Mount Lee (back of the Hollywood Sign) via Wonder View Drive
I disagree with the previous overview, so I have overwritten it. This is a moderate hike, with no paved portions (once you get to the trailhead), no wide trails that you may find elsewhere (on the east side of Griffith Park), and often more people than a nature-lover may enjoy. Expect the first 1/2 mile to be narrow switchbacks. Once at the top, you can largely follow a ridge, but those who are not accustomed to hiking in mountains will probably feel like death is just a misstep away.
Highlights: at the beginning, you will have nice views of Lake Hollywood, which is a hidden gem with some beautiful tucked-away houses surrounding it. In the distance, you can see the highrises and city life contrasting with your slice of nature. There's a "Wisdom Tree" at the top that demands an "I was here" picture. But that's about it. Keep going along the ridge (there's only one way) to the back of the Hollywood Sign and enjoy the views of the surrounding valleys and mountains along the way.
BRING PLENTY OF WATER. There's nothing on the trail, and there is nearly no shade. You won't even find a water fountain in the neighborhood, so this is critical.
If you want to explore an easier, paved path, but don't mind a crowd, Runyon Canyon is nearby and worth your time. (There are also several options to get off the paved path.) https://www.gaiagps.com/public/rTKah0Hh5z7NAWkfZxqj50UV
For something that is less traveled and has a lot of unpaved but safe paths, my favorite trail in the area is the Greek Theater to Dante's View / Mount Hollywood (with great views of DTLA, the front of the sign, the valleys and the mountains). https://www.gaiagps.com/public/GkinHmtZn3ZPqWuKcULtdlBv
OLD OVERVIEW: This is a easy one way trail to Mount Lee in Griffith Park.
You will not find a place to park near the trailhead. The neighborhood is residential, and the roads are small with no curbside parking. Instead, set your GPS for Lake Hollywood Drive -- a steep road that has clear parking rules posted. Then hike back up Lake Hollywood Drive, go east on Wonder View, and you will see the trailhead at the end of the road.
I've done this with an eight-year-old and didn't feel terribly concerned for safety. However, I will add that this is not your typical family-friendly trail. I give it a 3/10, with 10 being the most family-friendly. The first mile is 100% narrow switchbacks, with uphill only (not much of a plateau until you get to the "Wisdom Tree" at the top), and you are often passing others or waiting on others. This also happens to be one of the more popular trails in the Griffith Park / Hollywood Sign area, so expect people. This is not the "push your kid in a stroller" kind of hike. Not a chance. He/she is either on your back, or you have a fairly sure-footed, athletic child.
For those who decide either before or after starting this path that your kiddos won't make it, take the VERY EASY trail that goes around Lake Hollywood. Paved, mostly flat, and still abounding with nature.
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