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Lake Hollywood Reservoir

August 26, 2013 — 3 Comments

High in the hills, perched between Hollywood and Vine and the Hollywood sign, sits scenic Lake Hollywood, a reservoir held back by a dam designed by the great water wrangler William Mulholland. Flanked by a classic California mix of oak, pine, eucalyptus, agave, and sage and circled by a pedestrian trail, this is one of the city’s great walking spots with wonderful scenic views.


The Reservoir is circled by a paved service road that walkers, joggers, and bikers can use to get lakeside exercise with Hollywood views. The reservoir is located in the hills west of Griffith Park below Cahuenga Peak and Mount Lee (the summit of the Hollywood Sign). Unlike other nearby urban reservoirs, Lake Hollywood has several inlets and bends that give it a natural, elegant form.


There are numerous views of the Hollywood Sign on the 3.5-mile loop around Hollywood Reservoir (with 100 feet of easy elevation gain). Most views of the reservoir come through chain-link fences that separate the trail from the water everywhere except Mulholland Dam, which offers clear, classic views across the lake toward the Hollywood Sign.

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There are a few places to start hiking around the Hollywood Reservoir. The northwest entrance is easily accessible from both the 101 freeway and Burbank. Just follow Barham Blvd. to Lake Hollywood Drive where at the end there is available roadside parking on Lake Hollywood Drive.

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Park and pass through the entry fence on the left side labeled Gate 2, on the opposite side of the fence is a water fountain and a map of the lake with its public access hours and rules. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) uses Hollywood Reservoir as an emergency water source, and you may see their vehicles along Lake Hollywood Reservoir Walking Trail. 

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Begin hiking south along the wide paved road. The Upper Reservoir comes into view through pine trees and an imposing 10-foot tall chain-link fence. Through the fence, you can catch a glimpse of the Hollywood Sign on Mount Lee and just below, lush shores and inlets that ducks seem to be enjoying in the absence of public access.

Lake Hollywood Reservoir Trail 2

Proceed down the road along the Upper Reservoir, which is just north of the larger Lower Reservoir. Pass the dam between the two reservoirs, 0.4 miles from the start, and continue down the walking trail on Lake Hollywood Drive. 

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After 1.1 miles of hiking the road will turn left and cross the thousand foot long dam at the south end of the reservoir. This is a great place to take a break and snap some pictures. 

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The reservoir is held by the Mulholland Dam which was designed by William Mulholland as part of the Los Angeles Aqueduct storage system. The lake currently holds 2.5 billion US gallons of water and once provided Los Angeles with most of its water. It can be up to 183 feet deep in some places.


The beautifully constructed Mulholland Dam was built in 1924 with 172,000 cubic yards of concrete.



There will be fewer views of the Hollywood Reservoir going forward, so linger on Mulholland Dam and enjoy an unchained perspective across the blue water.

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The broad view from Mulholand Dam includes the Hollywood Sign that was originally created as an advertisement for local real estate development in 1923.

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In the opposite direction, you can look south from the dam over pines toward the tall buildings along Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard.

Lake Hollywood Reservoir Trail

Cross Mulholland Dam and come to an alternate trailhead at the Weidlake Gate, which provides access to Hollywood Reservoir from the top of Weidlake Drive. Turn left onto Montlake Drive before reaching the gate and take the paved road heading up the east side of the lake.

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Hiking the loop in this counterclockwise direction, you will be in a position for great views of the Hollywood Sign, which lines up just above the trail one mile north of the dam.

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The trail then circles around a canyon above one of the reservoir’s major inlets and proceeds to the Tahoe Gate near the northeast side of Hollywood Reservoir.

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After 2.75 miles on Lake Hollywood Reservoir Walking Trail, pass through the Hollywood gate, cross Lake Hollywood Drive, and turn left to continue the hike.

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Follow Lake Hollywood Drive west back to the trailhead at the north end of the Upper Reservoir, finishing the loop where you started after 3.5 miles of walking.

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Access to Hollywood Reservoir is closed at night. The gates around Hollywood Reservoir open daily at 6:30 am and are locked around sunset. Check the posted signs at the trailheads for specific seasonal closure times and don’t get locked in!


