Archives For William Mulholland

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.

Lake Hollywood Reservoir Trail copy

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.

Lake Hollywood Reservoir (1)

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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Located near Benedict Canyon at the geographical center of Los Angeles, the Franklin Canyon Park and Lake span 605 acres and feature over five miles of hiking trails. The park’s history dates to 1914, when water tycoon William Mulholland built the Upper Franklin Canyon Reservoir. In the 1930s, the family of oil baron Edward Doheny used the canyon as a summer retreat.


Within the park boundaries are chaparral, grasslands and oak woodlands, a three-acre lake, an ADA-accessible duck pond, and expansive picnic grounds. The lake and pond serve as permanent and seasonal homes for birds in the Pacific flyway.


The park offers an easy stroll around the reservoir with plentiful views of birds and wildlife, as well as access to other, more difficult trails which offer views from West Los Angeles to the Pacific.

Hastain Trail in Franklin Canyon Park

If you are looking for a nice loop hike in the Santa Monica Mountains above Beverly Hills, give Hastain Trail a try. The trail can actually be used for two loops, one easy 1.8-mile loop with 350 feet of elevation gain and one moderate 2.2-mile option with 550 feet of elevation gain. Each trek is a satisfying way to explore the park.

Hastain Trail in Franklin Canyon Park

Both loops begin the same way, heading up Hastain Trail from Lake Drive within the park. There is an information panel at the trailhead with a rough map of the Hastain Trail. The wide dirt trail climbs up the east side of Franklin Canyon. At 0.4 miles, you will pass a single track shooting up the ridge to the left. This is the steepest section of the tougher upper loop (and you could easily walk right past it). The steep single track has slippery footing, so you may want to hike up this way instead of down. To hike down the steep single track, or to hike the easier lower loop, continue up Hastain Trail, which makes its way southeast around a crease in the wall of the canyon.


At 0.7 miles from the start, you will pass through a gate in a chain-link fence and turn into a draw in the ridge that turns the trail south toward a landing that looks out over Lower Franklin Reservoir.

Hastain Trail in Franklin Canyon Park

This great viewpoint, 0.95 miles from the start, is also the point where the two loops split. To the right, a single track descends into Franklin Canyon for the easier 1.8-mile loop. To the left, alongside an outcropping of rocks, Hastain Trail continues up the ridge for the tougher 2.2-mile loop. Take in the view and proceed in either direction.

Hastain Trail in Franklin Canyon Park

The easier loop: If you are ready to descend, turn right onto the single track (no bikes) and take a string of switchbacks down the spine of a ridge into Franklin Canyon.

Hastain Trail in Franklin Canyon Park

After 0.4 miles, you will reach the canyon bottom where there is a large grass lawn lined by sycamore and jacaranda trees. Begin hiking up the canyon and take one of several routes back to the trailhead.

Hastain Trail in Franklin Canyon Park

Walk across the lawn to a driveway heading up to a staff residence. To the right, next to a trail kiosk, there is one path heading up the canyon. Straight ahead there are bathrooms and a parking area along Lake Drive, which you can follow back to the trailhead. To the left, across the road is a branch of the Discovery Trail, which also leads back to the trailhead. There are picnic tables beneath the live oaks along Discovery Trail where you can take a snack break. All routes up the canyon are about 0.3 miles long and make gradual finishes for the easy loop.

Hastain Trail in Franklin Canyon Park

The tougher loop: From the viewpoint at the junction 0.95 miles from the trailhead, turn left, following a bend in Hastain Trail that leads higher up the ridge east of Franklin Canyon. You will pass through two more open fences over the next third of a mile as you progress northeast up the ridge. Just beyond the fences, step out to a landing on the right for a view east and south over Coldwater Canyon and Beverly Hills.

Hastain Trail in Franklin Canyon Park

Continue up the trail until you come to a junction with a single track breaking off to the left. This is the high point of the loop, 1.35 miles from the start. Turn left and begin down the steep ridge trail, leaving the fire road, which continues up the ridge toward houses.

Hastain Trail in Franklin Canyon Park

Heading west down the single track on the ridge, you will pass one more section of fence, the fourth of the loop. There are loose stones on top of firm ground, so be attentive on the slippery descent. Enjoy nice views down the ridge and south across Hastain Trail toward Beverly Hills. After descending 425 feet in 0.45 on the ridge track, you will meet back up with Hastain Trail. Turn right and hike 0.4 miles down to the bottom of the trail, completing the 2.2-mile loop.

Hastain Trail in Franklin Canyon Park

To get to the trailhead: Take Santa Monica Boulevard to Beverly Hills and turn north on Beverly Drive. Go 1.3 miles and turn left to continue up Beverly Drive. After another 0.3 miles, make a second left (at a split with Coldwater Canyon Drive) to proceed up Beverly Drive. Go 0.9 miles and turn right up Franklin Canyon Drive. Go 1.1 miles up the ridge, entering Franklin Canyon Park. Turn right down Lake Drive and go 1/3 of a mile to the start of Hastain Trail (on the left) where roadside parking is available.

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Pop culture fans will likely recognize Franklin Canyon Park, which is frequently used as a TV and film location, including the famous hitchhiking scene from It Happened One Night with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert.


The 3-acre Franklin Lake was the “fishing hole” in the opening credits of The Andy Griffith Show. Watch a video of the Andy Griffith Show.


Universal Studios shot their horror classic Creature from the Black Lagoon here. The park was also the background for the cover photo of Simon & Garfunkel’s album Sounds of Silence.


Huell Howser visited this park and made a video, watch it here.

Franklin Canyon Park preserves 605 acres in the Santa Monica Mountains including a former ranch acquired by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy in 1981. Dogs are allowed on leashes in Franklin Canyon Park. Bikes are allowed on the wide section of Hastain Trail but not on the single tracks down into Franklin Canyon. No fee or permit is required to hike Hastain Trail in Franklin Canyon Park, so get out and enjoy!


WHAT: Franklin Canyon Park And Lake 
Sun up to sun down
2600 Franklin Canyon Drive | Beverly Hills, CA 90210

CONTACT INFO: (310) 858-7272


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Mr. Events.