City will close Beachwood Canyon access to Hollywood Sign

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The city will start shutting off pedestrian access to the popular Beachwood Canyon trailhead that leads to some of the best views of LA’s most famous landmark—the Hollywood Sign.

“Sometime in the next few weeks,” the city will start “redirecting” hikers east, to trailheads into Griffith Park at Canyon Drive and Vermont Avenue, recreation and parks department spokeswoman Rose Watson told Curbed on Tuesday.

The decision is in response to a preliminary order from a Los Angeles Superior Court judge in February that found the city had blocked access to Sunset Ranch Hollywood Stables by carving a new access trail in 2001 that channeled hikers towards the business.

The Beachwood entry point is one of the most popular launching points for viewing the iconic sign, and closing it will be viewed as a big win for some Beachwood Canyon residents who didn’t want to deal with traffic and tourists entering the Hollywood neighborhood to visit the public park.

The Beachwood Canyon entrance dumps hikers onto the Hollyridge Trail, which can be accessed from other points in the park.

The preliminary court ruling ordered the city to keep the Hollyridge Trail open. It also said pedestrian access to the trail needed to be as close as possible to the Beachwood gate, which was installed in 2014, or at the pre-2001 access point from Hollyridge Drive.

Redirecting pedestrians to Canyon Drive and Vermont will add over 1 mile to the hike to the sign. It will also likely put a lot of pressure on Bronson Canyon, which is already jammed on the weekends, and Vermont, which is the entrance to the Greek Theatre.

This is just the latest attempt to curb crowds in Beachwood Canyon. In 2014, the city closed the trailhead for more than 40 weeks while it installed the gate. In 2015, the City Council voted to ban all non-resident parking around the sign.

“What we’re doing is privatizing this whole canyon and cutting off access, and I don’t think that’s right,” said resident Tony Castanares.

Easy access to Griffith Park was a big reason why Castanares purchased his home on Hollyridge Drive 36 years ago. “I don’t want to lose that,” he said. “A lot of the people in the neighborhood don’t want to lose that.”

The crowds don’t bother him. That’s just part of living in the city, he said: “This is a huge tourist draw. Everyone who wants to come to Los Angeles, wants to see the Hollywood Sign.”

More details to come.

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