Text and photography copyright 2011 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities. The author does not take any responsibility for injuries sustained during hikes or walks on the routes described here. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.
- Location: Hollywood Hills, corner of Lake Hollywood Drive and Montlake Drive. Take highway 101 to the Barham Blvd. exit. Turn right on Barham, drive 0.3 miles and turn right on Lake Hollywood Drive. Take a quick left on Primera and a quick right onto La Suvida. Drive a total of 0.6 miles (La Suvida becomes Lake Hollywood Drive) and park on the corner of Lake Hollywood Drive and Montlake.
- Agency: City of Los Angeles
- Distance: 4.4 miles
- Elevation gain: Level
- Difficulty Rating: G
- Suggested time: 2 hours
- Best season: Year round
- USGS topo map: Burbank; Hollywood
- More information: here
- Rating: 3
For being as closely located as it is to Hollywood, this walk is pleasantly quiet. The reservoir is mostly fenced in, unfortunately, but the views from the Mulholland Dam are excellent, and you can also get some pretty good looks at the Hollywood sign. Recent landslides have blocked off the western side of the reservoir, but you can still walk around 2/3 of it and back for a nearly 5-mile trip.
From the end of Lake Hollywood Drive, head left (east) along Montlake, following the reservoir’s perimeter for 0.7 miles. Cars are allowed here, but traffic is sparse, so as long as you stick to the path following the road you’ll be fine. At the junction of Tahoe Drive, you pass through a chain fence and head onto the walkway that circles the reservoir. Soon, you get your first looks at the Mulholland Dam, and after a mile and a half, you arrive there. If you’ve been disappointed at having your view of the reservoir blocked by the fence, you will get what you want here as you walk out into the dam. From this vantage point, you get a great look at the Hollywood Hills (including the sign) towering over the reservoir, and you can see downtown L.A. to the other side.
Compared to nearby Griffith Park or Temescal Canyon, the Hollywood Reservoir is a surprisingly quiet and peaceful place to get outdoors. You will likely see a few other people here on the weekends, but the reservoir is still a relatively unknown tourist attraction. Even folks visiting from out of town will find this place to be nice spot to escape from the traffic of Hollywood and Sunset Boulevard.