CaliforniaLos AngelesTravel

The Hollywood Sign Hike, do in two hours for $0.50

The Hollywood sign hike is one of the top things to do in Los Angeles, and we got up there without expensive tour guides for $0.50 each. It won’t cost much more if you’re staying further afield in Los Angeles such as Santa Monica or Venice. We stayed in one of the best hostels in Los Angeles on Hollywood Boulevard that has great transport connections. You could even hike to the Hollywood sign for free from Hollywood Boulevard if you fancy a 2 mile uphill walk prior to the Hollywood sign trail. We opted for the bus and we’re glad we did, the hike is pretty tough in Californian weather. Here’s how to do it:

1) Get to a bus stop on the LADOT DASH bus route
Look for the DASH bus stop signs around Hollywood, we hopped on at Hollywood/Vine.
Make sure the destination on the sign is ‘BEACHWOOD CANYON‘. You will be exiting the bus at the last stop, Beachwood Canyon, also known as ‘Hollywoodland‘. Pay 0.50c to the driver for a one way ticket.

DASH bus stop to Hollywood sign, Hollywood, Los Angeles, United States USA
DASH bus stop in Hollywood

2) Start your walk to the trail head up North Beachwood Drive.
Keep right and stay on Beachwood at all possible turning options. Keep going until for around 10-15 minutes until you arrive at a gate that ends any vehicle access.

North Beachwood Drive, walk to Hollywood sign, Los Angeles, USA
North Beachwood Canyon Drive
Walk through the gate and you have started the official Hollywood sign trail.
Gate to the Hollywood Sign Trail, Los Angeles, USA
Gate to the Hollywood Sign Trail
This is the full route to the Hollywood sign on foot and our recommended route to get back down.

  • Dark green indicates walking up a road
  • Light green up a dirt path
  • Dark orange is walking back down on a road

3) Horses left and hikers right
Unless you want to take the horseback route around the Hollywood Hills from the Sunset Ranch, stick to the right hand path where you will see a sign for ‘HORSES (left) and HIKERS (right)’. We took some amazing pictures here of people riding horses.

Horseback to the Hollywood sign, Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles, USA
Horseback to the Hollywood sign
This will be the point where you are now on an ‘off road’ path. Keep your eye out for snakes and lions, stay central to the path where possible. Keep walking up hill.
Rattlesnakes warning sign, Hollywood Hills hike to Hollywood sign, Los Angeles, California
Look out for wildlife on the trail

4) Back on the road
After plenty of photo opportunities, you will eventually arrive at a tarmac road again. Take a right turn here and follow the road straight, this will take you to all the way to the Hollywood sign.

5) When you see this you are very close

Memorial close to the Hollywood Sign, Hiking the Hollywood Sign, Los Angeles, California, USA
Memorial close to the Hollywood Sign
Keep walking up the winding hill.

6) Here it is, the moment you have worked so hard for
All of a sudden, you’ll see this fence. Though you can’t get a fantastic picture while you are standing on the road, fear not, for there is more.

First view of the Hollywood Sign, fence, Hollywood Sign hike, Los Angeles, USA
First view of the Hollywood Sign
Turn around and look up, you will more than likely see people on the top of a small dirt hill. This hill is accessible by walking to the end of the road by the satellite mast and up a steep dirt path, be careful as it isn’t very tourist friendly.

Best viewpoint for Hollywood Sign, Los Angeles, California
Behind the Hollywood Sign

7) Congratulations, you now have one of the best views in Los Angeles.
Selfie behind the Hollywood sign, hiking, Los Angeles, California

8) Finding other top-secret viewpoints
After capturing a million photographs, the tourists started to arrive just as we were leaving at around noon. We headed back down the hill and spotted what appeared to be a hidden path up. This was located by the memorial in point 5 on the left hand side if you are walking down the hill.

Side view up close to Hollywood Sign, Los Angeles, California
View from the ‘secret place’

Once again, be careful of the snakes and lions, we didn’t see any but this area is a little grassy and isolated. Head through the trees and up to the top of the hill for a beautifully unspoiled view.

9) Go back down a different route
The one rule we tried to stick to the most on our round the world trip was to never walk the same path twice. By taking a different route back down from the sign, and by taking Deronda and the famous Mulholland Drive, you won’t be disappointed.

