Many years ago, in 2000, the Hollywood sign was lit up — some say poorly — for the millennium celebrations that were taking place around the world on New Year's Eve. In Paris, New York, London and other world-class cities, celebrants were dazzled by light shows and fireworks. L.A. managed only to shine a few laser beams at our most-renowned landmark, with the event fizzling in disappointment. Jay Leno, who made a personal appearance at the Hollywood sign that night, cracked jokes about it. Nevertheless, the evening gave this reporter, who was there, some interesting information on how to hike to the sign. All the details won't be divulged here, but let's say that you motor up Beachwood Drive past the Beachwood Market and make a left on Ledgewood Drive. You'll pass Humphrey Bogart's old house and come to a stop sign. The side road will take you to a big iron gate and a sign that reads: “Restricted Entry: No Hiking Allowed to the Hollywood sign.” Locals have been ignoring the warning for years. It's a great hike on a wide, dirt path that offers tremendous views of downtown, the San Fernando Valley and the ocean (on clear days). You actually end up above the landmark, and get a true feel for just how huge those white letters are. The Hollywood sign trail is never crowded, only takes about 40 minutes for the round trip, and you'll impress anyone you invite who's feeling like a rule-breaker. After seeing the sign, you can take another path that breaks off and ends at the Griffith Observatory, a round trip of three or four hours. Beachwood Canyon, Hollywood.
—Patrick Range McDonald