Three Ways to Visit the Hollywood Icon
On the days that I walk around my Hollywood-area neighborhood, I often get stopped by friendly visitors asking how to get to the Hollywood sign.
Hollywood, and Los Angeles in general, is a city that knows how to keep its secrets, and for some reason there aren’t a lot of clear signs and guides to help visitors find the best place to take pictures of its most famous landmark.
This article presents three easy guides to getting to three excellent vantage points to enjoy the Hollywood sign, take photos, and see the lovely Hollywood land neighborhood and the shimmering Hollywood Reservoir Lake on the way to the sign.
Although the first method of seeing the Hollywood sign is discussed on tourist websites, the second two methods aren’t easy to find online. That’s why your guide, Guy Doggi, is here to help you get off the beaten path and avoid the heavy crowds. These last two methods require a trip by car up into the Hollywood Hills, but they are definitely worth the few extra minutes of driving.
I’ve included photos taken with Guy Doggi to show you what sort of photos you can look forward to taking, especially if you visit Hollywood on a typical June day.
Local authorities have banned hiking close to the Hollywood sign; these are the methods that will get you the closest, best view as you stay within the bounds of the law.
Method One: Sunset Ranch
The easiest but most crowded way to take a photo of the Hollywood sign
If you are starting off at Hollywood and Vine, a well-known central landmark, you are going to:
- Head East on Hollywood Boulevard
- Turn Left on Gower Street
- Turn Right on Franklin Avenue
- Turn Left on Beachwood Drive. This map shows your trip all the way up to Ledgewood Drive.
- Continue on Beachwood past Ledgewood Drive for a total of 1.7 miles. If you are in a big hurry, you can stop along the side of the road just North of Glen Green street and take photos there, but the sign is far away and the only way to take a photo is by standing in the middle of the street which isn’t safe. Nevertheless, if you are visiting in the summer, you’ll see people risking their lives in the middle of the street to capture a quick photo.
- Beachwood ends at a dirt road entering Griffith Park. There’s a parking lot for Sunset Ranch, where you can go on a horseback tour.
- There’s a path to the right; walk up the dusty trail and to your right, you’ll see this view of the sign:
Now, on to Method Two.
Method Two: Hidden Lake View
See the sign and the reservoir
This is mine and Guy Doggi’s favorite view because not only can you see the sign, but this trip takes you up through one of the most beautiful neighborhoods we’ve ever seen and ends at a stunning view of the Hollywood Reservoir Lake. To get there you’ll need a car and some patience with the winding, hilly roads.
- From Beachwood Drive and Franklin avenue (see previous map for getting to this starting point), head North on Beachwood drive.
- Turn Left on Scenic Avenue
- Right on Vista Del Mar Avenue
- Bear Right to stay on Vista Del Mar Avenue
- Left on Temple Hill Drive
- Right on Vasanta Way
- Right on Creston Drive
- Right on Durand Drive.
- Park along the street on Durand, walk up a few paces, and notice a dirt path on the left next to a beautiful home with the house number 2869. Here's a photo of the house and the entry to the dirt path on the left:
- Take that dirt path and walk down the hill to a clearing that looks out over the lake. This is a stunning view of the Hollywood Reservoir, also known as the Hollywood Lake. There is no swimming or boating here because it’s the area’s clean water source. Here's Guy Doggi posing with the lake:
- Walk down a bit more, then look up and to the right, and you’ll see this view of our beloved sign:
Method Three: Up Close and Personal
This guide will take you in for the closest possible front-view of the Hollywood sign.
- Take Beachwood north, just like you see on the first map under method number one.
- Instead of continuing straight, after 1.3 miles on Beachwood, turn left on Ledgewood Drive.
- Left on Deronda and then an immediate right to get back on Ledgewood.
- Right on Mulholland Highway.
- You’ll this sign:
You’ll notice that it’s an imposing sign, but we aren’t planning to hike to the Hollywood sign, and the “no trespassing” refers to the forested area near the sign. It’s particularly confusing because it just so happens that near this very sign is an entrance to a hiking trail through the majestic Griffith Park. It’s perfectly allowed to hike there, but there are no signs pointing to the place where hikers are supposed enter. Thank goodness you have me and Guy Doggi to guide you through.
6. After turning right at the sign, you’ll quickly see the Hollywood Sign looming large on your left. You can leave your car idling and jump out to take quick photos, or you can find street parking on a nearby street some distance from the “no parking” sign. You're here!
Experiment with climbing the small path to your right to get some height and a good angle for photos.
Here’s what your photos will look like:
Except of course, you won’t have the adorable Guy Doggi in your photos. Sad for you.
Just behind you from this angle, you’ll see a wide hiking trail. This will take you into Griffith park where you can hike for hours. In fact, all three of these methods will lead you to some great walking trails, so consider bringing your sneakers or hiking boots to really enjoy the area.
Say hi to the locals.
I hope you enjoy using this Insider’s Guide to visiting the Hollywood sign. Please remember to wear sunscreen, drink lots of water, and have a great time. The locals, many of whom are celebrities, actors, directors, and other wealthy citizens, do enjoy their privacy and quiet, but are friendly when out walking around the area, so feel free to say hello.