The LADWP may also periodically deny access for maintenance and other operations. Dogs are not permitted on Lake Hollywood Reservoir Walking Trail, but bikes are. No fee or permit is required to hike the reservoir, so get out and enjoy! 

USA Los Angeles - Hollywood - Hollywood Reservoir

WHAT: Lake Hollywood Reservoir 
Sun up to sun down
Trailhead address: Lake Hollywood Drive | Los Angeles, CA 90068


  • Hours: The gates shut at 5:00 pm November to February, at 6:00 pm in March, at 6:30 pm in April, at 7:30 pm from May to August, at 6:30 pm again in September, and 6:00 pm again in October. The gates open year round at 6:30 am.
  • Bikes welcome, but dogs are not allowed. Ample street parking on Lake Hollywood Drive. Conveniently, the lakeside walk features several portable toilets and at least one drinking fountain.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook | Yelp

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Some of the best things about living in Los Angeles are our varied terrain, landmarks, and fascinating history. A great way to see the city and get a hardy workout is to walk through Upper Beachwood Canyon to the Hollywoodland Historic Stairs. They include all six of the neighborhood’s 85-year-old stone staircases that boast some stunning views.


Decades ago when cars were not the norm, the people of Beachwood Canyon would move between their homes and the city via long sets of staircases. This particular set of staircases tucked throughout the canyon has 965 steps!

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This is a vigorous hike through Hollywood history, utilizing some of the steepest and most charming staircases in the city, and affording breathtaking views from Downtown to the sea including the Griffith Observatory, the Hollywood Sign, and the Lake Hollywood Reservoir.


The workout begins at the original stone gates to the Hollywoodland real estate development, erected in 1923, at the intersection of Beachwood and Belden (to the West) and Woodshire (to the East). You can park on the streets for free.


Hollywoodland historic photo

Keep your eyes open for all sorts of intriguing architecture such as castles and cottages.

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Remember to be cautious when using the stairs; although they are sturdy, they are also somewhat eroded at the edges, often covered in dead leaves and pine needles, narrow, and very steep. The roads are narrow and windy, so watch for cars. Follow the instructions below and look for this first staircase on Woodshire Drive to begin your historic hike.


Instructions for the walk (as adapted from the book Walking L.A.):

  • Head West on Belden Drive, then turn right on Woodshire Drive and walk uphill.
  • Your first stairway is on the left before 2795 Woodshire; ascend 124 steps (between the blue pins).
  • You’re on Belden Drive now, go left.
  • At the fork in the road go to the right uphill on Flagmoor Place; when Flagmoor intersects with Durand Drive, continue uphill on Durand
  • Take Durand up past a big stone house at 2869. Once you pass the main entrance you’ll see a break in the road on the right, immediately next to the driveway of 2869. Take this dirt road. Now look to your left: Lake Hollywood sparkles blue in the distance. If you are looking for an extensive workout, take this dirt path and turn your walk into a hike. If not, turn around and double back down Durand, past the fork with Flagmoor.
  • The second stairway is past 2954 Durand; descend 117 steps (between the red pins).
  • Stay straight on Belden when you complete the stairs (cross Rodgerton; you basically head forward but a little left, the signs are a bit confusing depending on what angle you’re looking at them here).
  • Take Belden to 2950, where you’ll find the third stairway. This one is divided and the “planters” in the middle used to be a water feature; descend 138 steps (between the green pins). 
  • Cross Beachwood and turn right. Between 2800 and 2810 is the fourth stairway; ascend 144 steps (between the yellow pins). 
  • Turn left at the top onto Westshire and go downhill. The road merges with Beachwood; continue in the same direction, crossing Belden. 
  • The fifth stairway is between 3020 and 3030 Beachwood. This is the longest one, ascend 176 steps (between the purple pins).
  • At the top turn right onto Hollyridge Drive.
  • Continue on Hollyridge past the intersection with Pelham Place. On your right, immediately past 2831 Hollyridge, is the sixth and last stairway; descend 149 steps (between the pink pins). 
  • Turn left at the bottom. You’re on Westshire Drive and headed West back to your starting point where it (and Belden) intersect with Beachwood. 

