Burbank Peak Hike Wisdom Tree Hike Griffith Park Hollywood Burbank Peak Trail Wonderview Drive Los Angeles

Burbank Peak is a summit-like perch at the end of a ridge extending west from Cahuenga Peak, the highest point in Griffith Park. Hikers have many reasons to reach the top of Burbank Peak. One popular motivation is delivering a message to the “Wisdom Tree,” a long pine on Burbank Peak that rises above the surrounding brush. The viewpoint also hosts an America Flag in honor of September Eleventh and views over Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley. Burbank Peak also presents the opportunity to hike on to Cahuenga Peak and the summit of Mount Lee at the back of the Hollywood Sign.

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Burbank Peak Trail is a down-to-business single track that climbs 570 feet in half a mile. Parking isn’t available at the start of the trail, so you’ll also need to walk up Wonder View Drive on this 1.6-mile round trip outing with 740 feet of elevation change.

Since parking is not available at the top of Wonder View Drive where Burbank Peak Trail begins, utilize the free street parking along adjacent Lake Hollywood Drive and hike a paved quarter mile up Wonder View Drive to the start of the trail. Cross a yellow gate near the top of Wonder View Drive and come to a large dirt landing next to a holding tank. Turn right off the dirt road up a single track marked with a sign for Burbank Peak Trail.

Burbank Peak Hike
Burbank Peak Trail climbs from Wonder View Drive

Burbank Peak is directly above the start of Burbank Peak Trail, which was previously called Wonder View Trail. Look up and you may see the America Flag at the top. The trail heads east and climbs steep slopes on the south side of Cahuenga Peak.

Burbank Peak Trail is a rugged single track, narrower than other Griffith Park trails, providing a fair bit of solitude. As you gain elevation, radio towers atop Mount Lee come into view to the east. To the right, look out from the mountainside down a canyon toward Lake Hollywood Reservoir and some of the taller buildings in Hollywood.

Burbank Peak Trail
Towers on Mount Lee from Burbank Peak Trail

After 0.45 miles on Burbank Peak Trail (0.75 miles from the start), the ascent finally lets up as the trail comes to a marked junction on a ridge that runs east up Cahuenga Peak. To the right, Aileen Getty Ridge Trail proceeds up Cahuenga Peak. To the left, Burbank Peak Trail extends a short distance farther to Burbank Peak, a point at the west end of the ridge. A well-positioned tree on Burbank Peak named the Wisdom Tree makes the peak easy to identify.

Cahuenga Peak Wisdom Tree Hike
The Wisdom Tree on Burbank Peak

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The Wisdom Tree is a solitary pine and a survivor of a 2009 wildfire that burned the slopes to the north. The Wisdom Tree has a few other nicknames, like the Tree of Life, the Giving Tree or the Magic Tree. The tree’s wisdom seems to have surpassed those other attributes, so Wisdom Tree is the best known title.

At an elevation of 1,690 feet, Burbank Peak has views into the Santa Monica Mountains west of Griffith Park. Rest beside the Wisdom Tree and take in broad views over Burbank and Hollywood. Universal Studios and Toluca Lake lie below the peak. A trail register by the Wisdom Tree is filled with notes addressed to the tree. An American Flag flies beside the peak that is part of a potentially unofficial September 11th Memorial.

Burbank Peak American Flag
An American Flag memorial on Burbank Peak

If you head back the way you came from Burbank Peak, the outing is 1.6 miles round trip. The terrain ahead is less steep, so you can continue on with less effort. Cahuenga Peak is 1/3 of a mile up Aileen Getty Ridge Trail, which gains another 145 feet. Beyond that 1,820-foot summit, the single track continues across a ridge to Mount Lee just behind the Hollywood Sign.

Burbank Peak Trail Cahuenga Peak
Cahuenga Peak and Mount Lee from Burbank Peak

Dogs are welcome on Burbank Peak Trail, but bikes are prohibited. Parking along Lake Hollywood Drive is free and no hiking permit is necessary. One fun benefit of Burbank Peak Trail comes after you’ve completed the hike and gain a greater awareness of how visible the Wisdom Tree is from different places in the cities below.

To get to the trailhead: Exit the 101 Freeway onto Barham Boulevard and drive north for 1/3 of a mile. Turn right at the light onto Lake Hollywood Drive. Take this winding road for half a mile up to an intersection with Wonder View Drive. Park along the street and begin hiking up Wonder View Drive. If you drive another quarter mile down Lake Hollywood Drive, you will reach the trailhead for Lake Hollywood Reservoir Walking Trail.

Trailhead address: Wonder View Drive & Lake Hollywood Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90068
Trailhead coordinates: 34.1331, -118.3364 (34° 07′ 59.15″N 118° 20′ 11.03″W)


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