The Hollywood Sign is a world-famous icon of the urban glamor of Los Angeles and the magic of the movies. It was built in 1923 to advertise the exclusive Hollywoodland housing development in the creative mecca of the Hollywood Hills. You might be surprised, then, to discover that the hike to it is rugged, wild, and moderately challenging, with an ascent of over 1000 feet in just over three miles. Plan to spend half a day on this six-mile round-trip hike.
And did you know that Los Angeles is the only megacity in the world other than Mumbai that has big cats living in the city limits? This is also famously the territory of P-22, the Mount Lee mountain lion. Don't worry, though—you and your canine companion are unlikely to run into this elusive cat, who has survived in this urban environment precisely because he knows how to avoid humans. Other urban wildlife you might spot as you hike through the chaparral include mule deer, coyotes, bobcats, and rattlesnakes.
Hollywood Sign hikes have met with some controversy recently due to local concerns about people parking and hiking through residential neighborhoods. This hiking route takes place within the boundaries of Griffith Park and avoids any controversy. The Bronson Canyon parking lot is still free, though Griffith Park has started charging $4 fees for parking at the main observatory lot. It's also a good choice for another reason: a fun optional detour before you start your hike to the sign is to head a little south to Bronson Cave, the Batcave from the 1960s television series Batman.
You'll start on Canyon Road for this hike and continue to the Brush Canyon Trail and finally to the Mulholland Fire Road and Mount Lee Drive. In addition to wildlife and wildflowers, expect to see lots of other people and their pups on this popular route. Keep in mind that if you want direct views of the Hollywood Sign, you'll need to hike up to Mt. Hollywood; this trail offers oblique views and ends behind the sign. (A gate blocks access to the famous white letters.) You'll also be able to see Lake Hollywood, the San Gabriel mountains, and the Los Angeles skyline from the trail's end at the peak of Mount Lee.
Take plenty of selfies up here—you and your pup will want to show your fans that you've made it to Hollywood.