Franklin Canyon Park is a little slice of wilderness right in Beverly Hills’ backyard. Part of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, the original ranch was owned by Edward Doheny, who discovered oil in Los Angeles back in
1982 1882. But this hike is best known for the loop around Upper Franklin Canyon Reservoir, where the opening credits of the Andy Griffith Show were filmed.
Getting to the Trailhead
I parked in the middle of the park near the old Doheny Ranch House. It’s located at the intersection of Franklin Canyon Drive and Lake Drive, and your best bet is to look-up turn-by-turn directions here on Google Maps
Franklin Canyon Reservoir Loop Trail Description
The trail begins just behind the parking area, crossing over a small brook via a bridge.
Across the bridge, the trail climbs up the canyon. At the first junction, take the hairpin left.
The trail winds lazily up the canyon running parallel to the road near the bottom. Trees provide shade on more than half of the trail.
At the top of the hill, you reach Franklin Canyon Road. Watch for cars and bicyclists as you cross, then take the wooden steps down to the reservoir.
From here, follow the trail around the edge of the reservoir. You might be tempted to whistle the theme song from the Andy Griffith Show.
At the north end of the reservoir, we checked out the cattails (many parts are edible).
Getting around the north end of the reservoir requires picking your way across a concrete spillway dotted with rocks. On the west side of the reservoir, you’ll pickup the trail again as you loop around. The trail climbs a bit, giving you a great view of the entire reservoir.
You reach Franklin Canyon Road (again) and cross to a nature trail that loops around Heavenly Pond. It was pretty fun to discover the turtles that abound here.
From the short loop around Heavenly Road, continue to follow Franklin Canyon Road. This is shared with cars, but there is room on the shoulder and very light traffic. Reach the original trail up to the reservoir, you can take the original route back to the trailhead, or a second trail that runs closer to the road.
The whole hike is short, and made a nice, peaceful Sunday morning stroll. Dogs are allowed on leash, and there were plenty of families exploring the area with their children.
The Franklin Canyon Reservoir Loop is perfect for TV history buffs, Andy Griffith fans, for introducing young children to the outdoors, or for a peaceful walk in the midst of LA.
Opening Credits of the Andy Griffith Show
Want to recreate the scene from the opening credits? Watch the opening, and then hike the Franklin Canyon Reservoir Loop!
Franklin Canyon Reservoir Trail Map
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Franklin Canyon Tips
- The speed limit in the park is 15 MPH and there are cameras at the stop signs. Even though you may not see any other people or cars, be sure to come to a full stop to avoid an automatic $175 ticket mailed to your home.
- There is additional parking north of the reservoir, and you could modify the loop to start and end there.