Hike of Fame

Hike to the Hollywood Sign via Brush Canyon Trail

Hollywood Sign from behind on a hiking trail in Los Angeles

Ready to hike and brush up on some LA lore? All signs point to Brush Canyon Trail and Mount Lee in Griffith Park. The 6-mile out-and-back Brush Canyon Trail to the summit of Mount Lee is a blockbuster with 1,100 feet of elevation gain, glamorous city views, and the closest and most unique perspective of those giant white letters. 

View of the Hollywood sign from behind on a hiking trail in Los Angeles

Two hikers on a trail in Los Angeles overlooking the city in Griffith Park

Hikers behind the Hollywood Sign overlooking Los Angeles on a hiking trail in Griffith Park

Park along the street, in a small paved lot, or a large dirt lot at the terminus of Canyon Drive at the western edge of Griffith Park. Depending on the crowds, you may have to add up to 1 mile (round trip) to your hike along the road (and we recommend adding an extra half-mile detour to visit the nearby Bronson Caves just south of the Brush Canyon trailhead; note: the Bronson Caves are currently fenced off, but you can still admire them from the outside). Otherwise, check the map just past the gate and begin ascending on Brush Canyon Trail, climbing more than 600 feet in just over a mile while passing under giant oaks and sycamores.

Hiker at a labyrinth in Griffith Park near Bronson Caves in Los Angeles

The vistas to the south of Hollywood and beyond get better as you continue climbing. At your first junction, take a left onto the Mulholland Trail (to the right will take you to Mount Chapel). Walking along the canyon walls, you may be sharing the trail with a guided horse-tour from the nearby stables. At the junction with Hollyridge Trail, stay right (the horses will head home to the left), continuing on the Mulholland Trail (signs will also consistently guide you). Here you get a great view of neighboring Mount Hollywood and the Griffith Observatory, in addition to the downtown skyline and the Pacific Ocean on clear days. 

Hiker taking a photo of the Los Angeles city scenery from behind the famous Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles

At the next junction, take a right onto Mount Lee Drive, following signs for the summit. If you head left here, you can get another nice view of the sign from below; but you’re here to get to the top! This paved path gives you a final leg-busting workout and rewards with new, northern views—an epic panorama over Burbank framed by the Santa Susana, Verdugo, and San Gabriel Mountains. Soon you’ll pass a plaque and spur trail for Cahuenga Peak if you seek additional mileage. Otherwise, continue wrapping around the summit along the fence overlooking the famous sign.

Three guys taking a selife and smiling and giving the thumbs up from behind the famous Hollywood Sign

You’ll notice love/friendship locks on the fence—and though you’ll be distracted by first glimpses of the sign, continue up to the actual summit (1,708 feet) past the radio towers for the best angle. In addition to a truly special perspective of the iconic sign, you also have your best city views yet, including the particularly welcoming addition of Lake Hollywood, a giant reservoir that has a loop trail with another great angle of the sign, which has been here since 1923. It’s hard to leave this spot, and we recommend hiking near sunset, to get golden skies on your descent. 

To get to the Brush Canyon trailhead and parking, take the I-5 to the Los Feliz Blvd. exit and head west. After 2.4 miles, Los Feliz Blvd. becomes Western Ave. and veers left for 0.2 mile. Here, take a right onto Franklin Ave. After 0.4 mile take a right onto Canyon Dr., which takes you 1.4 miles to the trailhead. Alternatively, take the US-101 to Franklin Ave. Dog-friendly!

Story and photos by Matt Pawlik, @mattitudehikes

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. Hiker on the SCA trail in Marin Headlands with view of the Golden Gate Bridge

    Headlands Over Heels

    People come from all over the world to get a glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge. Get a dramatic and novel view of the bridge without all the people on this moderate 6-mile hike in the Marin Headlands.

    View
  2. Hiker at Healdsburg Ridge Open Space Preserve hiking amid lupine wildflowers

    Hidden Wilds of Healdsburg

    When you arrive at Healdsburg Ridge Open Space Preserve, you may wonder what could possibly be tucked behind a subdivision. But within minutes of hiking in this 155-acre preserve, the beauty reveals itself: majestic oak trees, wetland, spring wildflowers, and wowing views of the Mayacama Mountains and Russian River.

    View
  3. Hiker on a trail with beautiful green hills and wildflowers on the grasses at Carr Ranch in Contra Costa County

    Carr Ranch

    Can’t decide between an epic hike or a relaxing nature walk? The 8.3-mile Carr Ranch Trail loop in the East Bay’s Contra Costa County is the perfect hike for rugged adventurers with a soft side.

    View
  4. Two women at the entrance of the Lavender Labyrinth at Bees N Blooms in Santa Rosa

    Lavender Labyrinth

    Labyrinths are meditative meanders. Add fragrant organic lavender and you're at Bees N Blooms at the foot of Taylor Mountain near Santa Rosa, experiencing their “ancient pathway of peace” and more.

    View

Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Urban Hike to the Shakespeare Bridge in LA

    Shakespeare Bridge + Secret Garden

    Romeo, Romeo, we all know how this goes, but do you know how to go to the Shakespeare Bridge and secret gardens? We’ve got the online do-it-yourself hiking route for you.

    View
  2. Hiker overlooking Bear Gulch Reservoir at Pinnacles National Park near Monterey

    Pinnacles of Spring

    Why hike at Pinnacles National Park? Spring's a beautiful time of year here. And you might spy the magnificent California condor soaring while you gain soaring views from the High Peaks Trail.

    View
  3. Hike Mount Tamalpais into Muir Woods

    Muir Woods Through the Backdoor

    A backdoor entrance into Muir Woods? Hike a tranquil trail that starts in Mount Tamalpais State Park and quietly leads into Muir Woods, letting you avoid the busyness of the main parking area.

    View
  4. Hikers by the reservoir at Triunfo Creek Park near Thousand Oaks

    Triumphant in Triunfo

    Go on a hike with a peaceful reservoir, charming meadows, and beautiful spring blooms at Triunfo Creek Park near Thousand Oaks.

    View