Four Little Los Angeles Lake Hikes

A day of short hikes. I visited four bodies of water – Hollywood Reservoir, Echo Park Lake, Silver Lake Reservoir and Lake Balboa.  All were unique in their own way.
Hiking Distance:
Hollywood Reservoir – 3.6 miles
Echo Park Lake – 1 mile
Silver Lake Reservoir – 3.2 miles
Lake Balboa – 1.75 miles
Total – Around 9 1/2 miles

Driving Directions
Hollywood Reservoir: In Hollywood, exit the 101 Freeway on Barham Blvd.  Go north 0.2 miles and turn right on Lake Hollywood Dr.  Follow Lake Hollywood Dr., winding up the narrow street to a crest.  Just beyond Wonderview Dr., Lake Hollywood Dr. takes a sharp right and heads down steeply to the entrance of Hollywood Reservoir.  Park on the street.

Echo Park Lake:  Backtrack to the southbound 101 Fwy.  In a few miles, take the Glendale Blvd. exit.  Follow the signs and circle around to Glendale Blvd. heading north.  The lake will appear on the right.  Park anywhere on the street next to the lake.  To return to the 101 after the hike, from Glendale Blvd., turn right at the end of the lake onto Park Ave.  Take the next right onto Echo Park Ave.  Echo Park Ave. will take you right back to an exit for the southbound 101 Fwy.

Silver Lake Reservoir:  From the southbound 101, after driving just a little over a mile, exit on Silver Lake Blvd. Take Silver Lake Blvd. until it intersects with Armstrong Ave. Park on the street.

Balboa Lake: Backtrack to the 101 again, this time heading north.  Drive about 15 miles and exit on Balboa Blvd.  Turn right onto Balboa Blvd. and look for the sign for Anthony C. Beilenson Park on the right.  The sign stands parallel to the road so it’s hard to see (I blew by it, anyway).  Pull in and follow the road to plentiful parking right off the lake.

To get into the spirit, a few days prior I stopped at Lake Eleanor in Westlake Village. I had viewed it from the ridge above on my hiking adventure I named Over the Hill Day. Now I was able to see it from ground level.

             I began at Hollywood Reservoir for a reason. My guidebook said that it opens at 6:30 a.m. and then closes and then closes at 10 a.m., then re-opens at 2 p.m. and stays open until 5 p.m. Hours listed elsewhere seem to be different.  Anyway, I knew if I hiked it first thing then there would be no access issues.  Photo 2 – The mountain directly across from the reservoir has an American flag planted on top.

                       The reservoir is completely fenced in. Good for protecting the water, not so good for photography.

   Mighty Mulholland Dam, holding back a billion gallons of water.

               

   I turned the corner and came face to face with a deer. She was very calm and even approached me before turning back.

        The highlight of the hike is passing over the dam.

My jaw dropped.  What a view!

               

In the morning hours the reservoir throws off amazing reflections of Mount Lee and the HOLLYWOOD sign.

   To the west of the sign stands Burbank Peak, marked by a lone tree.

               

Concrete bear heads decorate the land side of the dam.

               

Photo 1 – Straight down the hill is the landmark Capitol Records building, and a mysterious castle.  Photo 3 – Sitting just inside the fence, a turtle. Or is he a tortoise? He had wandered pretty far from the water.

               

I circled around, now heading north and straight into more awesome views of Mount Lee.  Photo 2 – I noticed a structure, like a teardrop shaped pod, set up with a great perspective.

        I came to a gate at Montlake Dr.  I turned left here and followed the dirt path next to the road. Soon I was back at my car.

   A few minutes drive led me to Echo Park Lake. I parked at the northern end just before Park Ave., which is a prime spot. I assume it was left open because of all the homeless people napping a few feet away.

               

I began the short loop around the lake.  The northern tip is a lagoon rich with plant and animal life.

               

Photo 2 – Handsome turtle with a moss covered shell.

Mama and ducklings swim through thick algae.

               

   Swinging around to the larger lake.

        I passed a mock up of a lighthouse, really a small restaurant and boat rental place.

        A turtle eyed me, hoping for a bit of food, I think.

View of the lake from the south end.

Echo Park Lake is best known for it’s fairly abundant and gorgeous Lotuses.

               

Back at the north end stands a statue they call the Lady of the Lake.  It struck me as sad, somehow, that she’s been standing here, on and off for decades, but she never gets to look out over the lake.

             Another few minutes drive took me to Silver Lake Reservoir. I found a shady parking spot right off the road, a big score. I began on the sidewalk heading northwest up Armstrong.  The Reservoir, like it’s neighbor in Hollywood, is completely fenced in. The fencing is tall, thick and tightly woven, making it difficult to get a clear shot of the water beyond.  Photo 3 – Feminist Agitprop

             I followed the logical, kinda-circular route through the streets next to the reservoir. I was thankful for the shady trees of W. Silver Lake Dr. (not to be confused with Silver Lake Blvd., which is on the other side).

Looking the length of Silver Lake Reservoir.

               

   I went left at a small park, following joggers and dogwalkers.  I passed a dog park and turned back onto Silver Lake Blvd.  Photo 3 – So happy to be out of the house!

               

   Near the end of the loop I came to a little area called Silver Lake Meadow, green with grasses and native plants. Walking through led me right back to my start point at Armstrong Ave.

        One last stop, Lake Balboa in Encino. What surprise this lake was. Very well maintained.  Photo 2 – On this hot day, I glide through a pool of refreshing shade.

Lake Balboa – what an super place to spend a summer day.

   I believe the peak on the left is Oat Mountain.

             I crossed over a little bridge.  All this water is fed into the lake from a nearby reclamation plant.

   Lake Balboa is home to all kinds of waterfowl.

               

   Gentle ducks

               

I especially like these crested ducks. They look like they’re wearing powdered wigs.

               

   A swan hunts for food.  Hope he got something good.

             Photos 2 and 3 – Benches shaded by trellised greenery. I rested at more than one.

   I noticed a dead carp floating offshore. The first thing that hit me was the smell.

               

A Blue Heron unleashes a battle cry and takes flight!

             Photo 1 – The Bird Whisperer

I ended the loop and another fun day.

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