The Hollywood Sign: Directions, Best Views and Hikes

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    Best Views of the Hollywood Sign

    Hollywood Sign Iconic View
    ••• Hollywood Sign Iconic View. ©2006 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

    The Hollywood Sign first went up in 1923. It was an advertisement for a real estate development in Beachwood Canyon called "Hollywoodland." The last four letters were removed in 1945.

    The Hollywood Sign is not lighted at night. It faces south and is visible during daylight hours only.

    Reasons to See the Hollywood Sign

    Everyone wants to see the Hollywood Sign when they visit Los Angeles and it's easy to do. In fact, it would be hard to avoid seeing it as you drive around in the Hollywood area. That may be all you want.

    If you want to see the Hollywood Sign from all angles, browse through these best shots. Seeing this iconic sign is certainly one of the top things to do in Hollywood. Best of all, all you need to do is walk or drive there so it's a top choice among people trying to save money during their trip to LA.

    How To View the Hollywood Sign

    Years ago, a hardy hiker could make it to the base of the Hollywood Sign. Nowadays, it's fenced in to keep out vandals and...MORE curious visitors, guarded by a high-tech alarm system. If you try to get all the way to its base, you will be arrested. If you want to do something else instead of sitting around waiting to get bailed out, you'll have to be content to see it from around town instead.

    If you go to see the Hollywood sign by automobile, you'll find signs at the entrance to many streets. They may say there's no access to the Hollywood sign or that the street is closed. That's strictly true, but a bit misleading. Just because you can't access the sign doesn't necessarily mean you can't see it.

    Keep going to get some ideas for where to view the Hollywood Sign.

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  • 02 of 11

    Hiking for a View of the Hollywood Sign

    Hollywood Sign from Near Deronda Drive
    ••• Hollywood Sign from Near Deronda Drive. ©2012 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

    There's an easy hike that takes you close to sign. That's where I was when I took this photo. 

    Park legally and don't be THAT person who blocks a driveway. Not only is it rude, but local homeowners know (and will use) the phone number for the tow truck that will take your vehicle away.

    There are no public restrooms on this route. Take care of "business" before you set out.

    • Choose 3390 Deronda Drive, Los Angeles as your destination.
    • Follow N Beachwood Drive uphill past the Beachwood Market.
    • Ignore signs that say there's no Hollywood Sign access. Also, ignore signs saying the road is closed. Technically, it is closed (it's a dead end), but that doesn't mean you can't get to your destination.
    • Turn left onto Ledgewood Drive.
    • When you reach a T-junction at Rodgerton Drive, turn right.
    • Almost immediately, turn left onto Deronda Drive.
    • When Deronda reaches a dead end, you'll see a metal gate on the right. Find a legal place to park nearby.
    • Look for an arched...MORE opening in the wall near the gate and go through the opening.
    • From there, it's pretty easy to figure out what to do. Walk a short distance uphill to two very nice spots for viewing the sign.
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  • 03 of 11

    Hiking Behind the Hollywood Sign

    Los Angeles view from Mount Lee in Hollywood Hills
    ••• Hollywood Sign from Above. WIN-Initiative / Getty Images

     

    The photographer who took this photo probably got to this location above the Hollywood Sign using the Hollyridge Trail. Unfortunately for you, the gate used to access the trail from Beachwood Drive closed permanently to hikers in April, 2017.

     

    You can still get to the vista point above the sign using the Brush Canyon Trail, but it's not as easy as it once was and it's a 6.5-mile trek out and back. It isn't a walk you should try without good directions, which you can find at Hikespeak.

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  • 04 of 11

    Hollywood Sign from the Hollywood Reservoir

    Hollywood Sign and the Hollywood Reservoir
    ••• Hollywood Sign and the Hollywood Reservoir. ©2016 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

    The 3.5-mile walking loop around the Hollywood Reservoir may be one of the best short walks in LA. The mostly flat trail presents views of the lake and the iconic Hollywood sign along its entire length. The path curves through tree-shaded areas broken by open vistas. You might see a deer or hawk soaring overhead. Or get a view of Hollywood through the trees.

    The most common directions I've seen online work just fine to get there, going on Barham Blvd to Lake Hollywood Drive. Instead, I like to navigate to 6451 Weidlake Drive and follow the road past that address to a small parking area near a gate. Start by walking across the beautiful 1924 Mulholland Dam and double back when you get half tired (if you can figure out when that is).

