Sunday, October 4, 2009

Free in LA – Franklin Canyon Park

Growing up, my family and I often took weekend trips to various states parks in Georgia. Here, you can relax, take a walk on a scenic trail, enjoy being in nature, and take a break from the normal hustle and bustle that life so often entangles us in. Taking a break has become even more important now that I am living in LA and Joy is attending law school. In Georgia, the only state park within 25 miles was Gordonia-Alatamaha State Park in Reidsville. Here, in Lake View Terrace, we have 118 within a 25 radius including Hanson Dam State Park across the road from us. So, how do you pick where to go on the weekend with 118 so nearby? The choice was easy for me. When Hollywood wants to film a movie that is based in “The South” they go to Franklin Canyon State Park. Many shows, including “The Andy Griffith Show,” use this location for their outdoor scenes. On September 19, Joy and I decided to go. This is a beautiful park nestled in the heart of Beverly Hills and expensive houses can be seen in the distance but for the most part it is peaceful (more on the “for the most part in a bit”).

We arrived early so the Welcome Center wasn’t open yet. We grabbed a trail map complete with warnings about Western Diamondbacks and Poison Oak.

We set off on what we thought was a trail. It was well-marked and maintained but ended up going nowhere. This is Joy before she figured this out 😀

Even though the trail dead ended it had a nice view 😛

Here is a rare glimpse behind the camera. This is me right after I took the previous picture. As you can see, my shades are still off and my hat is still backwards.

Even though most of the park resembles the North Carolina mountains the Redwoods don’t quit fit that image. The area behind that tree is where the opening scene of the Andy Griffith Show was shot. It is really grown up now and hard to recognize.

Here is a shot of the Upper Franklin Reserve Reservoir a.k.a Myers Lake from the Andy Griffith Show 😀

A couple more shots of the lake.

These pics are from another edge of the reservoir.

Joy is taking a break while walking around the reservoir.

While leaving the trail around the lake we saw an old pine stump. True to my childhood roots, I climbed it 😀

After walking around the reservoir we decided to go to the lower reserve and walk the 2.6 mile loop consisting of the Hastain and Discovery trails. These trails give you some good views  of the really massive houses located in Beverly Hills. While walking, we started hearing music. We finally figured out it was coming from the private tennis court of one of houses in the distance.

Near the end of the Hastain trail, it splits. The part of the trail that is not on the trail map dead ends at the peak of one of the mountains with this view. You can see the trail we have already walked on and, in the distance, shrouded in fog, downtown Los Angeles.

In between the Hastain and Discovery trails is a grass area with picnic tables where we ate lunch. After lunch, I decided to take a rest before finishing the walk.

After finishing the walk we rested at the duck pond. This is also a common filming area.

We had a great time and if you are in the LA area and want a breath of fresh air I would strongly recommend Franklin Canyon Park. Unfortunately, you can’t get to the northern part of the canyon via public transit but the lower part of the park (where the walking trails are) can be accessed by a 1 mile hike from the Metro 2 Sunset/Alpine stop. Look for other state park reviews coming in the future on Free in LA.

posted by admin at 9:51 pm  

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