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If you need a snack or some water there’s the Beachwood Market, or if you want to sit down and refuel, the Village Coffee Shop is also right there.



Regardless of your fitness level, this is definitely a good cardio workout, and has inherent ways to modify it to suit your needs (harder or easier). You will definitely work your lower half, which gets a balanced workout thanks to taking hills and stairs both up and down during the walk, which consits of approximately 561 steps up and 404 steps down.


Thanks to our climate, it’s generally a sweat-inducing activity because it is quite hot, although you will surely appreciate the moments of calm breezes as you travel the streets, and can often catch some shade.

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WHAT: The Hollywoodland Historic Stairs
WHEN: Sun up to sun down
Upper Beachwood Canyon

SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook | Yelp

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I appreciate your support and feedback. Please respond to this article now by leaving a comment and/or “liking” it. For exciting, up to date events in Los Angeles, subscribe to this blog via email. You can also share this article with friends and family and visit my FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest pages.

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Sunset Ranch is a beautiful horse facility located just under the world-famous Hollywood sign. Established in 1929, the ranch has been offering day and evening rides and their spectacular Sunset Dinner Ride for over 50 years. Come up for the best view in Hollywood!


Take a one or a two hour tour through the hills of Griffith Park. From this 5,000 acre park in the heart of Los Angeles you will see the famous HOLLYWOOD signGriffith Observatory, and Downtown Los Angeles. You can make a reservation or just go on up and they’ll take you out.


Their ranch is available for group parties, special events, children’s birthday parties, location shoots, and romantic couple’s rides. One hour and two hour rides are available 365 days per year, rain or shine. Riders must be at the ranch and saddled up by 3 pm. Evening rides are by reservation only.


Get away from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles and enjoy a piece of Old Hollywood at Sunset Ranch. Come on up for:

  • Dinner Rides – This romantic sunset dinner ride is a beautiful 4-plus hour ride that takes you on a round trip covering over five miles of trails through Griffith Park, stopping for dinner at the Viva Fresh Mexican restaurant in Burbank 

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  • BBQ Rides – A two hour ride up to the highest point in Griffith Park, Mount Hollywood, for breathtaking 360º views of Los Angeles which ends back at the ranch for a festive BBQ, which includes food, music, and fun!
  • Lunch Rides – This is the same as their dinner ride but for lunch


  • Riding Lessons – With over 20 years of experience and a commitment to your safety and enjoyment, they offer private lessons in general horsemanship, Western, and English riding, for the beginner to the advanced rider with an emphasis on trail riding



  • Kid’s Parties – Birthday Party? Girl Scouts?  Boy Scouts? Set up a Kid’s Party and our seasoned guides will give the kids a 30 minute group lesson and a 1 hour ride


Whether your a local or visiting Los Angeles, a horseback ride through the Hollywood hills is a fun and unique way to see the city. Visit Sunset Ranch to experience the adventure and charm Hollywood has to offer with a spectacular view.


WHAT: Horseback Riding At Sunset Ranch 
Monday – Sunday | 9:00 am – 5:00 pm 
3400 North Beachwood Drive | Hollywood, CA 90068


  • $40/1 hour ride per person or $60/2 hour ride per person
  • All minors (children under 18 years) must be accompanied by an adult
  • Children must be at least 8 years old to participate, they do not allow double riding
  • 240 lb. weight limit is strictly enforced
  • Walkins will be accomodated on a first come first served basis and are never guaranteed

CONTACT INFO: or (323) 469-5450

SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook | Yelp

Dear reader,

I appreciate your support and feedback. Please respond to this article now by leaving a comment and/or “liking” it. For exciting, up to date events in Los Angeles, subscribe to this blog via email. You can also share this article with friends and family and visit my FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest pages.

