There are quite a few tales of the palindromically named Griffith J Griffith. Wikipedia says he donated his land that has become Griffith park in the Santa Monica mountains only because he thought it was haunted by the ghost of the previous owner. My friends have also heard from a tour guide that he gave up the land even more reluctantly and the last thing he ever wanted was his land to become open to the public.
Everyone can agree, however, that he did shoot his wife to kill (but only ended up permanently disfiguring her). After a couple years in jail, he tried to donate money to the building of an observatory.?The state had to decline taking the money from an attempted murderer, but snatch it once he died and as a kick in the teeth, the park became public.
Well, his legacy is as beautiful as his personality was lousy. We enjoyed a hike up to the Hollywood Sign. The mountainous trail goes by the corral where Justin Theroux meets the cowboy in Mulholland Drive and ends at the gate that protects the sign.
No worries, though the sign is protected by more than a mere gate. Several helicopters hover above it ready to swoop down and yell at you. Seems like an inefficient and over the top process, but what are you going to do? Spotting the helicopters even adds a bit of suspense to the otherwise tranquil climb. Spotting lizards is another fun time to be had. We managed to find seven on our hike, but our friends once saw seventeen.
The hike offers expansive and breath taking views of the mountains and the sprawling city below. It is really fascinating to see such magnificent nature right next to a city of strip malls. It's a fairly easy hike, though you'll want to wear shoes with traction since it is up and down hills. A great way to see the beauty that surrounds LA.
On the drive up to the hike, be on the look out for a house with a medieval mural – it once was home to Bela Lugosi.