Hiking to the Wisdom Tree and Hollywood Sign
Hiking to the Hollywood Sign is something that most visitors want to do when they come to Los Angeles. While there are many ways to get there, one of the shortest (but steepest) is the hike to the Wisdom Tree on Burbank Peak and over the Getty Ridge Trail to the back of the Hollywood Sign. This 3.5-mile trail provides a good leg burning workout, and at the same time, some fantastic views of Los Angeles in the distance. Here is all the information if you want to take this hike.
- 3.5 miles round trip
- 850 feet of elevation
- Parking on Lake Hollywood Drive (be sure to read signs)
- This information was from my hikes in 2017 and 2019
- Read more about my favorite spots in Los Angeles here
Parking for the hike is located north of Lake Hollywood Reservoir along the street on Lake Hollywood Drive. There is a decent amount of parking here, but it does fill up quickly on the weekend, so make sure to get there early. Also, there is no overnight parking here, so know that going in and be sure to read the posted signs as they can change. The trail starts on Wonder View Drive, but you can’t park there, so you will need to walk up to it.
From Lake Hollywood Drive, head up Wonder View Drive, by walking along the cement road for about a tenth of a mile.
Eventually, the road will end at the base of the hill, which is where the official trail for this hike begins.
From here, it is about a half mile up to Burbank Peak and the Wisdom Tree. This half mile is no joke though, as it is steep and uneven.
The trail quickly gains elevation and gives impressive views of downtown LA and the Griffith Observatory in the distance.
You can also see the cell towers on the top of Mt. Lee, but you can’t see the Hollywood Sign from here.
As the trail continues to bend along switchbacks, the Wisdom Tree will come into view, which is the first point of interest.
The Wisdom Tree can be seen from all over Los Angeles, and it is an unofficial landmark in the city.
This tree was one of the only trees to survive the 2007 fires, and people now make the hike to it to look out over the city and to write dreams and ideas in the journals that sit in the trunk below the tree.
There is also an American flag that has been added to the summit and which a lot of people take photos of as well.
From here, the trail goes back along the Aileen Getty Ridge Trail over to Mt. Lee with a decent amount of uphill and downhill along the way.
There are great views along this portion of the trail, and eventually, you will reach the second point of interest Cahuenga Peak.
This peak is a small dirt patch with a 360-degree view of the surrounding area and a small plaque marking the summit.
From there, the trail heads back down the hill, and it is pretty steep as well before making one last final ascent to an overlook that allows you to see the Hollywood Sign peaking out.
There are two plaques in this area, one for Hugh Hefner and another for Aileen Getty. They both were influential in purchasing the land and donating it for public use instead of development, which is why you can hike here today.
The Hollywood Sign
The trail then heads down to the cement road, and you will walk up it to the summit of Mt Lee.
Here is where the gate is that blocks access to the actual letters, and there are cameras all over so I would not try to get close.
There is a small hill in the back where you can get the best view looking down on the sign, and there is a bench to relax at on the hill as well. This is the best viewpoint for the sign and Downtown Los Angeles in the distance.
After taking it all in, you will want to head back the way you came along the Aileen Getty Ridge Trail, past the Wisdom Tree, and back down the hill. Here is a video I made of the trail as well.
All in all, this is a great Los Angeles area hike that is short, steep, and takes you to some awesome spots. Check it out and let me know what you think in the comments.