Discover the Mountain Home to the Famous Hollywood Sign

Written by Angie Menjivar
Published: May 2, 2023
© Laurin P/
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It’s iconic in movies but that wasn’t the original plan for the Hollywood Sign. Discover the mountain home to this famous sign, learn what kind of wildlife lives around it, and things to do if you head over to this part of California for a visit!

History of the Hollywood Sign

In California, there is no shortage of billboards telling you about the greatest new show or the best new product. In 1923, the Hollywood Sign was meant to serve exactly that purpose — to advertise a new housing development. It cost a total of $23,000 and included more than the version that stands today. It was equipped with electric lights and the entirety of it read, “Hollywoodland,” which was the name of the upcoming housing development at the time. Since its inception, there have been tragedies, media sensations, pranks, fundraisers, and repairs, and 2023 marks the Hollywood sign’s 100th year.

Hollywood Sign
2023 marks the Hollywood Sign’s 100th year.

©Stas Moroz/

The Mountain Home to the Hollywood Sign

Mount Lee is the mountain that the Hollywood sign graces. It’s unusually flat but that’s not thanks to natural events. It’s a reminder of fantastic plans made and later sadly abandoned. It was a movie mogul’s dream to build a mansion there — plans were underway that included a butler’s pantry and even servant’s quarters. To build it, workers needed a flat foundation, and so began the process in 1925 of shaving down the mountain’s peak. By 1929, the movie mogul had lost nearly everything following the stock market crash and his dream home was no longer.

Mount Lee and the Hollywood Sign
The Hollywood Sign rests on Mount Lee which was flattened in 1925 to build a mansion before plans fell through.


Wildlife Around Mount Lee

Mount Lee is open to hikers and their pups, and many spend their time checking out the different trails leading up to the Hollywood Sign. Some of the hiking trails are longer while others give you a more direct path to the sign. Perhaps the most popular is the one that winds through Griffith Park, covering a total of 6.4 miles. Several mammals are found here including raccoons, opossums, and gray foxes. Larger mammals include mountain lions, coyotes, and mule deer. Reptiles include the California kingsnake, gopher snake, California whipsnake, ringneck snake, and a variety of lizards. There are also over 200 bird species found throughout the park!

Griffith Park trail to the Hollywood Sign
Mount Lee’s Griffith Park offers visitors a 6.4 mile trail to the Hollywood Sign.

©Maggie Yesko/

Things To Do Around Mount Lee

If you head to Griffith Park, you can explore the Bronson Caves, take a walk through fern dell and stop at the trail’s café. You also have the option to explore the Griffith Observatory. For a more contained exploration of wildlife, you can check out the Los Angeles Zoo. For more of an adrenaline-fueled adventure, you can spend the day at Universal Studios Hollywood, where the rides are thrilling, the shows are mesmerizing, and the food options are tastebud-tantalizing.

The Featured Image

Hollywood Sign on Mount Lee
View of the Hollywood Sign on Mount Lee from the observatory.
© Laurin P/

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About the Author

Angie Menjivar is a quirky cat mom with a love for books, thunderstorms, and comfy couches where she cozies up with her laptop to write her heart out. Her writing style combines engaging storytelling, vivid imagery, emotional resonance, and educational depth to create a compelling and informative reading experience for readers like you! Her passion and humor stamp her work with a voice all her own and her sense of wonder creates a fantastical narrative that allows you to explore the fascinating world of wildlife through new eyes.

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