There's no place else in the world quite like LA. It has its own charm, its own style. But most of all, it's a monster: a concrete behemoth that's long ago swallowed up the entire Southern California coast. You may think the first thing this creature devoured was nature, replacing the color green with a gray smoggy haze. You're only partly right.
There's a beautiful green reprieve in the middle of all that cement and silicone, and perhaps most remarkably, it's the centerpiece of Hollywood itself: Griffith Park.
Griffith Park is home to the Hollywood Hills and the unmistakable Hollywood Sign, which gave tinsel town its name. Being one to escape urban sprawl whenever possible, I made the park my first stop.
There are several roads that wind around the Hollywood Hills. I found several scenic overlooks on Mt. Hollywood Drive, a road which may or may not have been open to traffic (the signs were a bit vague, but I didn't let that stop me!).
The weather made the views less than spectacular. But on a clear night, you'd probably see streetlights stretching out for miles.
While my trip brought me to LA in late May, the weather pattern known by locals as the "June Gloom" had already set in... and as you can see, my pictures paid the price.
You'll find a good view of the Hollywood sign by driving up to the Griffith Observatory, which as of May, 2004, is closed for renovation. You can still park there, though, and set out on the Mt. Hollywood Trail.
The trail switches back as it climbs. Although you climb higher,
you never get much closer to the sign. This side-view is about as
good as it gets.
Keep climbing the Mt. Hollywood Trail and you'll reach Dante's View, an excellent point for picture taking, when the weather is clear. You can download a detailed map of Griffith Park's trails and roads here.
As you climb the Mt. Hollywood Trail, turn around and check out the view of the Griffith Observatory, with downtown Los Angeles in the background. It was so dreary during my visit, you can just barely make out the city skyline in the background.
I wasn't content with the view from the Mt. Hollywood Trail, so I drove out of Griffith Park. Although almost every road in this area has signs posted that say "No Access to Hollywood Sign", there are plenty of streets that provide a good view.
I took Beachwood Drive up into the hills. At the end of the road there's a trail, and just a few parking spots. If you climb the trail, you'll find another view of the Hollywood sign, but it's not spectacular.
Heading back down Beachwood Drive, I made a right, and continued to wind around the hillside. From time to time, I'd find a road that looks promising, and drive up it to the end. On one of those roads is where I snapped this picture.
This really is the best way to explore. Just take random roads, and take your time winding your way around the hills. After turning on one road after another, you'll probably end up with several close encounters with the sign.
While tracking down the best view of the sign, you'll also drive by some incredibly expensive houses, which are precariously perched on the steep mountainside. Be careful not to violate any "No Trespassing" signs, since I imagine these folks take their privacy rather seriously.
In order to better manage your comments, TakeMyTrip now uses Facebook to allow you to leave comments for other visitors to this page, and your friends. Please use the form above (you might need to log into your Facebook account first). If you have a message specifically meant for the website creator, send an email to feedback takemytrip.com. And don't forget to LIKE TakeMyTrip.com's Facebook page!
Road Trip Index |
Attractions By State:
AZ - CA -
CO - FL -
GA - ID -
NC - NM
NV - OH - OR - PA - SC - SD - TN - TX - UT - VA - WA - WV - WY
Recommended Reading - Bookstore | Search This Site | Support This Site
How to Use This Site | About Me | Links | Legal Stuff | Sitemap
All content and photographs © 2008 TakeMyTrip.com / Daniel Woodrum
If you wish to use images from this page, please follow the rules listed here.