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Hike To The Hollywood Sign

February 24, 2012 — 6 Comments

Let’s face it Angelenos, the tourists that visit our city often know more about what there is to do and see then we do; and the Hollywood Sign is no exception. The sign is LA’s most famous landmark and is one of the most recognized landmarks around the world. It may also be the only major landmark whose status was completely unintended. It was originally built in 1924 to promote the Hollywoodland real estate development in the foothills and canyons of Mt. Lee, a neighborhood now known as Beachwood Canyon.

The 50-foot high billboard, placed on Mt. Lee 1,000 feet above the city, was originally lit with 4,000 light bulbs. It was only designed to last until all the property was sold, which they expected to be about 18 months. Nevertheless, until 1939, the company paid for a caretaker for the sign, who lived in a cottage behind the first L. When they ran out of funding for the caretaker, the sign fell into disrepair, so the developers deeded the land north of Mulholland Highway, including the Hollywood Sign, to the City of Los Angeles in 1944 and it became part of Griffith Park.


In 1949, the City of Los Angeles was beginning to tear down the dilapidated sign when community outcries changed the plan and led to the sign’s restoration, minus the LAND and minus the lights. In the 1970s, the sign was once again in bad shape. Hollywood’s A-list rose to the challenge and various celebrities helped foot the bill for a complete restoration. Alice Cooper sponsored an O, Gene Autry paid to rebuild an L, and Paul Williams put up the cash for the W. The famed landmark got its most recent paint job in 2006.

You can’t drive up to the sign, but there is a service road you can hike that will take you up behind the Hollywood Sign. You can start at Sunset Ranch at the top of Beachwood Drive or farther east at the Bush Canyon Trail. Both trails lead to a service road called the Mulholland Highway, which you follow up the hill to Mt. Lee Drive, which continues up behind the sign. There’s no shade, so if you’re planning to do the hike, take plenty of water and sunscreen.

Keep in mind that hiking to the sign is prohibited, so make sure you stay the marked path. Take the following steps to reach the Hollywood Sign:

Step 1 – Franklin Ave
Drive to the intersection of Franklin Avenue and Beechwood Drive in Los Angeles. This is about three blocks North of Hollywood Blvd.

Step 2 – Beachwood Drive
From the intersection of Franklin Avenue and Beachwood Drive, drive 1.7 miles North towards the Hollywood Sign on Beachwood Drive. Just make sure you stay on Beechwood Drive. Do not take another street that looks like it leads towards the sign. The only one that will take you there is Beachwood Drive.

Step 3 – Sunset Ranch
On your way, you will pass by the first Sunset Ranch Horse Rental sign. Drive until you see the Hollyridge Trail sign. Park on the right side of the road. Get there early! Parking spaces are scarce.

Step 4 – Hollywood Sign
Follow the Hollyridge Trail sign and walk up from the parking lot. If you keep a steady pace, you can get to the top of the trail and reach the Hollywood Sign in about 45 minutes. Walk until you reach another Hollyridge Trail sign. Follow the sign and go left. This is where your journey to the Hollywood Sign begins.

Now pay attention, this is the most important part of the journey. The trail will split. The main road will continue straight. The trail leading to the Hollywood Sign will sharply turn left.

Here is another angle of the split. The person in the picture is coming down. You will be going up. The road will continue to curve. Just keep going up.

You will once again see the Hollywood Sign on your left side. However, when the road comes to a fork do not make a left, go to the right. Make a right when the road ends. This will seem like you are walking away from the sign.

Here is a closer look at where you have to make a right. This is the last time you have to pay attention. The rest of the trail to the Hollywood Sign is easy, just follow the trail.

Now you are almost at the Hollywood Sign. All you have to do is make it to the other side of the hill!

When you see the fence, you have made it! You are steps away from the Hollywood Sign. From here, you can already see the sign.

Now take a deep breath, you are bout to witness one of the most well known landmarks in the world!

From here you have a great view of Los Angeles; from Lake Hollywood just below to downtown in the distance. On a clear day you can see the ocean and the Catalina Islands. Enjoy the view and capture the moment.

WHAT: Hike To The Hollywood Sign
Sunrise to sunset 
Hollywood, CA

CONTACT INFO: Ranger Station (323) 913-4688


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