One of the most iconic historic landmarks in the United States is the Hollywood Sign just outside Los Angeles, California. People from all over the world travel to Hollywood and take pictures of the sign. If you are traveling to the Hollywood area and want to experience the history and magic of the Hollywood Sign, I’ve got some things you need to know!
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Things to Know about the Hollywood Sign
Hollywood is more than the name of a United States city; it represents the dream of millions who come to the area to start a career or get their big break. Just watch an episode of popular talent shows or listen to any aspiring artist and they will say something about going to Hollywood to pursue their dreams. Ever since the early 1920’s when the first version of the Hollywood sign appeared as “HollywoodLand”, people have been fascinated by the massive white letters on the side of the mountain.
But getting the best pictures and experiencing the Hollywood Sign takes a little bit of planning. We recently had the opportunity to tour the sign on a special press tour and have some tips to share with you.
You can hike, but not drive.
There are no driving tours or routes to the Hollywood Sign. You can get to the lookout above the sign by hiking on the approved trails. The sign is accessible by foot only. Note that though there is a road that may look like it takes you to the sign, this is a residential road and only approved cars may pass. You should honor the residents who call that road home and not try to drive.
For an up-close and personal view of the Hollywood sign, you will need to put on your hiking shoes, fill up a bottle of water and hike to the top on one of the three approved hiking trails.
See the hiking trail guide here.
Get Both Views
Once you decide to hike to the Hollywood Sign, remember that there are two distinct viewpoints. You can stop at the halfway point for the closest view of the full word. Then you keep going to the top of the hike so you can look down at the letters from the top of the 1,708-foot summit of Mt. Lee.
The hike is steep and you will want plenty of water. Don’t start the hike without being prepared.
Want to know the best time to view the city skyline? Go the day after a rain for the clearest view of Los Angeles and the surrounding area.
The view from above the Hollywood Sign is amazing. As you come along side of the letters, there is a fence keeping visitors from crossing over and getting too close to the letters.
Once you top the summit, you feel like you are on top of the world. Take your time to rest after your hike, take lots of pictures and soak in the views on both sides of the mountain. Tip: Take a map of the Los Angeles area with you so you can recognize the different areas you are looking at. On a clear day, you may be able to see all the way to the Pacific Ocean or see DisneyLand!
If you have room in your backpack, take along your favorite binoculars.
Respect the park
Remember that the Hollywood Sign and hiking trails are part of the Griffith Park System in Santa Monica Mountains. If you finish your water or eat a snack, remember to pick up your trash and leave nothing behind but footprints. Be on the lookout for animals that call the park and mountains home like the resident mountain lion, P-22, which usually is spotted after dark when the park is closed.
Take your fun photos
On the way down the mountain, make sure you stop at the viewing point underneath the letters and take more pictures. Will you do the famous jump in front of the letters, or pinch them between your fingers? We tried but didn’t get the perfect shot. But we sure had fun trying!
So since we missed out on the famous jump picture at the real sign, we’ll enjoy this memory from our visit to the Hollywood Wax Museum in Pigeon Forge.
Have you ever seen the Hollywood Sign? What is your favorite place to see the sign? Did you hike to the top or enjoy the view from the Griffith Observatory? I’d love to hear!