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Atypical Tourists: Hike to the Hollywood Sign

Danica Ceballos, Jessica Harrington |
February 6, 2015 | 12:31 p.m. PST



On Jan. 5, the Beachwood Canyon Trail, commonly referred to as the Hollyridge Trail,  leading to the Hollywood Sign reopened after being closed since March. It now has a brand new $206,000 gate, which forbids tourists from driving up to the Hollywood Sign and going up the trail after hours. Although the gate reads “Stop No Access to Hollywood Sign,” hikers can go through between 5 a.m. to sunset to access the sign through the trails.

Los Angeles City Councilmember Tom LaBonge was one of the people working on the new gate project. The goal of the gate was to get rid of nighttime trespassers to keep the area safer and cut down on traffic for residents in the area; however, as a tourist, the gate only causes more confusion.

“It’s says that you can’t see the sign, which you can see the sign,” said LaBonge. “I’m going to ask that the park department take that down.” He added that the entrance for pedestrians on the left side of the gate is “always open.”

City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks could not be reached before our deadline.

Hikers can walk up different trails to get a picture behind the 45-foot sign or in front of it. Parking, though, is a different story.

During the week, tourists can pretty much park anywhere on Beachwood Drive. But, parking is restricted on holidays and weekends. There are a few secret streets off Beachwood Drive (Hollyridge Drive and Rodgerton Drive) that don’t have any signs posted about restricted parking. Tourists, park at your own risk.

The gate is also supposed to keep the area safer at night. “That gate, which is somewhat of a Berlin Wall, is to really stop nighttime activities,” explained LaBonge. “It was made for people who would go up there and drink beer and smoke cigarettes.”

Just passed the gate is Sunset Ranch, where visitors can ride horses through the trails and up to the sign. The manager said that due to legal reasons, he cannot comment on the new gate.

LaBonge recommends that visitors hike to the Hollywood Sign from the Griffith Park trails. Though these hikes are longer, according to the Councilman, they’re “more formal.”

Formalities include signs, which the trail up Beachwood Drive is lacking. Unless you’re a regular or researched before getting to the trails, forks in the road could lead tourists all through the Hollywood Hills. During our hike, other visitors asked us for directions to the top.

“There’s still things we’ve got to work out,” admitted LaBonge.

The gate and the trails, in general, do have some downsides, but the Beachwood Canyon Trail is an easy, short hike for tourists that want a great view of the infamous Hollywood sign.


Contact Danica Ceballos and Jessica Harrington here or follow them on Twitter here.




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