The Hollywood sign is an internationally recognized icon that emerged during the Golden Age of Hollywood and the rise of American cinema. By hiking up the Tree of Life Trail, you will have the opportunity to gaze over the surrounding lands in all directions and enjoy more of the region’s topography with fewer pedestrians.
Parking for the trail is along Lake Hollywood Drive. From here, walk uphill to the intersection and continue east on Wonder View Drive. After passing several houses and manicured flower gardens, the road changes to dirt and crosses under the power lines to the Tree of Life Trail. Take the right path to ascend Burbank Peak and reach the Tree of Wisdom. From here, you can see Warner Bros Studios down the mountain to the north and Hollywood Reservoir to the south.
Continue east to Cahuenga Peak, which is the highest in the Hollywood area at 1,820 feet. On your way, look south to the skyscrapers that form the city skyline and southwest to the Pacific Ocean. Continue east on the trail and you will see the Hollywood sign emerge in front of you along with the City of Los Angeles Central Communications Facility.
Near the top you will intersect the paved Mount Lee Drive and finish your final elevation gain with the tourists.
The Hollywood sign was erected in 1923 to advertise the new housing development and originally read Hollywoodland. Around 4,000 light bulbs studded the letters, and it would flash the “Holly,” “wood,” and “land” portions in sequence throughout the night as moving search lights lit the sky. While the original sign was only intended to last a year and a half, it continued to mark Mount Lee until it was replaced and scaled back to its current form in 1978. The modification was intended to reflect the land rather than the housing development, and it was purchased by the Public Land Trust in 2009.
An alternate approach to the sign leaves from east near Hollyridge Drive. On your visit, be sure to remain in the tourist area behind the fencing; those who breach the fence will trigger surveillance systems, local police, and risk a $1000 fine.