March 13, 2009

Did I Touch The Hollywood Sign?

As I mentioned in my first post about going to California, one thing I wanted to do was try and touch the Hollywood sign. I knew going into it that they had a lot of security around it and that it was going to be difficult.

So did I do it? Unfortunately no I did not. I decided that it wasn’t worth getting arrested or falling down the side of the hill to my death. Here is an overview of the different approach options and why I decided again doing each of them.

Option #1: Hiking Up

The first approach option is to start below the Hollywood sign and go up. There is no fence in front of the sign so it would just be a matter of climbing up the side of the steep hill.  This is by far the easiest approach but I have heard that coming down can be pretty damn difficult.

The downside is that the cameras would see you coming from a mile away and you would more than likely get busted. That’s the main reason why I decided not to try this approach. There is also limited parking since it is all a residential area and people have cars parked along every street which would also make it difficult. My girlfriend ended up staying in the car while I hopped out and took these pictures.

It’s also a lot further up the hill than it first looks due to the steepness. Here is a picture looking up:

Looking Up At The Sign

Looking Up At The Sign

It is definitely doable and I have read a few blog posts of people that have done it from this direction. This would probably be the way I would do it if I ever decided to do it but I highly doubt it.

Option #2: Hike Down From The Top

The second option to get to the sign would be to hike to the top of Mt. Lee near the radio tower and then come down to the sign. There is a fence along the top but there are a few spots where people have pushed the fence back so you can slide underneath it.

Here’s a few pictures of what the sign looks like from the backside:

View Of LA From Behind The Hollywood Sign

View Of LA From Behind The Hollywood Sign

What The Letters Look Like Up Close

What The Letters Look Like Up Close

It’s hard to tell from the first picture how steep the slope really is. It’s literally a class 4/5 climb that would be pretty damn difficult to navigate. A few people have mentioned that there are some ropes left from workers that make it easier to slide down but I did not see anything.

I decided this way would be the quickest but would also be the hardest. Not only would you have to worry about slipping down the side of the mountain, but there would be a pretty good chance that a cop would be waiting for you at the top. We managed to see three cops drive by us while hiking along one of the paths.

Option #3: Climb The Mountain Next To It

The final option to get to the sign would be to climb the adjacent mountain and then walk along the ridge to the Hollywood sign. This would be the safest way in terms of security since it would be much easier to sneak up on the sign. You would then be able to run back along the ridge if someone came down to get you. Since there are no roads on the mountain it would be really difficult for anyone to come get you.

The downside to this approach is that the mountain next to the sign is really fricken steep too. It would take a few hours just to navigate up that mountain and then another 30 minutes or so to get to the sign. You would then have to go and do it all over again on the way back. That is a lot of work!

I didn’t have the time or the motivation to try this approach either.

The Security

It is true that they have cameras all over Mt. Lee. They also have the dome style cameras you see in stores on some of the letters. Here is a picture of some of the cameras pointing towards the sign:

Cameras Pointing Right At The Sign

Cameras Pointing Right At The Sign

People weren’t lying when they mentioned the LAPD has cracked down on the Hollywood sign. It sure makes it difficult to actually get to it.


So my conclusion is that touching the sign is a lot more work than I anticipated. It looks like I am going to scratch this goal off the list since I got close enough to it. When it comes down to it, the sign is a few metal rods and some sheet metal. The letters are huge though!

31 thoughts on “Did I Touch The Hollywood Sign?

  1. chris

    i love the pics they are so good and i have been there i never touchedit but itwas awesome and security is though around there good luck nexttime

  2. John smith

    I took the hill from the bottom up to touch the sign, I actually did it, I was instantly met by cops at the top but after touching the sign I dangerously ran down the hill in the dark to evade them. Never got caught, was totally worth it. Just cause it’s illegal doesn’t make it wrong, life’s short, live a little


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