Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Hollywood Sign Hike

A few months back my partner and I decided we wanted to go up to the Hollywood Sign. It turned out that Huell Howser had just had his special episode up there where he had permission to go pass the fence to get directly under the sign. For normal people you have to stay behind the fence.

We decided to start the hike off at Griffith Observatory. I had been there recently and wanted to back again. To get to the sign you do not have to start there. You can get there from Beachwood Blvd., then park, but you still have to hike up the road that goes behind it. The whole point of us doing it from the observatory was to make it a fun exercise hike. I think it only took us about 2 1/2 hours to go up and back that morning. We really were not going that fast because we knew we had to wait until the observatory opened that morning anyways. No need to hurry just to wait around for it to open. Here is a picture on the trail we took looking back at it.

In all honestly, this hike is just walking a fire road after fire road. It is not the most scenic area to go to. It is nice if you just want to find a place close to the city to hike around. There were a bunch of Koreans out that morning for some sort of jogging race around this area of Griffith Park. The morning was really hazy, but not smog hazy, just a real foggy look that early morning. The trails took as back and forth so we curved around rather than head straight to it. We got to a short hill called Mt. Chapel that when we got there was covered with fog. There we took a quick break.

We moved down and on to Mt. Lee where the Hollywood Sign resides. The road took us back behind it. We looked down and saw the Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills Memorial Park. I told my hiking partner that I thought I saw Lee Van Cleef down there. Lots of celebrities gravesites are there. We turned another corner and saw the fence. We were there.
I went the extra distance to get to the top of the benchmark indicating Mt. Lee and took these pictures looking down on the sign.

We spent some time there and then just head back down, but decided to get a good shot at the end of Beechwood.

I see the sign all the time in the news and in movies. There area I shot this was nearby a place used in the movie Mullholland Drive; the mysterious cowboy scene. Some of the areas I walked down to get to this point definitely looked familar from that movie. I can imagine something going on at night where someone would have to meet someone up near the sign. The whole end of the hike could have a real suspenseful feeling to it. Then again, I thought Leslie Nielson was up here somewhere in the first Naked Gun movie, "And where the hell was I?"

So, the hike was nice. I am not sure I really have the motivation to do it again. This is one of those hikes you do once, and you probably don't really want to do again unless you are just doing it for a bit of excercise. I have excercise hikes I do closer to home anyways. There is another nearby hike from the cemetery side that I would not mind doing.

The Official Hollywood Sign Site