Trip to 4077th M.A.S.H site

Time to exit the warren, put down the painting brush, enjoy the temperate California spring day, and take a hop. Having hiked in to the old M.A.S.H. filming site many years ago, WR felt that a return hike into the Santa Monica mountains was needed. Details on the M.A.S.H filming site are all over the internet, several YouTube videos, and internet links posted at end of article.

The old M.A.S.H. filming site is located in the Santa Monica mountain near Los Angeles and only 15 or so miles from the warren in the San Fernando Valley. Easy drive on the northbound 101 freeway till you reach the Las Virgenes Road. Exit the 101 Freeway and head south towards the ocean and beaches. After you cross Mulholland Highway look for the park entrance on the right or western side of the road. Parking was $12.00 at the park entrance, use the paypoints in the parking lot if no ranger at the toll booth. There is parking outside the park, some WR understands on Mulholland Hwy which just increases your hiking distance by another mile round trip.

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Entrance to the staging parking lot off of Las Virgenes road.

From the parking lot inside the park look westward for the trail head entrance. There are several trails at this conjunction of the park. Look for Crags road or signs. The trail is westerly in direction so going any other direction will lead you astray.

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The trail head on a busy Sunday morning. The dirt ramp at left was easier to walk down compared to the steps at right… go figure.

If you have no clue as to your bearings… there are several posted maps in the park viewing boards near the entrance. Coming down the steps or ramp will led you to a concrete weir over or across the small stream. At right is your first distance and direction sign as seen below. Only 2.3 miles to go. Make sure you have carried water with you. Phone service was spotty in places. For those in the cavalry branch of service by riding horseback you have the right of way over the foot infantry. Artillery wasn’t mentioned on the sign post.

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The route is sign posted in some degree. This is the first sign with 2.3 miles to go to reach the M.A.S.H. filming site.

First 1/2 mile goes quick along an open, nearly shade less dirt fire road. Rangers on occasion drive up and down this roadway. Encouraging sign at 2.1 miles to go…. you have walked two-tenths of a mile. At this sign the roadway splits into two paths. Either works as they join up again further in the park near the visitor’s center. WR for the narrative walked the right hand fork.

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At the first “Y” in the dirt fire road, you see another sign. Take the right hand roadway but either will arrive at the distant site.

Further along another “Y” in the path. The left hand path crosses a bridge to the visitor’s center and joins the other path mention before. To reach the M.A.S.H. site go right young hiker as the battered sign so points. You will see ahead the hill grade which you must hike over. About 200 feet in height and steep in some parts. Drink some water and press on.

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Another “Y” in the road. Turn left and you will visit the Visitor’s center building for the park. This is also the left hand fork in the road rejoining your path from across the bridge. As the sign says, keep to the right and climb the hill.

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Keep to the right…. The hill climb is next for several hundred feet and 1/4 mile.

As you descend the other side of the hill you will pass a path leading to the Century Reservoir at left. From the roadway you would never know that there is a lake 100 feet away due to the overgrowth. WR stops at the lake on the return hike / trip so press on. Soon you will notice the path is becoming narrower as you venture forward.

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As you descend from the hill climb (about 200 feet elevation) and behind the trees is the Century lake. A small dam lake hidden behind the tress. Worth a stop on way back.

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Another view of the Century lake… glorified pond really. The Planet of the Apes movie village was film at this small lake.

For the French Republican wargamers out there reading this M.A.S.H. article… you soon have that feeling the terrain is like the Normandy hedgerows or the Vendee revolt. The roadway becomes a narrow twisting path in places. Pitchfork or Panzerfaust anyone?

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Past the lake your trail changes from the wide fire road for vehicles to a narrower path. This still is the “wide section” as WR thinks of Operation Market Garden.

If you cross a concrete weir along the way again you are on the correct trail. If not… hope your phone works but rest assured the City of Los Angeles is nearby in any direction…. if the mountain lions don’t have you for their dinner party.

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Along the way you will cross a concrete weir bridge. When WR crossed there was a pack of mountain bikers resting and watching the stream below.

Signs are good…. only six-tenths of a mile to go.

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Signs are few during this leg of the hike. If you see this sign you are still on the correct path.

Occasionally you will encounter the mountain biking groups on the trail. Step off trail and both can pass. At points the path is uneven ground so watch your foot placement.

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The path changes from time to time. A rough patch but great for the mountain bikers.

The stray boulder rolls down the nearby mountains during the rains. Found this one on the trail. Look for the State of California flower – California Poppy – during the spring months.

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WR on the narrowing trail.

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State of California flower… the California poppy in season.

As the undergrowth thins, you soon see the old M.A.S.H. filming site. Just walk around, take in the fresh air, and mountain views. WR’s first place to visit was the old cleared helio pad overlooking the camp. From there you can see the entire layout below you.

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Arrival at the M.A.S.H. site. As you approach you see the old vehicles. The rusty wrecks are from the filming. The painted truck a post production arrival.

First item of note. The M.A.S.H. movie set, done at the same location, had a different camp layout from the T.V. series. Compare the two layouts and check out the M.A.S.H. Camp web article linked below on the camp’s various layouts and episode filming.

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The M.A.S.H movie layout.

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The CBS T.V. series camp layout. Note the differences. Hike in at upper right trail point.

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Gets zero mileage. This old ambulance wasn’t part of the filming.

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Side view. The ambulance is chained to the ground.

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Sign points in all directions but for the warren. There’s room at the bottom to nail up a board.

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The local M.A.S.H fan group has placed several plastic covered informational signs, pictures and background information.

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Close up of the material.

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Another zero mileage vehicle. This is original from the series film shoots along with the rusty crushed jeep.

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The filming camp layout. Also check out the linked material.

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WR standing on the edge of the helio pad above the camp life below. Those old, now missing, wooden steps went down the rough ground path at my feet.

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The helio pad with descending roadway at top edge. That’s how the jeeps carried the wounded actors to the camp.

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A different view from the helio pad back towards the trail that WR just hiked in from.

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Another general view of the former M.A.S.H. filming site. The camo covered benches are a recent addition to the site for picnickers’.

Well that it. You are half way on your hike. Have orders been received to force march 2.3 miles back to remount your iron steed? On the return trip stop at the Century Reservoir just before the hill climb. There is a dam ramp road down to the lake. When leaving the lake viewing go up the pathway directly behind the lake, not the path route which you came down on initially. Saves you some distance and joins on the “main” road way on the hill.

General 4077th M.A.S.H. information about the “Camp”:  The M.A.S.H. Camp.

Videos taken of walking in to 4077th M.A.S.H. filming location:  M.A.S.H. Trip A Another YouTube link for the M.A.S.H location:  M.A.S.H. Trip B

Cheers from outside the warren.

WR

 

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