As seen in the Nobody Hikes in L.A. Guidebook!
Text and photography copyright 2010 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities. The author does not take any responsibility for injuries sustained during hikes or walks on the trails described here. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.
Mt Hollywood Trail
- Location: Griffith Park. From highway 101, take Sunset Boulevard and head east to Western. Take a left on Western, which becomes Los Feliz after 0.4 miles. Take an immediate left onto Fern Dell Road, drive 2 miles, during which it becomes Warren Canyon Road, and take a right on West Observatory Road. Drive 0.3 miles to the parking lot and begin at the Charlie Turner trailhead across from the observatory. From Interstate 5, take the Los Feliz exit, drive 2.4 miles and take a right onto Fern Dell. Parking is $4 per hour.
- Agency: Griffith Park
- Distance: 2.5 miles
- Elevation gain: 500 feet
- Difficulty Rating: PG
- Suggested time: 1.5 hours
- Best season: All year but hot in the summer
- USGS topo map: “Hollywood”
- More information: Griffith Park information here; detailed park map here
- Rating: 5
I’m back in L.A. now, and it doesn’t get much more L.A. than Griffith Park and Mt. Hollywood. First things first: Mt. Hollywood is NOT where the famous sign is located, but you can see it from the summit. Depending on how clear the day is, you can see a lot of other things too: the famous observatory, downtown L.A., the front country of the San Gabriel Mountains, the Santa Anas, the Santa Monica Mountains and the ocean. I’m sure that I’m not bursting any bubbles when I say that Mt. Hollywood is not the place to go for wilderness solitude (if there are any such places in Griffith Park, Mt. Hollywood isn’t it) but it’s a quick, convenient workout that offers a wide variety of views. Also, the park’s proximity to L.A. means you will likely retain cell phone service–in case of an emergency, such as your agent calling you.
The trail heads north from the parking lot, hooks up with the trail from Fern Dell, and crosses a bridge over the road. From there, it switches back up the side of the hill (a few other dirt trails branch off, but the main route is obvious), climbing steadily. A little over a mile from the trailhead, you arrive at a junction. This is the beginning of a small loop that circles the summit. If you go left, climb some more and make a right at the next junction to reach the top. If you head right, you arrive at Dante’s View, meet the Hogsback Trail and take a left, then another left.
From the summit, you get nice views of the San Fernando Valley and the San Gabriels to the north, and L.A. and the ocean to the south. The Hollywood sign is off to the left, and to the east, we…oh, hang on, that’s my agent. I’ll have to get back to you. Let’s do lunch.