For something a little different over the holiday break, my family and I decided to hike up to the Hollywood sign above the Hollywood Hills. After doing a little research before heading out, we decided to take the Tree of Life Trail starting at the Wonder View Trail Head.
We parked on Lake Hollywood Drive below the trail head. After making the short hike up the hill, we veered right. From there we trekked up the hill on Wonder View Drive for about a quarter-mile before reaching the trail head. After passing around the yellow entrance gate, we proceeded along a wide gravel path for another tenth of a mile or so before the real adventure began. The trail quickly narrowed, and we found ourselves on a steep mountain trail that led us high into the Hollywood Hills above the city.
The trail is very challenging. It’s rocky and uneven with steep drops over the side. The drops are steep enough that I’m not sure you’d be able to catch yourself if you slipped over the side. There’s a good chance you could slide 50-100 feet down the hill. The trail also has a few points where you have to make a 2-3 foot jump or climb. It’s great if you like to hike, but it could be intimidating if it’s your first time hiking. In other words, you’ll want to be prepared with the proper clothing and footwear. Also, if you’re doing the hike in warm weather, I’d strongly suggest bringing along plenty of water. You’ll need it.
I tracked the hike using Runkeeper, and I’ve included the path and profiles below to give you an idea of the elevation change and length. The round trip distance from the trail head to the sign is only about 2.5 miles, but our total hike was longer based on where we parked. However, given how steep and rocky the trail is, don’t expect to make great time. It could easily take 1.5 to 2 hours to complete the hike, so you’ll want to factor that in if you start late in the day. You don’t want to get caught up on the hill if it gets dark.
To say I was blown away by the hike is an understatement. It was incredible with amazing views of Hollywood, Downtown Los Angeles, and Burbank from numerous points along the trail. What’s even more incredible is that a trail of this type is so easily accessible while being just minutes from the city. Yes, it’s a challenging hike, but if you’re up for it, I highly recommend it.
If you’re interested in a slightly easier but still moderately challenging trail that leads you to the same spot behind the Hollywood sign, check out my post on the Hollyridge Trail.