Here’s What the Hollywood Hike Sign Looked Like Before the Drought

Mount Lee’s greenery has dried up more than you realize

As the drought plaguing Los Angeles drags on, patches of the city’s landscape have become parched. Beverly Hills’ grass medians are browning day by day and water saving measures like rebates for turf removal are gaining ground. In many ways, though, the effects of the drought are easy to overlook in the city spaces we inhabit. Parks are still green, fountains still flow. Ascend above street level, however, and you’ll see a whole new picture of  how much Los Angeles has changed. The view from Mount Lee in the Santa Monica Mountains—better known as the endpoint of the Hollywood Sign hike—reveals a barren vista of what was once plentiful greenery.

Hundreds of hikers trek up the various Hollywood Sign trails every day, and though the dry weather doesn’t seem to have led to any decrease in foot traffic, there’s a markedly less vivid view from the top. These before and after photos from the popular trail tell the story of the drought in shades of green and yellow.

BEFORE: The mountainside of Mount Lee shows greenery galore circa July 2011

Photograph courtesy

AFTER: The site and the hills below were mostly barren four years later in July 2015

Photograph courtesy Head

Before: You could see sprouts of vegetation at the top of Mount Lee in July 2012

Photograph courtesy Berne

After: The site, and the hills below, were mostly barren three years later in July 2015

Photograph courtesy Head