Tuesday, October 3, 2023


Don’t change the channel! Visit three famous TV sites and relive your favorites

All over the country, but especially in California, you can add some fun to any road trip by visiting some legendary TV sites. These are three of my favorites…

The Lone Ranger

Iverson Ranch, Red Mesa Drive, Chatsworth, California

This huge, craggy stone was familiar to virtually every kid who watched television in the 1950s and 1960s. It’s the spot where the Lone Ranger’s horse, Silver, reared up in the opening sequence of the show. Today, the area is surrounded by apartments.

Directions: Exit the 118 freeway at Topanga Canyon Boulevard and turn left, passing under the freeway. Turn right at Santa Susanna Pass Road. At Red Mesa Drive, turn right and head up the hill. Park just before you come to the first condominiums. To your right is the “Lone Ranger Rock.” If you type “Lone Ranger Rock” into Google Maps, it will direct you to it that way too.


Malibu Creek State Park
1925 Las Virgenes Road, Calabasas, California 

At one time this was the 20th Century Fox movie ranch. Over the years, many films were shot here, including “Planet of the Apes” and the original “Frankenstein.” But it is because of the 4077th that many make the 2 1/3 mile hike from the parking area at Malibu Creek State Park. It’s a beautiful, not-too-grueling hike to the site, where you’ll find a couple of gutted vehicles from the show, remnants from the helicopter landing pad, and lots of memories.

This is where the opening scenes from the television show M*A*S*H were filmed, where the choppers landed at the army hospital and unloaded wounded soldiers, and where base camp was for the duration of filming in the 1970s until the memorable final episode. It was also used in the film M*A*S*H. During that final episode, there was a forest fire, and the entire set burned down, so they simply wrote it into the script.

The Andy Griffith Show

Franklin Canyon Lake
2600 Franklin Canyon Drive, Beverly Hills, California

Can you hear the song being whistled? In the opening credits of The Andy Griffith Show, Andy Griffith and Ron Howard are seen walking with their fishing gear toward an idyllic lake, located, one might imagine, near Mount Pilot or Mayberry, North Carolina. However, it’s Franklin Canyon Lake in Los Angeles, a beautiful wooded area that was chosen because of its tall pine and redwood trees.

This location was heavily used in the 1960s for such TV shows as The Andy Griffith Show, Combat, Star Trek, and How the West Was Won, but was also utilized by film companies: one scene from “On Golden Pond” was shot at a small pond next to the reservoir. There are actually two bodies of water here: a duck pond and the reservoir. The reservoir is where Opie tosses the rock. As well, two album covers were shot here: Simon and Garfunkel’s Sounds of Silence and the Rolling Stone’s Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass).

Read more from Chris Epting here

Chris Epting is an author, award-winning journalist/photographer and dedicated road tripper. His best-selling books including James Dean Died Here (the locations of America’s pop culture landmarks), Roadside Baseball, and The Birthplace Book, along with many others that remain popular with many travelers and RVers throughout the country and world. He is excited to be contributing to RVTravel.com and looks forward to helping to lead you places you may not have discovered otherwise. You may learn more about Chris at his author’s site, www.chrisepting.com



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Joel L.
8 months ago

If you are a fan of The Andy Griffith I am sure a visit to the Franklin Canyon Lake would be very satisfying but of equal or more interest would be Mt. Airy, NC where Andy Griffith grew up. Mayberry is modeled after Mt. Airy and it is no coincidence that a visit to Mt. Airy will remind you of the show.

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