From the sign, walk back down the hill you came and at the first point you have to choose to go left or right, go right. Left would take you back the route you came. Walk downhill for approximately 15 minutes and you will eventually be able to turn around and see the sign from the front with a spectacular close up view by the residential housing on Deronda.

Best front view of the Hollywood sign hike, California, USA
Best view of the Hollywood Sign

Walk through the gates at Deronda and head downhill. Your aim is to get to the bottom of the hill back to the bus stop, weave in and out of the streets for full exposure of the fancy residences of Hollywood. There are some fantastic houses to peer into. We discussed who might live there on our way down and there was one house in particular that we fell in love with.

Garden of Oz, Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA
The Garden of Oz in the Hollywood Hills
See if you can spot the ‘Garden of Oz‘ on your way down, we’d love to meet whoever owns this place and salute them for their creativity.

10) Back to the Boulevard
You’ll eventually arrive back at North Beachwood Canyon Drive on foot where you will be able to catch the bus back to Hollywood Boulevard from the stop on the opposite side of the road.

DASH bus stop back to Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles
Bus stop back to Hollywood

This bus stop is beside an outdoor public library which is definitely worth checking out before you hop aboard the DASH.

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hollywood sign hike

Did we miss anything?
We have derived this list from personal experience after spending Hiking the Hollywood sign ourselves during our stay in Los Angeles. We’d love to evolve this post and we invite you to leave any suggestions in the comments below.

We hope you enjoy the Hollywood sign hike, let us know what you enjoyed the most.

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  1. Hi,
    Amazing write up with great pictures. V’ll be visiting LA from Dubai in July 2016 and will be definitely visiting the Hollywood sign. Just have a few questions which I hope you may be able to provide the answers with :
    1. The first gate shown in the above pic, is it open 24 hours a day or does it have any specific opening timings? Is anyone and everyone allowed to go through this gate?
    2. We will be visiting with our 10 yr old daughter, so do you think this hike will be too tiring for her? She is pretty active though and loves an adventure (or do we just see the sign from the front side by visiting the Canyon lake drive viewing point?)
    3. We have a flight to catch from LA intl airport at 7pm the same day and we check out from our hotel at 11AM in the morning (from Anaheim). Do you think it will be too tiring to drive from Anaheim to Hollywood, take the hike, visit Holywood and Highland, see the walk of fame and Madame Tussauds and head to the airport directly for our flight? Is it practically doable ?
    Your suggestions would be very much appreciate.
    Thanks a lot. Once again, lovely pics…..

    1. Hi Mayur,

      Thank you so much for taking time to read our post, you’re one of our first ever visitors!
      We would love to help you plan your trip, here are our suggestions and tips:

      1) The opening times of the gate, we believe, is sunrise until sunset. There are no security personnel at the gate, anybody and everybody is allowed in as it is a public hike. Cars are not permitted, the gate will only be open to people on foot.
      We do recommend to hike early in the morning as it is a lot cooler before noon and July may be very hot. It makes the hike easier and it is much quieter so you can enjoy more ‘unspoiled’ views.
      2) We saw lots of children when we did the hike so if your daughter is energetic, she will love it!
      3) We don’t know much about Anaheim, we never got to visit but Google tells us it is a 45 minute drive to the Griffith Observatory where you can take a different hike to the sign. This route might be easier for you if you are short on time and there may be more parking available, type in your Anaheim address and ‘Hollywood Sign’ on Google maps as the destination and it will show you another walking route. In total, we would recommend 2-3 hours for the hike depending on your pace, we were around 2 hours 15 mins with photo stops and that was up to the sign and back down. For the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Madam Tussauds, we suggest another 2 hours. The Walk of Fame can be done in around 15 mins depending on how much you want to see. While you’re there, definitely take a look at the famous hand prints and footprints at the Chinese Theater!

      Some general tips for the hike are to take lots of water, energy snacks, sunscreen and hats, a good camera and keep your eye out for snakes, we never saw a snake but our friend did when she took the hike the day before us. The traffic in LA is usually always busy so always take that into account.

      We hope you have an amazing time, do let us know if you need any more info, we’re always here to help.

      Best wishes,

  2. The Beachwood Gate used to access this trail is closed by court order as of 4/18/17. Please use the Bronson Canyon / Brush Canyon Trail at 3200 Canyon Drive instead.

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