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  • 05 of 11

    Hollywood Sign from the Griffith Park Observatory

    James Dean Bust and Hollywood Sign from Griffith Observatory
    ••• James Dean Bust and Hollywood Sign from Griffith Observatory. ©2011 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

    Look northwest from the observatory parking lot. There's a great view of the James Dean bust with the Hollywood sign in the background there. You'll find a lot more to do at that location in the Griffith Park Observatory Guide.

    This bust of James Dean sits outside the observatory, where the ending scenes of Dean's film Rebel Without a Cause were shot. The clear view of the Hollywood sign behind it is a particularly poignant shot. 

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  • 06 of 11

    Hollywood Sign From Beachwood Canyon

    Hollywood Sign From Beachwood Canyon
    ••• Hollywood Sign From Beachwood Canyon. ©2006 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

    The view is nice from the intersection of Beachwood and Glen Holly. A block or so further up the street you can get a clear view between the houses.

    This view is taken from the Beachwood Canyon subdivision that the sign was originally built to advertise, back when it still said "Hollywoodland." The view is nice from the intersection of Beachwood and Glen Holly. A block or so further up the street, you can get a clear view between the houses.

    You can also get an unbeatable view from the Hollywood Boulevard shopping complex, which frames several nice views of the Hollywood Sign. Find out more about this spot in the Hollywood and Highland guide

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  • 07 of 11

    Hollywood Sign from Hollywood Forever Cemetery

    Hollywood Sign Hollywood Sign from Hollywood Forever Cemetery
    ••• Hollywood Sign Hollywood Sign from Hollywood Forever Cemetery. ©2011 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

    For a particularly poignant view, go just inside the cemetery gate and look behind you. Hollywood Forever is at 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., next door to Paramount Studios.

    Seeing the Hollywood Sign from Hollywood Forever Cemetery makes you wonder if the stars of yesteryear buried there get a permanent view of the word that defined their careers. You can even take a tour of the cemetery.

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  • 08 of 11

    Hollywood SIgn from Hollyhock House

    Hollywood Sign from Hollyhock House
    ••• Hollywood Sign from Hollyhock House. ©2011 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

    When Frank Lloyd Wright designed Hollyhock House for patron of the arts Aline Barnsdall, he broke one of his cardinal rules that a house should never sit on top of a hill. Given the vistas from Barnsdall's land, it's easy to see why. We like this view of the Hollywood Sign because it shows what the houses and surrounding hills look like.

    Hollyhock House is at 4800 Hollywood Boulevard. Use this guide to find out more about it.

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  • 09 of 11

    Hollywood Sign from Franklin Avenue at Gower

    Hollywood Sign From Gower Gulch
    ••• Hollywood Sign From Gower Gulch. ©2006 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

    In the heyday of silent films was this area called "Gower Gulch," a popular hangout for unemployed movie cowboys. The view is nice from here. However, it's not good for a photograph because of utility wires running across the street. If you want to go, set your GPS to 1900 N. Gower St.

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  • 10 of 11

    Hollywood Sign from Hollywood at Highland

    Hollywood and Highland Center, Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood.
    ••• Hollywood Sign from Hollywood and Highland. Richard Cummins / Getty Images

     

    This Hollywood Boulevard shopping complex frames several nice views of the Hollywood Sign. Behind the main courtyard in front of Starbucks, you can get a nice "I was there" shot with you and your friends on an oversized casting couch. Find out more about this spot in the Hollywood and Highland guide.

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  • 11 of 11

    Hollywood Sign from Mulholland Drive Overlook

    Hollywood Sign from the Mulholland Drive Overlook
    ••• Hollywood Sign from the Mulholland Drive Overlook. Mark Williamson / Getty Images

    From Mulholland Drive, you can see the Hollywood Sign and most of the Los Angeles area on a clear day. In general, this view will be better in winter.

    Don't be confused by this route, which sounds like it might connect to the Hollywood Reservoir route. Mulholland Highway and Mulholland Drive are not the same.

    Cahuenga Blvd parallels US Hwy 101. Near Highland Ave, you'll find an intersection with Mulholland Drive. Drive uphill until you see a small overlook and parking lot on the left. Walk up the steps to get the panoramic view​​