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.
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
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.
My jaw dropped. What a view!
In the morning hours the reservoir throws off amazing reflections of Mount Lee and the HOLLYWOOD sign.
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.
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.
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.
Lake Balboa – what an super place to spend a summer day.
I especially like these crested ducks. They look like they’re wearing powdered wigs.
A Blue Heron unleashes a battle cry and takes flight!
I ended the loop and another fun day.