Earlier this year, my family and I did our first hike to the Hollywood sign. We did it via The Tree of Life Trail, which I documented here. It was a very challenging trail. When we reached the Hollywood sign at the top of the trail, we noticed a paved path that people were walking to reach the sign, which looked like a much easier path than the one we took. A little research revealed this was the Hollyridge Trail. We decided to try the hike this past weekend. Here is a look at the experience and how it compared to The Tree of Life Trail.
UPDATE (4/9/17): As of 4/18/2017, the city is closing gate access to the Hollyridge Trail from North Beachwood Drive which I reference below due to a court order (click here for link to full text of court order). According to the article linked here, the city is recommending people use the access point on Canyon Drive to access the Hollyridge Trail. It is two blocks east of Beachwood off of Franklin with a parking lot, sidewalk, and facilities. If you are interested and not afraid of a more challenging hike to the Hollywood sign, you can attempt the Tree of Life trail which I documented here.
As expected, the hike is much easier, but still challenging. While the elevation change is about the same, the path is wide from bottom to top. Unlike the Tree of Life Trail, at no point do you feel like you could fall over the edge, and you don’t need to navigate any large boulders or significant drops and climbs. In other words, it’s a straight forward walk from bottom-to-top and back down. It also contains numerous lookout points along the way which make for some great photo-ops. The photos opportunities were especially plentiful on our hike due to the cloud cover, which is not a routine occurrence on a Southern California afternoon.
One point to note is that there is a section of the path (~1/3 of a mile) where it is shared with horses. It makes for an obstacle course avoiding the manure piles, and it also makes for an unpleasant odor. The trail is still worth doing, just be prepared.
As I did with the Tree of Life Trail, here is the hike profile and the time it took us to complete the hike from top to bottom.
We did the hike on a Sunday afternoon, which also created other challenges. The first was with parking. As you can imagine, the Hollyridge Trail is a popular hike. To get to the trail head, you park along North Beachwood Drive. Given the amount of traffic, especially on the weekend, the local residents have gotten a little defensive about people parking in front of their houses given the narrow nature of the street at the trail entrance. To be honest, I totally get it. Therefore, if you are going to the trail on the weekend, you’ll want to start looking for parking around the 2800 block of North Beachwood. You’ll know you’re close when you pass the Beachwood Cafe and Beachwood Market. You’ll want to start looking for street parking shortly after you pass this area. It’s not an awful walk from this location, but it is uphill and will add about an extra mile to mile-and-a-half to the trip. Unfortunately, once you get past the 3000 block, you need a local permit for parking, so unless you’re a local or know one, you won’t be able to park there.
The second challenge was weather related. It can get quite warm in the afternoon, which can make the hike even more challenging than normal. I would suggest doing the hike earlier in the morning, if possible.
After having done both hikes, which would I do again? I would do either, although I prefer the challenge of The Tree of Life Trail over the Hollyridge Trail. The elevation change makes the Hollyridge Trail a challenge, but I like the adventure that goes with The Tree of Life Trail. So, if you’re looking for a moderately strenuous, uphill walk, take the Hollyridge Trail. If you want to be challenged, attempt The Tree of Life.
If you’re interested in a more detailed account of our adventure on The Tree of Life Trail, you can read about it here.