Hike to Wisdom Tree: When you think about hiking in LA, there is one place you’ll definitely visit The Hollywood Sign. It is the official landmark of Los Angeles that lies at the top of the mountain. On your way to the Hollywood sign, you may discover some of the best photogenic spots which are worth seeing. Apart from the famous Hollywood sign, there is another landmark in LA. The government doesn’t list this as an official landmark but L.A residents believe differently. It’s none other than the Wisdom tree also referred to as The Tree of Life, The Giving Tree, and even The Magic Tree. The Wisdom Tree sits atop Burbank Peak, the highest peak at the end of Griffith Park. From there you can get a good overlook of the entire stunning view of Los Angeles. Let’s get to know the origin story of The Wisdom tree, how is Hike, what time is the best to hike, and what things to bring in this short but steep hike.
What is the Wisdom Tree?
From the first look, the wisdom tree looks like a normal pine tree. You may wonder why it is popular? What’s great about a single tree, that so many people visit to see a glimpse of this astonishing tree. Let’s get in-depth view of the interesting story behind this pine tree.
Wisdom tree often goes by the name The Tree of Life, The Giving Tree, and even The Magic Tree.
It is so popular because it is the last standing tree and a sole survivor of a wildfire that occurred in 2007( the Barham Fire)which burned more than 817 acres in and around Griffith Park.
This occurrence made this tree so popular, locals consider this as the unofficial landmark of the city.
From giving out one of the magnificent views of Los Angeles, this tree has another purpose: ” It Grants Wishes”. Well, We don’t know if that is true or not, but every hiker who dares enough to reach this place writes dreams and ideas in the journals that sit in the trunk below the tree.
The tradition of journals and messages started in 2009 and no one’s entirely clear about its origin. According to Locals, there are two theories, the box and message began when a man left behind letters of wisdom from his dying mother.
Another origin of who started this tradition, the man goes by the name Mark Rowlands. There is no additional information about his whereabouts and why he had done this.
The Wisdom Tree is now one of the favorite places to visit in Los Angeles. Hikers from all over the world want to visit the place and get a glimpse of this magnificent tree that survived the fire.
But due to this huge popularity of the Wisdom Tree, some people carved their names into the tree, broke off branches, peeled bark, and other dumb stuff.
Hike to Wisdom Tree
A beautiful and rough hike to wisdom tree is 1.8 miles long (2.9 km). Wisdom tree is one of the famous highlights while conquering the Hollywood sign. Tough the distance to wisdom tree is 1.8 miles, but it adds up another 3 miles (total4.8 miles) if you wish to continue further to the end (Hollywood sign). But today we only focus on a hike to wisdom tree which is 1.8 miles long. It is a moderate level hike with some steep surface throughout but is doable and doesn’t require a skilled hiker.
Your hike to Wisdom tree starts from the trailhead. To reach the trailhead you have to walk up to the wonder view but first, you should park your vehicle in the right place. What I mean by that is a lot of people make the mistake of parking their vehicles in the wrong way in the wrong place. Instead of parking your vehicle in wonder view, you should park lake Hollywood drive. Park on the side of roads where you see the space. Also, confirm before that it’s a parking prone area or not. A lot of cars are being towed down because of wrong parking so make sure to get a safe place for your vehicle. After parking your vehicle you can walk up the Wonder view and reach the trailhead where you see the sign for the trail.
Wisdom tree hike is one of the shortest hikes in the park. As you begin your hike the trail will start uphill. As the trail is steep you will also face switchbacks through this small journey. This may be a short hike but not an easy one, especially on a hot summer day when the sun is soaking up your glucose. The trail almost features no shade which makes it even harder, but don’t worry because the hike is too small you will not feel any difficulties. Still, it is always good to hike to Wisdom tree on less hot days. As you continue your journey you will also see the spectacular scenic view that you can capture on your device. While hiking one should also look at the Rocky points that can hurt anyone. So anyway walking for less than a mile you will reach the wisdom tree. You will see a lot of people there meditating, and there is no doubt that this place brings peace to your mind.
Besides that, there is a 9.11 memorial and ammo box which is left under the tree. This is a great short hike for anyone who wants to connect with nature. On a lucky day, you can get a panoramic view of lake Hollywood and LA.
After spending time on the wisdom tree either you can go back or continue the further journey. The best thing about Griffith Park is that it has multiple trails for one destination and each is interconnected with each other. If you want to know how to hike to the Hollywood sign then read this which gives you a complete guide for a hike to the Hollywood sign. If the Hollywood sign is a bit far for you then you can hike to which is just miles from here.
For some people, Wisdom tree is a fun experience that also completes their workout regime on weekends. I asked lot of people and all have different experience while one thing is common that also includes me is that hike is too steep and hard at start. Make sure to carry good hiking gear with you to avoid any problems. Don’t worry if you don’t know what to carry I have made a list of the essential gear you need for this hike.
Gear Guide for Wisdom Tree Hike
Sunscreen: If you are a resident of LA, you know how hot it can get during the summers. This heat can burn your skin and cause severe skin scars. So pack yourself with his SPF sunscreen.
Hat And Sunglasses: The heat can be too much, and hiking can tough if your eyes are under direct sunlight. So pack yourself with a Hat and Sunglasses.
Lots of water: The Hike can easily last up to 3 hours, and with a high temperature in LA , you can get dehydrated easily. Carry minimum 4-5 Litres of Water.
The hike is short, paved rock but with a high elevation gain. Without proper footwear, there is a good chance of getting an ankle sprain. Wear hiking boots that have additional ankle support.
Pen or marker to sign the notebooks: It would not be fair to work so hard and get back without completing the tradition. Wisdom tree has a tradition of writing dreams, ideas, and wisdom notes on notepads available in the large ammo box. Usually, the box comes equipped with pens or pencils, however, it’s also smart to have one on hand just in case.
Camera: It’s mandatory. Without a good camera how can you show off your cool hiking lifestyle to your social friends.
GPS: Although it’s not necessary as the rock is well marked but it’s always good to have a backup. Also, it would be easier to get to the places by searching for marked signs.
When to hike wisdom tree?
You can hike to Wisdom tree whenever you want. The only thing you should keep in your mind is which part of the day is best. According to me and a lot of people who visit wisdom randomly the best time to hike to Wisdom tree is early in the morning. The best part about hiking in the morning is that you eliminate the heat from the hike and can enjoy the view and hike throughout your journey.
The one problem with morning is that what should you eat before your hike to fuel you up for this intense hike. Well, for that I have already written a separate blog that you can read if you have any doubt– What to Eat Before a Hike ?