HIKE TO: Wisdom Tree, Cahuenga Peak, and Hollywood Sign TRAILHEAD: Wonder View Trail MILES: 3 miles out and back TIME: 2 hr DATE I WENT: 6/13/15 DIFFICULTY: moderate-strenuous ELEVATION: 1,700 ft ELEVATION GAIN: 800 ft HIKE PERMIT: no PARKING: residential street parking LOCATION: Southern California
If I haven’t said it already, I think this is one of my favorite spots to catch the sunset in Los Angeles. It’s a great hike to hit after work during the Spring and Summer months, or just for a quick morning workout. A roundtrip hike to the Wisdom Tree is only 1.5 miles but a roundtrip hike to the Hollywood Sign, from the Wisdom Tree hiking trail (not Griffith Park), is 3 miles round trip.
The trail is much less crowded and offers more of a hike experience as you’re not hiking a wide fire road with half of LA the whole time. This trail is narrow and packs in a lot of adventure for the short distance. You pass by Cahuenga Peak and Hugh Hefner’s Overlook on the way.
On Wednesday [6.13.15] after work, I came here to catch the day’s end as the moon rises. It took us maybe 25 minutes to get to the tree from the wonder view trailhead, and another 30 minutes to make our way through Cahuenga Peak and to the Hollywood sign. Parking directions can be found here.
The hike to the Wisdom Tree is short and steep, roughly 0.75 miles in 800 ft of elevation gain. The dirt trail can be a little loose with rocks so be careful on your steps. Spring is my favorite time to visit this trail because there actually are a small variety of wildflowers along this super short hike!
Once you reach the Wisdom Tree, the trail continues in the opposite direction toward the Hollywood Sign which you can actually see on the hike up. The trail is relatively flat for the 0.75 miles to reach the back of the Hollywood Sign, but it does go up and down a little bit. The dirt trail is narrow but follows a wide ridge and passes Cahuenga Peak and Hugh Hefner Overlook just before you connect with the common Hollywood Sign Hike on Mt Lee Rd. The hike to Hugh Hefner Overlook may also be known as the Allen Getty Ridge Trail.
We did not stay at the sign very long since we wanted to be back at the tree for the actual sunset, so we snapped a quick pic and left. We made it back to the tree just before 8 pm and just in time for the sun’s descent. There was nobody else there for the most part so we climbed around the tree to enjoy the view. This older man came by later on and was telling me about his hiking adventures to summits and Mt. Whitney which I hoped to hike for the first time two months from this hike, so that was nice to hear about.
We headed down before it was completely dark this time, and as we got to the bottom, the night sky was up and the friendly strangers showed us Jupiter and Venus in the sky — it was pretty cool since you could see it clearly through the naked eye (my picture doesn’t do it justice.)