The Hollywood Reservoir – LA’s Water Resource

Aug 07, 2009 by Lisa Newton

After doing a bit of research, I found out that after a four year closure, the Hollywood Reservoir’s walking trail has reopened. Like many, anything with the word Hollywood preceding the sentence piques my interest. Especially one that’s next to my all time favorite—the Hollywood Sign.

Located off the beaten path, the Hollywood Reservoir is located literally in the shadows of the Hollywood Sign. Of the many people I encountered today—most were there to see the sign and needless to say, I also succumbed to the temptation to take another look at this Los Angeles icon.

Hollywood Sign

Background and History of the Hollywood Reservoir

This vantage point is the northern view of the Hollywood Reservoir, a man-made lake built in 1924 to hold more than 2.5 billion gallons of water. With a maximum depth of 183 feet, the reservoir is part of the Owens River Aqueduct system.

Hollywood Reservoir

The Mulholland Dam was built by engineer William Mulholland, who designed and built the system of aqueducts and reservoirs which provide Los Angeles with most of its water.

Gate to Toyon Tanks

The Hollywood Reservoir’s Toyon Tanks

On the northern side of the Reservoir is the site of the Department of Water and Power’s Toyon Tanks facility. The largest of their type in the world, each Toyon Tank holds 30 million gallons and provides enough cubic feet of water for 250, 000 people.

The east side of the dam brings one into a totally new reality and it affords a piercing beauty seldom seen in the middle of Los Angeles:

Hollywood Lake

This calm oasis amid a very large and busy city seems impossible to find, but at the top of the narrow and curvy Lake Hollywood Dr & Weidlake Dr, you’ll find this breathtaking view.

Mulholland Dam

Mulholland Dam’s Masterful Engineering

Water is a very precious commodity, especially in Southern California–which is officially a desert. Water will soon eclipse all other natural resources in importance. Indeed, wars are fought over it; countries created because of it; and economies can’t function without it.

Due to Southern California’s long drought conditions, there have been mandatory changes in Los Angeles’ water usage. Restrictions via a Phased system are now being implemented, and Phase 1 has already been implemented with Phase 2 well under way. City of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is recommending the implementation of Phase III as soon as possible.

The Department of Water and Power’s Water Restriction Phased Program includes:

Phase I

  • Prohibits hosing sidewalks, driveways and parking areas unless permitted by law.
  • Prohibits using water to clean, fill or maintain levels in decorative fountains or ponds unless the water is part of a re-circulating system.
  • Restaurants cannot serve drinking water to people unless expressly requested.
  • Customers are required to repair leaking pipes and water fixtures in a timely manner.
  • Customers can wash cars only with hoses that have a self-closing water shut-off device.
  • Prohibits watering lawns and landscape when raining.
  • Prohibits watering lawns or landscape between 9am and 4pm
  • Customers can be fined if sprinklers allow excess water to flow onto sidewalks, driveways, streets or gutter.
  • Hotels and motels must give guests the choice not to have towels and linens laundered daily.

Phase II

  • Landscape irrigation allowed Monday, Thursday and Saturday only.
  • Using a hand-held hose to water lawns and landscape allowed any day between 9am and 4pm

Phae III

  • Landscape irrigation allowed Monday and Thursday only.      Source: LA Times

Los Angeles

Travelin’ Local celebrates our physical, cultural, historical, and Southern California Lifestyle. In order to maintain our great city, remember that having a sustainable future, means maintaining its present.

By working together, we can make a difference to conserve our precious water resources for future generations.

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9 Responses to “The Hollywood Reservoir – LA’s Water Resource”

  1. Carrie Robertson says:

    Wow, what great news…with all the threatened state park closures, so nice to know there are more options opening!
    Can’t wait to test it with a stroller!


    LisaNewton Reply:

    @Carrie Robertson, Although I didn’t walk too much of the trail, it looked pretty stroller friendly. From the Dam, which is at the Weidlake Gate to the North Gate, via the East Gate, the trail is about 2.3 miles. The western side of the trail was still closed when I was there. I’m assuming they are still working on it.


  2. David says:

    What a gorgeous location and place to get away in the middle of the city. The trail and views are spectacular.

    Your photos are beautiful as well. Great news coverage.


    LisaNewton Reply:

    @David, It’s a hidden gem. It might take a little bit of time to find it, because it’s so far up in the hills, but it’s well worth the effort.


  3. Best Places to See the Hollywood Sign | Travelin' Local says:

    [...] here, not only is there a spectacular view of the Hollywood Sign, the Hollywood Reservoir is a must see place to enjoy. Although the map looks like you’re stopping in the middle of [...]

  4. Vanessa says:


    I didn’t even know that this existed. Thanks for another great idea!
    Vanessa´s last blog ..The Fairfax Community Mural My ComLuv Profile


    LisaNewton Reply:

    @Vanessa, I’m discovering all kinds of new stuff in LA. It’s a gold mine of art, architecture, parks, and just about anything under the sun. I couldn’t be happier.


    LisaNewton Reply:

    @Vanessa, PS, just try to go on a clear day. Although the smog is better, fog can still get in the way of a good city shot. :)


  5. A Different View of the Hollywood Sign | Travelin' Local says:

    [...] case you didn’t know, that’s the Hollywood Reservoir. I can hardly wait to go back on a clear [...]

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