In 1927, Paramount Pictures purchased 2,700 acres of the old Rancho Las Virgenes for use as a movie ranch. Today, the site is still a very active filming location, but it’s also a great place to reconnect with nature.
In the early 1980s, the National Park Service purchased 700 acres of the ranch and opened it to the public.
Unfortunately the only drinks you’ll find now @ Paramount Ranch would be at a wedding but don’t expect to order any stiff drinks if you’re invited to one because the National Park Service only permits beer and wine at their venues.
Starting in the ’50s, ownership of the land changed hands a few times. A portion of the ranch even served as one of the nation’s most challenging racetracks but it was shut down after fatalities on the figure-8 track became too numerous. You can still find remnants of the decommissioned racetrack within the park such as the portion of the track’s original straightaway that has since been repaved and serves as an access road to the national park site.
In it’s heyday, hundred’s of films were shot at Paramount Ranch and in the 90’s Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman shot here so much they even named a trail after her. Recent productions that have used the ranch as a backdrop have included Firefly, Weeds, Van Helsing and Carnivàle.
The best part of the ranch can be found not to far from the parking lot and just over this bridge.
While the western movie town may not be as exciting as a real ghost town, it was still fun walking around its two short blocks and taking a peek inside the mostly empty interiors.
I don’t think this business is going to last.
For all your mining needs make sure to stop by the building on the right. The house on the left is a private residence provided to the on-site rangers.
I guess this has become a pretty popular place to have a wedding at but just remember only beer and wine are permitted and the park remains open during your big day. Enjoy.
The present western town is not the original town built by Paramount Studio but is actually a recreated version of it that the NPS built after purchasing it back in the ’80’s.
Main street was pretty dead.
The sheriff station looks more like a store but I’m sure a little Hollywood magic could change that.
Well looky here, it really is a sheriff’s station/jail after all.
Don’t bother waiting for the train, it ain’t coming.
The trails are well-used and well-maintained, so get your ass out and get your hike on.