Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Hike 2012.060 -- Hollywood Reservoir
Printed out a trail description and directions to the trail head, but then forgot to bring them with me. Still, I partially had the directions remembered, so I was able to make my way there without too much difficulty.
Had I taken the most direct route, I would have taken the Hollywood Freeway (U.S. 101) north, to the Barnham Blvd exit. After getting off the freeway, my route paralleled the freeway for about 1/2 mile before actually reaching Barnham Blvd, where I made a sharp turn to the right. After about 1/4 mile, there's a traffic light signed as Lake Hollywood Drive. Turn right.
From there, the third right keeps you on Lake Hollywood Drive. It'll make a rather steep descent here. There's a gate and on-street parking at the bottom of this hill, but parking there would leave you with a 6/10ths of a mile walk adjacent to a paved road with car traffic. At one time, you could have begun a loop around Lake Hollywood here, but the road along the west side of the lake is no longer passable.
I'm moderately confident that there is at least foot access from somewhere up above this section of Tahoe Drive towards the trail that runs near the base of the Hollywood Sign, but I did not have the motivation to seek it out today.
This entire path is paved, meaning boots were hardly necessary. Oh, well.
There's a sign at on the gate indicating the gate is locked at 7:30pm from May through August, at 6:30pm in September, at 6pm in October, at 5pm from November through February, 6pm in March, and 6:30pm in April. The gate is unlocked at 6am year 'round. There's also a map of the lake and a large sign saying, "NO DOGS." However, as I was leaving, a woman walked a VERY large dog though the gate, so obviously that regulation is ignored by some.
The dam was built in the early 1900s, overseen by Mulholland. It looks to be several hundred yards long, with an arc facing into the water. As you walk across the dam, this is the only place where you don't have to look through or over chain link to see the water.
The map I saw at the start of the trail said there were portapotties, a drinking fountain, and an emergency phone on the west side of the dam. I didn't see any of those things there, though I didn't look that hard. Portapotties were definitely set up near the east side of the dam, however.
Along your path, it is surprisingly peaceful. I did not hear any cars during my walk, and came across no more than four people during my 90 minutes or so on the path. There were a few helicopters that flew over me, however. Helicopters visiting the Hollywood Sign and Griffith Observatory are a frequent annoyance for the locals.
I saw three deer during my little jaunt. Two of them were on the lake side of the fence, and I walked to within about five feet of them before they startled. They still stayed about ten yards away as I snapped a few blurry pictures.
A second, large, 8-point buck, scrambled up a hillside as a jogger approached him from behind.
Probably not worth a long drive just to see the lake, but I'm convinced there's a way to link the lake with a hike to the top or base of the Hollywood sign. I'll post that part once I managed to walk it.