Party Earth Review Mostly obscured from view near the eastern edge of the Santa Monica Mountains, Franklin Canyon Park is a hidden gem for LA denizens looking to escape the crowds that so often invade the city’s better-known nature retreats... ... read full review
North Entrance: Mulholland Drive & Franklin Canyon Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90210
West Entrance: Franklin Canyon Drive & Moreland Drive West
Los Angeles, CA 90210
Daily 7am to sunset
Beverly Hills, Los Angeles –
Mostly obscured from view near the eastern edge of the Santa Monica Mountains, Franklin Canyon Park is a hidden gem for LA denizens looking to escape the crowds that so often invade the city’s better-known nature retreats.
Unless they remember its cameo in the opening credits of the classic Andy Griffith Show, many longtime residents have never seen nor heard of this 605-acre expanse, home to two reservoirs, several dedicated picnic areas, and trails that extend more than five miles through oak tree- and chaparral-covered hills.
Facilities are relatively scant, though two amphitheaters and a large indoor auditorium intermittently host plays, weddings, and other special events, while a nature center and the William O. Douglas Outdoor Classroom – though open to all – specifically seek to give inner city youths a taste of the world beyond asphalt and smog.
Considering both reservoirs are closed to public use, swimmers are out of luck, but anyone looking for a little water action can check out Heavenly Pond just west of the upper reservoir, where turtles, ducks, and many birds can be found.
As bikers stream through on their way back from a scenic ride along Mulholland Drive and hikers decide which wooded nook might be home to the park’s elusive bobcats, most visitors choose to just relax on the grass in Franklin Canyon Park, relishing the fact that LA feels a million miles away.
Diverse mix of hikers, joggers, dog-walkers, bikers, picnickers, sunbathers, bird-watchers, and school kids on a field trip. All ages.
Occasional plays in the open-air amphitheaters. Volunteer-led guided hikes and other nature programs regularly held at the Sooky Goldman Nature Center. Call 310-858-7272 ext. 131 for the most current nature center hours and program schedules.
Limited drinks and snacks available at nature center. Amphitheaters and the Eugene and Michael Rosenfeld Auditorium available for private rental. Reservations can be made by phone or on the park’s website.
Most park facilities are free, including access to the nature center, many of the volunteer-led hikes, and the majority of programs put on by the William O. Douglas Outdoor Classroom. Picnic tables are available on a first-come basis.
Facility rental fees vary based on event.
Anything goes, but obviously most visitors don casual or athletic wear.
Any sunny day.
Coldwater Canyon Park (12601 Mulholland Drive) is another natural sanctuary in LA located just north of Franklin Canyon Park across Mulholland Drive. Despite being only forty-five acres, the park offers visitors plenty in the way of uncrowded hiking trails and stunning views of the San Fernando Valley.