I was inspired by the suggestion of the California State Parks Foundation to explore more California state parks in the new year and then I came across the First Day Hikes initiative… So I suggested a family hike for New Years Day. We made plans to explore Griffith Park and the Hollywood Sign, an area I’ve been eager to hike for a long time. (It turns out the First Day Hikes initiative is actually guided hikes in certain state parks around the country, but hey, we were going out to a park in our state on the first day of the year, good enough for us.)
I had two goals for us on our outing — to make it above and behind the Hollywood Sign and also to find possibly five geocaches that I’d picked out in the area. Neither goal was accomplished unfortunately, but it was still a fantastic outing, one that I want to try again now that I know the lay of the land.
Due to some unexpected errands that needed to be done, we didn’t get to the area until about 3 o’clock and so we only had a couple of hours before it would start getting dark. Also, the route description I had picked out to reach the sign was not as straight forward to follow as I had thought (and I didn’t have a map nor service to use my map app). Somehow we missed “… rising steeply, the stone walls of a Norman chateau” and so we did not “turn right at the front gates of this structure and find the beginning of the fire road”. Instead we ended up walking the residential streets in the canyon, which in and of itself wasn’t too bad since there were some interesting houses and great views of the city and the sign, but it wasn’t what I had intended. Also, this whole part (all uphill) we could have done by car. Finally, we arrived at a spot that seemed like it was the end of the road and as close to the Hollywood Sign as we would get. Many people were here taking photos of the sign. So we did, too.
But then we noticed a dirt road continuing on around the corner and according to my geocaching map, it seemed like we could follow it and make it back to the car without having to backtrack through the residential streets.
Now the outing turned into more of what I had expected—dirt road, natural surroundings, views, other hikers… And it was dusk so the light was beautiful, too.
We arrived at the path that leads to the Hollywood Sign and also passed some of the geocaching spots, but since it was getting dark we sadly had to skip it all. We successfully made our way back to the car by a route we should have taken to begin with.
At least we have it all figured out for next time now—where to park, where to hike, geocaches to find—and can guarantee a fun and rewarding outing to the Hollywood Sign. I even went back to the route description we had planned to follow and used google maps to see where we went wrong and what that hike should have looked like. I have that one figured out, too, and it should be a beauty with fabulous views of the Hollywood Reservoir and a visit to some of the area’s secret public staircases to boot.
Who would like to join me on a future hike to the Hollywood Sign? : )