Los Angeles: Hiking to the Hollywood sign

By: Dave Gunner

September 12, 2016

Hollywood sign

Our cabin crew and pilots spend a lot of time ‘downroute’ and are a great source of ideas for days out at our destinations. After a flight from London to LA, we joined four of our cabin crew on their day off as they trekked through Griffith Park up to the famous Hollywood Sign. It was a glorious day in Los Angeles, and the scenery certainly didn’t disappoint. Nor did the feeling of achievement as we stood behind that sign that you’ve seen a million times on the tv and cinema screen.

What is the Hollywood Sign?

Originally built as an estate agent’s sign in 1923, its aim was to draw attention to a new housing development called Hollywoodland; a town built to house the rapidly growing film industry which had moved to LA in 1915 after a Chicago film company relocated to take advantage of LA’s better weather. You’ll pass through the original gate on the walk up to the sign. It was never designed to stay for long, and it wasn’t until much later that it came to symbolise Tinseltown and the movie industry. The sign has run into disrepair several times over the years, before being rejuvenated and restored. The current letters were installed in 1978 and are 14 metres tall.

tarting point for the hike up to the Hollywood sign

Getting to the starting point of the hike takes a bit of planning but you can find out all you need to know at the Hollywood Sign website. A number of tour companies will take you there, but you can also park in the streets below the sign. There are plenty of parking restrictions, however – and you may have to start, as we did, several kilometres from the beginning of the trail. But don’t worry, the walk takes you through beautiful leafy streets where you can admire some outstanding LA houses that wouldn’t be out of place on Grand Designs. It also gives you the opportunity to admire the sign from afar before beginning the climb.

The Hollywood Hills

The Hollywood Hills are home to a number of different hikes: we blogged about some of them here. The hike to the Hollywood sign is quite challenging, but the less fit can always stop before the final steep climb and still get really nice views. The trail is open from sunrise to sunset every day and it’s best to set off early before the sun gets too high. One essential is to stay hydrated. It can get very hot on the walk so make sure you take plenty of water. Plenty of rest stops are available for enjoying the beauty of the canyon and the glorious views across the city. There’s also a fantastic array of animal and plant life to spot on the way with 40 species of mammals, 200 species of birds and 50 species of butterflies calling the park home.

Cabin Crew at the Hollywood Sign

Cabin Crew Carly, Lynne, Beckie and Hollie on their day off downroute.

At the end awaits a close-up look at the world famous Hollywood sign. You’ve seen it so many times in magazines and on screens, and here you are standing behind it, looking out over the whole of LA. A truly magical moment and you’ll come away with some great memories and photos, not to mention a better understanding of the geography of LA and the surrounding areas. You’ll definitely have done your steps for the day (we recorded 15,000), earning a proper LA lunch and guilt-free afternoon by the pool in the process.

Hollywood sign from behind

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Dave Gunner

Dave is the co-editor of Ruby, the Virgin Atlantic Blog. He has worked at Virgin Atlantic for over two decades. In that time he has amassed some truly epic memories but never lost his fascination with the airline world. Dave's on a mission to bring you some great insights into our people, planes and planet.

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