Griffith Park Classic
Hike the Griffith Park Classic Fern Dell to Mount Hollywood
Explore LA county’s largest park on a 5.25-mile instant classic lollipop loop with landmark locales and hidden havens. The Fern Dell to Mount Hollywood hike in Griffith Park features the famous observatory, hidden gardens, and an awesome view of the Hollywood Sign.
Park and start your hike at the Fern Dell Nature “Museum” Trailhead (at Fern Dell Drive and Black Oak Drive). This sycamore-shaded path meanders along a quaint stream and a mixture of exotic ferns and coastal redwoods. After half a mile you’ll connect to the Observatory Trail junction; choose the East Observatory Trail for the ascent, 1,100 feet. The views and prime photo spots of the Griffith Observatory are constant, along with glimpses of Mount Lee and the Hollywood Sign to the west (look for the bench with skyline views just before the final stretch to the observatory).
From the Griffith grounds, find the Charlie Turner Trailhead at the north end of the parking lot. Pass through the Berlin Forest, a pine sanctuary dedicated to LA’s Germanic sister city. Cross the bridge and stay left, followed by a right at the next junction and a left after that. As you continue on this gradually ascending path, ignore steep spur trail shortcuts to the Mount Hollywood peak. The reward for your patience: Dante’s View, a garden oasis formed and maintained by a local volunteer in the 1960s with, you guessed it, outstanding vistas.
Just past Dante’s View, make two lefts and finish the last uphill stretch to the summit of Mount Hollywood (1,625 feet) and cinematic views of the park and the cityscape beyond. With the observatory to the south and the Hollywood Sign to the west, this site is truly a classic. Tip: When you’re ready to head back, start down the way you came, but take a left to hike the west route around the mountaintop.
It’s a less knee-buckling descent and passes by Captain’s Roost (Dante’s original garden spot before a fire destroyed it). There’s also a Tiffany & Co Foundation overlook bench, which provides the views closest in distance to the Hollywood Sign. We’re pretty sure a lot of proposals have occurred here … or will … (send us pics!). From the observatory, this time take the West Observatory Trail down along the chaparral-lined path. At the bottom, you’ll go by The Trails, the resident cafe, before rejoining the Fern Dell path back to your car. We love LA.
*Note: Please have a mask with you at all times, and wear it as advised by LA County health protocols. It’s important to wear masks outdoors when you are unable to get at least 6 feet of physical distance from others. To get to the Fern Dell trailhead, take the I-5 to the Los Feliz Blvd. exit and turn right (if coming from the north) or left (if coming from the south). Stay on Los Feliz Blvd. for 2.3 miles until you see the famous bear statue and Griffith Park sign on your right. Turn right here onto Fern Dell Dr., where street parking is available. The next intersection is Black Oak Dr. and the Fern Dell trailhead will be on your immediate left. Dog-friendly!
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