Ferndell Trail to the Hollywood Sign is a 12.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Los Angeles, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Trailhead: Fern Dell Nature Trail, Los Angeles, CA 90068 Parking is located along Fern Dell Drive. There is a parking lot further up the Drive (coordinates: 34.116283, -118.306879). Of course you can also start this hike by parking near the observatory. Parking does get crowded during weekends, come early. In terms of public transportation, DASH Hollywood (Stops @ Western Ave/Franklin Ave. and has connection with the Red Line. However, note that you will have to hike Western Ave's incline to Ferndell Nature Trail) and the Observatory (Weekend Only) Shuttle (best bet and has connection to the Red Line) offer nearby stops to this hike.
I have seen various hikes on Alltrails getting to the sign. However, being that I am a fan of Ferndell Park, I decided to make my own trail beginning at Ferndell all the way to the Hollywood Sign. It took me about 4 hours to complete the out and back odyssey (I added the Mt. Hollywood Summit to the hike map although I did not go there). Anyway, I strongly recommend to come prepared with food, a lot of water (30oz+) and snacks. Also make sure to come with bug repellent and sunscreen.
I began my hike at the base in Ferndell Nature Trail. The trail offers nice forest views of a small creek that runs year round. As the trail ends I continued to Western Canyon Trail which begins at the first switchback of Western Canyon Rd. The trail is easy for the most part until you get near the Observatory Road where it has a small incline. Cross the road to the other side and it is a small incline that will slow you down if you are out of shape. Cross the bridge and there is an optional trail shortcut on the right. That trail runs the steep mountainside via a helpful drainage pipe for support (definitely for experienced hikers only; downhill you have to scramble). For noobs, the trail goes left for you (after the bridge). It will have a switchback until it crosses path with the shortcut trail.
Continue straight (shortcut users go right) and you reach an oasis pit stop: Dante's View. Here is a good area to refill your water bottles or have your snacks. From Dante's View you make a left on the T - Trail Junction. You soon reach another junction. If you go left you end up at Mount Hollywood Summit. I skipped Mt. Hollywood and decided to go on the trail furthest right. I continue on this trail before reaching yet another junction. If you go left you go towards the Mt. Bell Summit Trail. I decided to skip it and go right. The trail eventually reaches an Eastern Griffith Park Trail on the right. Here you can see wonderful views of Pasadena, Burbank and Mt. Wilson. The trail eventually reaches another junction, here you go left and it has a nice incline to the trail that connected with Mt. Bell.
Once you reach the bottom there will be a junction. If you go right you will be going to the Mt. Chapel Summit. If you go left, you will hit the Mulholland Drive Trail which in a short walk will reach the Mulholland Hwy Trail on the right. From here, there are a ton of switchbacks until you eventually reach Mt Lee Drive (you will know it is Mt Lee Dr. because it is paved). Go right and it will take you to the final stretch. The final stretch has an incline to a switchback to another incline. The road then makes a left to the final steep incline to the summit. It took a lot out of me because I came ill prepared. I had to take a break at the memorial switchback at the top (There is another trail that begins at the memorial switchback towards Cahuenga Peak but it is recommended for experienced hikers).
Reaching the top is a Rocky moment. Definitely worth the hike.