouded in smog. On a clear day, one could see all the way to the ocean, and the entire panorama would stretch from downtown Los Angeles in on the left side to Hollywood and Century City on the right, with the Pacific Ocean in the background. Yesterday, all we could see was murky skylines that didn’t even show up in these photos.

Our friend took a panoramic of us at the top with all the letters visible.

On the way back, I looked up to the ridge from where we took the panoramic shot just a few minutes before. You get a sense of how many tourists there are. We must have walked past hundreds on our way up and down. It’s a very popular destination, of course, with the mountain being in the middle of the Los Angeles sprawl with more than 10 million population within a couple of hours of driving.

We finally hiked the Hollywood sign. Check!

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