We asked the concierge at our hotel to recommend the best place to get close to the Hollywood sign so we could take some pictures. He said we needed to go up N Beachwood Road to a parking lot near the Sunset Ranch and we could take some fairly close pictures to the sign. When we went up there, I decided to check out how much a horseback ride would cost. I was surprised that it was only $30 per person for an hour long ride.
We deicded to do an hour long ride because it was a beautiful day out and it was so inexpensive. (A drink at the Hotel Roosevelt is $15 ... for the cost of two drinks you can have an hour long ride) At first I was a little worried because the ride is up into the hills and along the way there were some pretty steep drops. Horses like to walk on the edge of the path, so for someone who hates heights, this might be a little disconcerning. However, I hate heights and it didn't bother me too much.
The ride lasted an hour and you go out with a guide who answers any questions about riding and makes sure your horses perform well. You have to wear a silly helmet, and there is no real way around this ... but for safety reasons it is probably because most riders are inexperienced.
Our guide was delightful and provided us with some information about the landscape and Hollywood itself. I felt I would have been happier putting on some headphones and an IPOD and enjoying the scenery but didn't want to be rude. She had some interesting stories about Hollywood and pointed out some nature type stuff. She also took some pictures of us with our cameras while riding.
The horses amble along at a snail's pace and are trained to follow the trail, so you really don't need to know anything other than kick the horse (it doesnt hurt them) to make them go, pull the reigns to make them stop, or pull the reign to the sides for direction. Although, you really don't even need to know all that much because the horses are pretty much trained to follow a path and kind of do their own thing.
A lot of reviewers comment that they were pretty heavily pushed to tip the guide, which is true. You will be pushed to do this ... but that is not the fault of the guide. We tipped pretty well but figure, you give a valet $5 to drive your car 100 yards ... why wouldn't you give a guide like this $10 or $15 each for leading you around for an hour or so. Don't expect to pay $30 flat for the ride ... you will need to tip. However, most times you will be taking a private ride for your group, not a large group of people you don't know.
It was a beautiful day on the day we went, around noon. And we didn't need to make a reservation. We pretty much walked right up and within 20 minutes we were on the trail. They take credit cards as well, which is convenient as I worried it was cash only ... and on the whim we decided to do it.
As for the Hollywood sign, it is true that you are still a ways away from it and it is sort of at an angle. I would have been dissapointed if we went only for the photo opportunity of the sign. I feel like it may be a bit misleading to call this a 'Hollywood Sign Horseback Ride'. However, the views of the canyons and the city are well worth it. You will be in some beautiful nature and get to see something not a lot of people do if you are in town for touring. The Hollywood walk of fame is so cheesy and surrounded by cheesy t-shirt stores and pan handlers, this is a much better way to get a unique experience.
I recommend this ... it was one of my favorite things during my trip to this area and in a town where everything is really expensive, this was inexpensive.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.