We’re back with a new date, time, and location!
Help us collect data during the walk! Download the walk audit checklist here.
Additionally (or instead of collecting written data) please take photos of your experience while walking to the Hollywood Sign. Upload them to social media, add a location to tag them to a specific place (whenever possible), and use #hollywoodsignsummit so we can collect them later. This includes taking lots of selfies with the Sign to help figure out where people can get the best photo!
It’s one of the most well-known places in the world. But much has changed since the first HOLLYWOODLAND letters were first erected over Beachwood Canyon in 1923, including the transformation of the surrounding neighborhood into a world-famous tourism destination. Over the past few years, technology has made it easier and more alluring to reach the sign, leading to disputes between hikers, residents, tourists, historians, preservationists, public space proponents, pedestrian advocates, and government officials over how the sign and the spaces around it should be used.
This free, public walk through Griffith Park to the Hollywood Sign will bring together members of the local architecture, design, and planning community to tour some of the popular viewing areas as well as paths to the sign. Guest speakers, including local residents, will meet us along the way to highlight several public access challenges and share their ideas for how access might be improved. At the end of the hike, at noon, we’ll meet at a shaded spot for a discussion and miniature charrette to prototype some basic ideas for improving access to the sign and Griffith Park in general.
Details on the walk: The walk is a fairly strenuous out-and-back hike starting at the Mt. Hollywood trailhead just north of the Griffith Observatory parking lot. We will be walking for about 3.5 hours. Please bring water and be prepared for rocky, dusty terrain. There are bathrooms and water available near the starting location. Map below; here is the exact spot where we’ll be meeting on Google Maps.
Join a feeder walk: NEW! One of the goals for the walk is to give Council District 4 feedback on how easy it is to get to the park. We’ll have several feeder walks led by local walking leaders to help test access points to the park. These will function like walk audits to point out challenges and opportunities during the charrette. Keep in mind that these are independently led and curated walks which add time and mileage to the original walk. Each have specific details and meet points so visit the links to read more and RSVP via Facebook. For any walk you can use transit from the Observatory to get back to the start.
- Hollywood/Western and Western Canyon: Modern Hiker founder Casey Schreiner will lead a walk up through Fern Dell and Western Canyon to test transit-accessible access and additional viewpoints for the Sign. Meet at the Hollywood/Western Red Line station at 9:30 am. This one-hour walk will meet up with the group at the Observatory.
- Barnsdall Park to Griffith Park: Bob Inman, author of Finding Los Angeles By Foot, will lead a walk from Barnsdall that will connect the two parks via sidewalks, public stairways and park trails. Meet at 8:30 am at Starbucks at 1700 N. Vermont in Los Feliz, a 1/4 mile north of the Sunset/Vermont Red Line station. This two-hour demanding walk will meet up with the group at the Observatory.
- Hollywood/Vine to Hollywood Sign: Mehmet Berker from Los Angeles Walks will lead this walk from Hollywood Boulevard to evaluate a pedestrian connection from the tourist center of downtown Hollywood to the Sign. Meet at the Hollywood/Vine Red Line station at 10:00 am. This 90-minute walk will meet up with the group near the Sign.
- Atwater, LA River, and Griffith Park: Colleen Corcoran and Daveed Kapoor from Los Angeles Walks will explore connectivity from the LA River and discuss a future greenbelt to Elysian Park. Meet at Tacos Villa Corona at 3185 Glendale Avenue in Atwater Village at at 8:45 am (arrive at 8:00 to indulge in a delicious breakfast burrito first). This three-hour demanding walk will meet up with the group near the Sign and will return to Atwater after the charrette via a different route.
- If you’d like to lead a walk from a location that we missed, email us at email@example.com
Stay for the charrette: When we return to the Observatory area we will have a discussion and charrette in the picnic area at the far north end of the Observatory parking lot. We’ll have snacks.
Where to meet: Please meet at the Mt. Hollywood trailhead just north of the Griffith Observatory parking lot (map is below). If you choose to drive, enter on Western and you’ll be directed up to a parking area on Western near the Observatory—there will be plenty of signIf you’re taking a feeder walk, these will start earlier to arrive at the Mt. Hollywood trailhead in time to meet the group.
Heavy rain the day or night before cancels the walk. All our events are usually rain or shine, however, it’s not good for the park to take so many people on very wet, or potentially washed-out trails. Check here by 7am the morning of the walk if you’re unsure.
Many thanks to Joe Salaices, Superintendent of Griffith Park, and the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks for hosting and welcoming this walk.
Here’s some background about the Sign’s history and current issues around access which might be useful to read or have for reference during the walk and discussion:
- History of the Hollywood Sign from the Hollywood Sign Trust
- Huell Howser’s Hollywood Sign episode
- The History Channel: 9 Things You Might Not Know About the Hollywood Sign
- The 2005 proposal for a new Master Plan for Griffith Park (which was not implemented)
- Under the Hollywood Sign, a documentary about the cultural importance of the Sign
- A guide to the many public staircases in Beachwood Canyon
- Hollywoodland Gifted Park, a blog arguing for a special ecological zone designation around the Sign
- Statement from Friends of Griffith Park against reopening the Mt. Hollywood Drive viewpoint to cars
- On the Road’s Top of Mt. Lee public art installation around the Sign
- Modern Hiker’s guide to hiking the Hollywood Sign via Bronson Canyon
- Los Angeles Times article about the lawsuit against the city to close Beachwood access
- A story from the Hollywood Reporter about tourism issues around the Sign
- Curbed LA’s ongoing coverage of access issues
This is the second event in our series Making LA: Connect, Flourish, Thrive, Prosper. Following up on our 2014 Making LA conference, these events will look at issues in the areas of Transportation, Water, Density and Community with the goal of bringing designer- and artist-driven solutions to those issues to life. In this way, we hope to turn the original Making LA conference into a long-term call-to-action and turn in-person inspiration into four real-world solutions for the city. Making LA is made possible by support from the National Endowment for the Arts. Want to sponsor an upcoming event? Learn more.