The iconic Hollywood sign set in the hills overlooking Los Angeles is famous the world over and is synonymous with the movie industry and the glitz and glamour it symbolizes, the place where dreams are made and anything is possible.
It is not possible to drive all the way up to the Hollywood Sign. Situated only a short drive from the center of Los Angeles, you can reach the sign on one of the many trails that weave through the hills above the city, enjoying spectacular views on the way.
The sign was originally created to promote property sales in the area and has undergone changes over the years to become the major attraction it is today. Continue reading to discover more about how to see the sign, along with other interesting things to see and do along the way.
Can you drive up to the Hollywood Sign?
The famous Hollywood sign is located on Mount Lee, in the Santa Monica Mountains overlooking Los Angeles on the beautiful southwest coast of California.
While it is not possible to drive directly to the sign, it is possible to get close and then continue on foot taking the trail that leads behind the sign, upon which you'll be greeted with a glorious vista of Los Angeles in all its glory.
How to drive up to the Hollywood Sign
|Starting point||Distance||Driving Time|
|Universal Studios||6 miles||20 minutes|
|Griffith Observatory||6 miles||25 minutes|
|Beverly Hills||8 miles||45 minutes|
The Hollywood Sign can be reached from several destinations and trails that all offer amazing views over Los Angeles as you make your way to the summit of Mount Lee and the famous 50-foot-high sign.
The closest you can drive to the sign is to take the route that winds up Deronda Drive from Hollywoodland before you are met with gates to signify you can drive no further and have to make the journey on foot up Mount Lee Drive as it twists and turns all the way to the top, passing the radio transmitter before reaching the Hollywood Sign.
Driving up to the Hollywood Sign from the Griffith Observatory
Griffith Observatory sits to the southeast of the Hollywood sign, just a short distance away, and has fantastic views over the city and of the sign itself.
The 6-mile drive takes around 25 minutes and as you leave the Observatory, the Sign is visible before the road descends towards Los Angeles and comes back into view as you ascend Mount Lee as the road winds its way up Deronda Drive.
The short and straightforward route begins by heading past the Greek Theater, many of the Griffith Park Trails, and the Roosevelt Golf Course as it takes you down North Vermont Avenue onto Los Feliz Boulevard.
Shortly after passing the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, a right turn leads onto North Beachwood Drive heading towards Hollywoodland and the Hollywoodland Stairs Trail before joining Deronda Drive and heading up towards the Sign.
Driving up to the Hollywood Sign from Universal Studios
Universal Studios is an ever-popular attraction, and home to one of the oldest film studios in Hollywood, with its amazing theme park full of thrilling rides and entertainment for all the family.
The 5-and-a-half mile drive from the studios to Deronda Drive takes 20 minutes and begins heading south on Cahuenga Boulevard passing the Daniel Overlook above the Hollywood Bowl, and the Hollywood Reservoir before heading east to Hollywood Dell.
Continuing north along North Beachwood Drive, the route continues past the Hollywood Sculpture Garden before passing Hollywoodland Stairs and joining Deronda Drive for the ascent up the lower part of Mount Lee.
Reaching the Hollywood Sign from Beverly Hills
Beverley Hills in downtown LA is located around 8 miles from the Hollywood Sign and the 45-minute journey takes you through the heart of the city, allowing you to take in some Iconic sights along the way.
The route takes you along the infamous Santa Monica Boulevard, as it heads past the Pink Wall and Sunset Strip, and onwards past Plummer Park.
Continuing past Paramount Pictures, an excellent stop off for a Studio Tour, the route takes you past the Hollywood Palladium and the Hollywood Walk of Fame, before following our other routes along North Beachwood Drive, passing the Monastery of Angels before reaching Deronda Drive.
The best viewing spot for the Hollywood Sign
You can view the Hollywood Sign from numerous locations across the city, but the best view is to be found at Griffith Park, where there is an official viewpoint for the Sign near the observatory. Crowds here can be heavy so making the trip in the morning is recommended.
The observatory itself is an impressive sight and from here there are excellent views out over the city and across the park.
Another excellent place to view the Hollywood sign is Lake Hollywood Park, and there is unrestricted daytime parking available for those that choose this option. The view of the sign is excellent from here and if you make an early start to get a sight of the sign at sunrise, you may find you have the park to yourself.
Can you park near the Hollywood Sign
If you are taking the most direct route to the Sign, via Mount Lee Drive, then it can be difficult to find a suitable place to park near the trail.
Parking on Deronda Drive is not permissible between 8am - 6pm on weekends and holidays, and traffic cones line the route as local residents try to ensure visitors don't park in unsuitable places and block their driveways and take their parking places.
Parking is only permissible on one side of the street to ensure traffic can pass comfortably without obstruction.
Approaching the Hollywood Sign from other destinations in the area does offer more parking opportunities. Driving to Griffith Park and taking one of the trails to the Sign will allow you to park for free.
Likewise, you can choose to park freely at Lake Hollywood Drive and take the Tree of Life Trail to Cahuenga Peak, the highest in the area at 1,820 feet, before continuing eastwards to the Hollywood Sign.
Things you need to know about driving up to the Hollywood Sign:
- The Hollywood sign is popular with visitors all year round. The best views are with a clear sky at sunrise or sunset.
- If you are accessing the sign via Deronda Drive, the pedestrian gate is locked between sunset and sunrise
- Do be careful where you park, be courteous to locals, and do not block driveways. Many a visitor has fallen foul of the residents and had their vehicle towed away.
- Griffith Park covers over 4,000 acres, with several trails of differing length and difficulty leading to the 50-foot high Hollywood sign. These offer shaded forests and opportunities for picnic stops, with unparalleled views over Los Angeles.
- If you don't want to hike to the sign, there are excellent views from the Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood Lake area.
- Remember it is illegal to actually touch the sign no matter how tempted you may be to do so. The sign is fenced off and monitored 24 hours a day, so you can get close enough for a memorable selfie, but not close enough to touch it.
Things to see once you reach the Hollywood Sign
A hike to the top of Mount Lee to the Hollywood sign is a great thing to do when visiting Los Angeles, and it is worth exploring the many trails and attractions around the sign to make a great trip even better.
Here are our recommendations for some of the best things to do when visiting Hollywood:
- Griffith Observatory - Explore the universe and enjoy a live show in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium, one of the finest in the world, and observe the wonders of the sky from the many telescopes available. Visit on a clear night to make the most of this fantastic experience.
- Griffith Park - One of the largest parks in the US, with so much to see and do within its 4,210 acres. From hiking, cycling, and pony trekking, to the LA zoo and the Travel Town Museum, and its historic Merry-Go-Round.
- Autry Museum - Situated in Griffith Park, the Museum of the American West, houses an incredible collection of Native American art and cultural items.
- Hollywood Walk of Fame - Take a trip down the iconic walk of fame where over 2,000 celebrity stars now line the sidewalk, including many legends of the acting world as well as musicians and other prominent people too.
- Universal Studios - Set in the shadows of the Hollywood sign, with its popular theme park embracing popular movies and tv shows, with some world-famous rides and many interesting and exciting things to do for all the family.
A trip to the Hollywood Sign makes for an excellent day trip at any time of year, incorporating stunning scenery and the chance to spot a celebrity along the way.
The hike to one of the world's most famous landmarks not only offers an incredible selfie opportunity but gives some of the best views of Los Angeles and beyond that will live long in the memory.