The hardest of these three hikes – the “PG-13” version – is the western approach. Although it’s actually shorter than the PG version, it’s much steeper, with considerably more elevation gain, and the terrain is rugged. Hiking poles will come in handy. However, this is the most scenically and historically interesting of the three routes; it’s one of the best hikes in the Hollywood Hills.
The hike begins with a quarter-mile climb up Wonder View Drive, a private paved road. On the way, you get great views of the Hollywood Reservoir and the L.A. skyline. At the end of Wonder View, look for a single-track trail branching off to the right, and get ready for a steep climb. The trail gains 700 feet in three quarters of a mile, and you’ll be huffing and puffing by the time you reach the ridge that connects Burbank Peak (to the west) with Cahuenga Peak (the highest point in the Hollywood Hills) and finally Mt. Lee.
You can take a quick detour to see Burbank Peak by heading left; the summit is known for the “Lone Pine”, a nice place to sit and take in the view. To get to Mt. Lee, however, head right (east) and climb to the Cahuenga summit. Here, you get great views of the San Gabriel Mountains to the north and the L.A. basin to the south. Look for an obscure, but easy to follow, trail heading down off the east side of the Cahuenga summit. There are a few places where you’ll have to use your hands as well as your feet. You drop down to a saddle, climb another bump and descend to the paved Mt. Lee Drive.
Turn right and make the last few steps to the summit of Mt. Lee and the sign. Here, you are rewarded for your efforts with not only an aerial view of the famous sign, but the ocean, the Santa Ana Mountains, the San Gabriels and Santa Monicas. If the weather is particularly good, you may get a glimpse of San Jacinto and San Gorgonio Peaks, a hundred miles east.
Lake Hollywood Drive and Wonder View Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90068
Directions: Only 15 minutes from our area! Take Cahuenga Blvd and turn right on Barham Blvd. Turn right on Lake Hollywood Drive. Follow it half a mile to the corner of Wonder View Drive and park there.