Wisdom Tree/ Cahuenga Peak
Miles: 1.6 miles out and back
Hours: 1.5 hours.
Difficulty Level: Moderate to Difficult
Season: All seasons. Best in Spring and Winter.
There are two theories of how Wisdom Tree came to be. The first is that a man named John Smirch received the young tree from McDonald's and decided to plant the tree on the hill. The second is the tree was intended to be a Christmas tree but turned out to be a Lone Pine. In 2007 a fire destroyed hundreds of acres of land in this area. A man named Mark Rowlands was flying over the hills in a helicopter and spotted the only tree still standing after the fire; Wisdom Tree!
If you're looking for a great workout with spectacular views and a magical vibe this is your hike!
While this hike isn't very long it is steep and the dirt is very loose and uneven in certain parts, I recommend shoes with good traction. There is no shade until you get the top so keep that in mind when hiking in the summer. This hike makes for a great night hike since the trail is very straightforward and the view of the city lights are breathtaking.
- 1 Liter of water
- light snacks
- shoes with good traction
- flashlight (if going at night)
- first aid kit
When you first approach the hill that will lead you up to the Magical Wisdom Tree, it can be intimidating. Don't be discouraged, I promise you will make it to the top and the views will be worth it! Just remember one foot in front of the other and you will be there in no time.
To get to the trail head park on Lake Hollywood Drive and then walk east on Wonder View Drive, you will arrive at a gate where the dirt path starts. When the dirt road splits, veer to the right and head toward the radio tower in the distance. You will arrive at the bottom of the hill and the trail head that leads you to the infamous Wisdom Tree.
Before you work your way up the hill make sure you stretch your legs, this is a leg burner for sure. As soon as you start hiking you will feel your body working and will gain 743 feet in 0.78 miles, so pace yourself. At about 3/4 up the hike you will see views of Griffith Observatory, Hollywood Reservoir, Burbank and on a clear day, Downtown Los Angeles. Be sure to take a breather and take in the views, your legs will thank you. Don't forget to admire the beautiful Chaparral plants around you, especially the Hollyberry a.k.a Christmas Berry, which is how Hollywood got its name.
After 0.8 miles you will reach the tree, this will be your only source of shade, so be sure to take a break, drink some water and write your dreams or words of inspiration in the journals provided by Mark Rowlands. Rowlands collects the journals and uploads the messages to a website dedicated to the inspired hikers that leave their messages. It's 0.4 miles more to Cahuenga Peak, which offers more gorgeous views of the city.
When you are done taking in the positive energy and inspiration you can head back down the way you came up. Be extra careful when going down the mountain, the dirt is very loose and uneven. If you feel like you have a bit more in you, the Hollywood sign is about 0.8 miles from the tree.
I hope you get as much inspiration and joy from this hike as I did. I especially love this hike in the evening, the cool air and city lights give this hike a magical vibe.
Healthier, Happier one Hike at a time.
Adaire To B Brave